Friday, 21 July 2017

How Do I Get A Blogging / Influencer Agent and Do I Need One?

In my day job, I'm an Influencer agent at a major talent agency. I manage the calendars and collaborations of people with significant Instagram, blog or Facebook followings and I work on pitching them to clients to fulfil briefs that require influencers.

In a typical day, I might receive requests for:
  • Beauty Influencers with a high UK audience
  • Fitness Influencers that are currently not sponsored by protein brands
  • Mummy influencers with children under 5
  • Gaming Youtubers who want to trial new game apps
  • Travel Influencers who want to go on paid adventures
My job is first and foremost to fulfil the briefs that come in and to make sure that our department is reaching out to companies to let them know that we are here and we have the influencers that they need to fulfil their digital content needs. I spend a lot of my day talking about the three major benefits of Influencer marketing, raising Brand Awareness, gaining Follow Acquisitions for client's social accounts and generating immediate direct sales driven from an influencer posting content created around a particular brand.

Obviously, to do all of this, I have to have a roster of Influencers, bloggers and content creators that I can call on. These individuals need to span the complete spectrum, from very small, up and coming beauty bloggers who might consider creating a post in exchange for gifted product and a mention on a big beauty brands instagram page, to major Youtube stars that can gain millions of views and downloads for a new app.

I find these influencers in lots of different ways, including going to blogger events, networking with other agents and beauty PR's, scouring Instagram and...incoming applications.

The point to this post today, was to give some information about what an agent does and why you might need one. I speak to a lot of up and coming influencers and bloggers who feel that getting an agent is the next logical step to take them to the upper echelons of the blogosphere. To put it bluntly, it's not.

My job is not to develop you, not to grow you into a major influencer. That's your job. The content that you create, the organic content, is what will make you stand out among a see of want-to-be influencers and social media stars. I get approached by people with 10K followers in Instagram saying they are ready for an agent - you aren't. The brutal truth of the matter is that an agent is only going to be interested if there is decent money to be made and at that level - there isn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still interested in hearing from you. I often get invites, emails about gifting (or 'seeding' collaborations and other opportunities that our higher-level beauty influencers simply won't consider and it makes the agency looks significantly better if we are always able to fulfil a brief, plus I'm obviously interested in watching your Instagram and blog grow in popularity until such a time that you do perhaps require an agent.

So how do you know if you really need an agent? Here's a little checklist.
  • You are getting approached by brands and being offered paid collaborations
  • You don't know how much to charge these brands, but you know that your platforms are definitely worth money
  • You need help with invoicing and the admin side of Influencer work
  • You want to turn previous collaborations that have been on a gifting basis into a longer term paid collaboration with a brand
  • You are getting people pretend to be you on social media
  • You think it's time you were verified
  • You have more than 100K followers or subscribers on at least one channel.
If more than two of these sound like you, it's time. Get contacting agencies in the space you want too work.

Influencer platforms are springing up everywhere. I get several emails a day about them. From Influenster  to River and millions more, these platform promise that they affiliated with all the top brands and will bring the work to your inbox without you having to lift a finger and in some cases, they do work. I would recommend them if you aren't quite answering 'yes' to two or three of the above questions but you are ready to dip your two into paid collaboration.

An agency manages your Influencer career. You'll be assigned an agent who will be your go-to. You'll speak to them several times a day sometimes about opportunities, working with them to get the best rates and the best collaborations. They will reach out on your behalf to brands that you have always dreamed of working with and they will make sure all of the invoicing and admin stuff is done for you so you can sit back and do what you are good at - content creating.

Don't get me wrong, there's a place for Influencer marketing platforms and I don't see them as my competitor, but they fulfil different roles and it's likely you'll need one before the other.

Now you have established that you are ready for an agent and you aren't looking for someone to help you develop yourself as an influencer, but someone who can pitch you to global brands and start getting you those big-money deals - it's time to put yourself out there. I'd strongly suggest going for a well-known, reputable agency that has a good roster of influencers. Here are some other things to check out:

  • Does the agency have an office premises? You don't want some fly-by-night managing the career that you've worked this hard on
  • What's their reputation? Talk to some brands about the agency - you probably have PR contacts already and most of them will know the big agencies and the right contacts there - they might even recommend a particular agent to you
  • Do they have people that you admire on their roster? If they only have one or two minor reality TV stars from 2006 they might not be best for your 400K beauty platform
  • Do the people that they represent seem to be working quite a bit? A reputable agency will always be happy to share who else they represent - check out their Instagram feeds and blogs and establish if they seem to be getting good opportunities. 5 teeth whitening companies in a month would be a no, an amazing-looking trip to the Bahamas with a cosmetic brand would probably be more of a yes!
  • Are you able to speak to someone on the phone and if so, do you like them on first impressions? I won't take anyone on that won't speak to me on the phone.
  • Do you they ask you to share your Instagram insights and other stats and seem interested in verifying how you have grown yourself, or do they seem over keen and not interested in your history? This is a red flag for sure, you don't want to work with an agency that takes on people who they don't properly verifying - brands will pick up on that super quick!
Finally, do your research. The right agency won't pressure you into signing a contract or true and promise you all the best jobs. Working with an agent is about selecting and pitching for the right opportunities that will resonate with your audience and keep your following trusting you. No agent should ever promise anything - they probably won't be able to deliver and you'll be in too deep to know what to do. 

I'm happy to give advice on this subject, and even consider adding you to our roster if you have the potential and I believe that our clients will be interested in you. You can find my work email over on my Instagram, @katyclouds

Hope this has helped! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I will reply with haste x

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