Here are a few tips from a brand owner, on how to approach us for collaborations. These also come in handy when reaching out to a brand for other things promotional, free, or likewise.
Make sure you FOLLOW THEM.
I can not tell you how many times, I have had a direction message or DM if you will from someone who doesn't even follow me. It shows a huge lack of genuine interest in the brand. I guarantee they will not likely want to work with you in any way if you don't at least follow one of their social accounts.
Use email if you can.
If the brand has their email listed openly on their socials, it makes this part easy. If not make sure you take the time to look over their website, or a different social accounts to find one. Send an email, but also follow up with a direction message. We all know that darn spam folder likes to hide our mail. Especially smaller business owners, are very busy and may not have time to double check their spam everyday. Just send a polite direct message on social, leading them to the email they sent. Then they know to open the dreaded spam folder.
Address the email or message to someone.
You want to get ignored, make the message as impersonal as possible. The sheer amount of bots or promotional accounts, that just copy & paste into every inbox they can is outrageous. Nothing about those messages are personal. If you want to make sure you don't fall into this category, then find the name of the business owner. Or at least put the businesses name.
Know something about the brand.
When you are contacting someone to collaborate, know something about them. Include that something in your message or email. Why you like them. Why you want to work with them. How long you've followed them. This tip is a HUGE one for me. It really makes those looking to just profit vs genuine interest stand out.
Use proper grammar.
It may be an obvious one, or maybe not. When speaking to someone who owns a brand, treat them as the professional they are. They are a business owner.
If you were not great at grammar in school, that's fine. I was terrible, and I guarantee these blog posts are painful to read for those with impeccable grammar. It doesn't have to be perfect, just put capital letters on names/places, end with punctuation, and please do not use "text talk". Honesty time, I get emailed or direct messaged once a day (at least) from people asking for free items, or to collaborate, or use their services. At least 1/3 of those messages is a paragraph without a period or someone who wrote "ur brand". Don't be one of those people.
Make sure your values align.
Do your research into the brand, which I hope you at least follow and have some knowledge of. Ask yourself, do we have similar values, interests, audiences, or anything at all in common? If the answer is no, then maybe you need to find someone who is better suited to collaborate with.
A brand wants to align themselves with marketable & profitable people who have their targeted audience. Usually it has to be a win-win deal for a smart brand to want to put time or money into it. Example: I have had a food blog, ask me to send them free clothes. I looked on their Instagram, and it's only flat lays of dinner plates. They had more followers then me, but those followers want food content. They are shopping for recipes, not what the cook is wearing in her story. Conclusion, I would be using my time/money for probably a 0-2% return.
Don't be greedy.
Now I know when a brand agrees to work with you, or has it in their marketing budget to send you free things it's exciting. Do not take advantage of that and get greedy. If they offer something specific, but you'd like something a little different, ask. Do not get mad at the brand if they decline though. There is probably a good reason they are offering you something specific or declining your wants. Another fun example: I had someone reach out to me directly, who had a lot more followers then on socials. She specifically said she wanted to add some more vintage tees into her fashion/outfit based account. I messaged her 10 tees she could choose from, and she said "no, I don't really wear tees". Then flat out said she wanted me to go out, and source for her 3 different button ups/sweaters. I politely told her, if I found one of those items in her size I would consider sending it to her. Then she messaged me every other day for almost a week asking when I was going to look for her new clothing. This is an example of being too greedy, and asking for too much. When you reach out to a brand, and they offer free merchandise (regardless of social following numbers) they are still doing you a favor. This would be different if they contacted you directly. P.S. I did not send her anything, all she got was blocked.
Make sure you have content.
If you want to collaborate on Instagram, make sure you have posts. Probably upwards of 100+. Anything lower sends up red flags that you might not be real. It also allows the brand to see how you market yourself, and then in turn would market them.
Don't be rude when they say no.
Just because it's no now, doesn't mean it will always be a no. It may not be in their current budget to say yes to you right now. Maybe it's the wrong time of year, and they have campaigns lined up for the next 9 months already. Or maybe you need to grow as a creator.
Be nice. Be polite. Ask for them to keep you in mind in the future. You don't need to burn bridges because you are hurt that they aren't interested right now. If it's a brand you really like, keep growing, and showing interest.