The Beginner Influencer Guide to Pitching, Pricing and More

Jenna Kutcher 

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November 16, 2020


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One of the best parts about hosting this podcast is sitting back and learning from the experts in spaces that aren’t my main area of expertise, especially when the topic is one so highly requested by you and so many others in the Goal Digger audience.

My business has shifted a whole lot since it started. The “influencer” side of things used to be a more prominent focus. But now as a mom with so much on my plate, and wanting to give my energy to other passions within my business, I’ve stepped back from a lot of sponsored posts and influencer marketing.

But I know it’s still a huge area of interest for you, and rightfully so — The opportunity to monetize your platforms and work with your dream brands can be a game-changing career shift. That’s why when Mattie James reached out to share what she’s been working on as an influencer educator, I jumped at the chance to host this conversation.

Mattie James started her lifestyle blog as a passion project in 2010 so she could share about the things she loved on her own corner of the internet. She’s since grown it into a multiple six-figure business, partnering with brands to create sponsored content that still feels on-brand and authentic. With all of that success, Mattie now teaches other women how to create profitable influencer businesses and pitch brands with confidence.

Mattie is tuned into all the trends and nuances of the influencer industry, and she’s on Goal Digger to serve up a master class in building a solid influencer business.

What’s Changed in 2020

Mattie is an expert in the influencer industry, and her keen eye for what’s working and what’s not has helped so many of her students pivot in the year defined by pivots. So I asked her what she’s seen in 2020 that’s really shaken up the influencer space.

“In February, I Tweeted that home and lifestyle and the influencer marketing space was going to explode,” Mattie started, “And that’s exactly what has happened.” She explained that with everyone at home, looking at their living space in a new way, people are looking for ideas to transform their closets, their home offices, their basements, and more.

“Home and lifestyle content, and really sharing the style of your life outside of travel and fashion and beauty, it’s now become a lot more personal,” she said.

Mattie also anticipated booking fewer partnerships this year, assuming budgets were cut for many brands. But it turned out to be the opposite, “Brands, because they can’t have their live events or presentations or shows, they have got to invest in the influencer,” she shared.

“I encourage my students to ask for the money you want! Brands are truly realizing just how impactful and important that influencer marketing is,” Mattie shared.

Mattie concluded, “Social media as a whole is now being taken as seriously as television and how radio was in the past because we’re all at home, and I think the internet and social media is that equalizer, whether you’re a celebrity or you’re a content creator trying to grow your business and brand.”

Practice How You Play

Mattie’s husband comes from a family of athletes, and he shared a philosophy with her that she teaches to her students. Practice how you play.

This philosophy is important to remember because it means that you should handle your non-sponsored, unpaid content with the same care and consideration as your paid opportunities.

A common mistake when people are just starting out in the influencer space is only showing up when you’re paid for it, but Mattie urges, “You’ve got to show up before that. You don’t want to ask a brand to cut you a check for something that they haven’t seen on your Instagram feed, on your blog, your podcast or your YouTube channel.”

Practicing how you play shows your potential paid partners that you have a certain standard whether your content is attached to a check or not.

Are You Ready to Get Paid?

One of the most frequently asked questions both Mattie and I receive is about when someone is “ready” to start pitching potential sponsors and start getting paid for the content they create.

For Mattie, the threshold is at least 1000 followers on one platform. “The reason I say 1000 followers is because you’ve done something consistently enough to get to that place. There’s an amount of effort you have to put in to get people to click that follow button,” she explained.

Now, there’s really no rule, and you can start pitching brands at any follower count. The key is being able to prove to brands that you can show up and take the opportunity seriously.

At the 1000 follower level, you’re likely to earn free product or access in exchange for sponsored posts, but if you’re extremely good at sales, Mattie encourages you to ask for what you want to get paid.

How to Craft Your Pitch

Mattie is so skilled at pitching brands and teaching that skill to others. In this episode, she walks through what every pitch should contain, whether it’s a response to an incoming pitch or you’re sending out a pitch to a potential partner yourself. Hit play on the episode for her full rundown, but here are the bullet points to note.

  • Personalize it with a name, humanize before you monetize!
  • Be clear and specific, vague requests get vague results.
  • Be concise, no need to tell the whole story in the first email.
  • Make sure you’re spelling everything correctly.
  • Leave the ask open ended so they’re motivated to reply.
  • Follow up 2-3 times if you’re serious about the partnership.

Let’s Talk Money

The second most-asked question when it comes to the influencer space revolves around money. How much should you quote a brand for a sponsored post or partnership opportunity?

“No matter how much you’ve read on the internet about how much you should charge someone, I want you to just forget it,” Mattie laughed. “There is no right or wrong number. And I always encourage people to ask for 10% of what your Instagram following is.”

So if you have 100,000 followers, that’s $10,000. “The reason why I do that is because you’ll typically get a rate that’s 4-5% of your following. But 10% is your scary number. You always, always, always want to ask for your scary number because a brand will always negotiate you down.”
Pitching and negotiating rates isn’t a one-and-done process. “There’s so much back and forth,” Mattie explained.

More from this Episode

What’s working really well on the Instagram platform right now? Is blogging dead? How are podcasts weaving into the influencer space right now? What’s next for Influencer marketing. Tune in for the full conversation with this Influencer expert. If you’re ready to learn more from Mattie, find her on Instagram @themattiejames and via her masterclasses and courses at MattieJames.com.

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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