5 Ways to Secure Paid Sponsorships and Collabs

These days it seems like everyone’s involved in an #ad, sponsored trip, collaboration or brand project right? With the DM’s full of “how do I get travel sponsorships or travel or travel for free” type questions, now is defo the right time to share a few gems from my experience in the “industry” so far.

As the co-founder of The Wind Collective, a UK based Creative Destination Management Company, running travel projects & trips, managing influencer trips and so on is part of our day-to-day thing. From my blogging and The Wind Collective journey so far, I’ve learnt that no one is exempt from“securing the bag”.

A feature I did with Kitty Hawk Bar in London.

Before I go on, note that these sponsored projects and collabs aren’t always cute. 99% of the time there’s work to be done so make sure there’s some passion behind what you’re after.

So, what does it mean to get sponsored (in the marketing world)?

It’s a popular form of advertising where a company or individual pays you to be associated with a product, service or event. There are very few barriers to entry when it comes to getting sponsored. Trust me, it’s not exclusive to a small few so if this is something you’ve considered, the below will defo help you out. Here’s how I’ve done it and how you can too:

  1. Write a bad gal/boy pitch!

If you aren’t lucky enough to be approached for a sponsorship deal it’s not the end of the world. Nowadays, there’s numerous ways to put yourself in front of a brand/person of interest…LinkedIn, Twitter, DM’s, though a referral, mutual friend etc etc.

My fave approach is defo a good old email – it’s professional, easily accessed, you can get your points across coherently while adding proof to back everything up.

My first exclusive campaign with Skyscanner, Jan 2018.

For example, my ongoing collaboration with Skyscanner came about from a mutual pitch. We were engaging a lot on social media, then we took the conversation over to email. Once I fed them my idea, they were already keen and knowledgeable of who I was so our outcomes were super clear, that’s how we made the influencer partnership happen.

Tips on writing a bad gal/boy pitch:

– Create an idea/proposal brief.

Make your proposal as clear as possible. Highlight the benefits you’ll be bringing to all parties involved, be transparent and honest.

Note that before brands put coins into your wallet they usually want to see a potential return that’s (most times) greater than their cost. State what you do, what you’ll be doing for them and explicitly mention what the return will be. Show proof of your success rate from your product/service, prior projects, social media stats/engagement, network etc.

– Bring your ideas to life

Include visuals (graphics, photos, video links), make sure your pitch is aesthetically pleasing and brings your personality to life.

I tend to use Keynote presentations or PDF’s to create visual proposal decks.

Be honest & yourself when pitching! | L.A. Aug 2018.

– Attach your media kit (if you have one)

It doesn’t have to be lengthy. Make it precise. Use it to tell the company/brand/individual what you do, include examples of your previous work and who you have worked with. It’s basically a CV (resume) but less rigid with lots of personality. (You can easily include this in your idea brief if you don’t have a full-blown media kit).

– Email the right person/team

The person responsible for media content, social media marketing, content distribution etc rather than sending an email to a general company addy.

Do your search on LinkedIn, use your network or kindly ask for a direct contact via DM’s.

(“A cheeky Instagram stalk don’t hurt either!”)

– Authenticity wins (sometimes it doesn’t)

Yes, brands like unique ideas but let’s be real, many brands also like high social media stats.

If you’ve got both, the odds are usually in your favour so use it to your advantage while pitching.

How to be authentic?

Be you as much as possible!

The idea doesn’t need to be innovative and new (wake up! Folks get paid to post pictures of cereal bars).

Just ensure the idea you’re pitching is relatable to the brand/company as well as your product, service or lifestyle – it makes it more believable!

My Wind Collective crew during our trip to Morocco where we partnered with 5 luxury & boutique hotels in Fes for content creation projects. I was probably on the hunt for some Tagine during this pic! lol. | Chefchaouen, Morocco. July 2017.

How to gain a large social media following?

– I personally don’t focus on the follower game but I’m sure you can Google it.

…I will mention that if you already have a well engaged social network, connect with brands/people of interested to get them on your radar and pitch an idea to them. Tbh, once they know what you do it becomes easier to get a partnership going.

What’s a good following though?

It’s extremely subjective to the industry/niche but there are many brands willing to work with folks who have a well engaged 1k+ following.

Don’t be scared to reach out to smaller companies/start-ups either!

  1. Collaborate

Is there someone in your network you’d love to partner with who has more experience in the field, a larger audience or perhaps a role model? Consider reaching out to them for a joint collab as they may add a bit of flavour to your brand proposal…because” two heads are better than one”.

Plus, presenting your social media reach collectively to brands will usually work in your favour.

Social collabs are dope ways to get involved in new things while growing your network.

This picture is a result of collaboration. @Hannah_ajala & I met on IG last year & started a Travel Movement “Black British Travel Meet Up” which currently has a network of 2k people! Our partners so far include Facebook London. There’s power in connecting! | Buzzfeed HQ London. Aug 2018.
  1. Ask (the right people)

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get” ~ an African Proverb I think…

How to ask?

Check out point no. 1.

Don’t let pride hold you back from asking a friend/associate for help.

  1. Consistent is king

Consistency is really really underrated.

Building loyalty and trust from your audience is usually a product of consistency.

If you’re passionate about something keep at it (even when no one is watching), and regardless of whether you get your sponsored collabs or not, your consistency will lead to a larger audience/network. With a larger audience, sponsorships and paid projects become more likely – it’s all reciprocal.

I’ve been blogging for over a year and a half. Looking back, my brand partnerships and sponsorships have cropped up when I was avidly on job. I was out there blogging monthly, responding to emails, engaging, creating content, travelling (with my own investment) – because opportunities don’t create themselves.

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Brixton, London. Aug 2018.

Tip: even if you feel like you’re constantly flooding content to your audience, don’t stop. They’re engaging and following your content for a reason.

If your audience aren’t engaging try finding your tribe. Connect with those who actually vibe with your vibe – “Go where you’re celebrate, not tolerated”.

  1. Be good at what you do

Real talk, there’s probably someone out there doing almost exactly what you’re doing. What makes you stand out is the way you do it.

Find people in your tribe who do whatever it is better than you, connect with them or at least learn from them. I remember when Holly (the amazing digital storyteller) told me to “use what you have Doyin”. This stuck with me because sometimes we try to climb the ladder too fast when there’s heaps of space and time to learn with what we currently have in our hands.

Baldwin Hills, LA. Aug 2018.

We’ve got people around us, accessible tools such as Google, YouTube, and too many online resource at our disposal. There’s never been a time where we have direct access to bettering ourselves without breaking the bank or making substantial changes to our lifestyle.

99% of the time, being good at something often correlates to great opportunities – it really is reciprocal.

Hope you enjoyed the read. As always, your feedback/questions are welcome!

Peace & love,




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