When Collaborating Up, Make Your Offer Attractive

By: Sara Urquhart of Alt Summit; Photo by Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit 

I’m writing about collaboration today because it’s such a relevant topic to our success in social media and online spaces.

Collaborating “up,” in other words, collaborating with a much larger brand or more influential social media influencer than your brand, is attractive for obvious reasons. Their larger audience offers you great exposure and their partnership also lends credibility to your brand.

If you’re hoping to work with someone with a wider reach than your own, you have to bring a lot to the table, including your most creative thinking.

If you stand to gain the most from a partnership, be prepared to do the lion’s share of the work. You can easily make up for your smaller influence with great ideas and an easy buy-in that requires limited work for your partner. I’ve even known a sponsor to adjust budget and campaign parameters because a blogger pitched a great idea in which she did 100% of the work. The blogger got a dollar amount that was not in the sponsor’s original budget, proof that pitching a great idea that requires little work from the sponsor can pay off.

I’m not encouraging you to devalue or undersell your work. Absolutely, you must know what your ideas are worth and charge accordingly when you’ve established yourself.

When your business is in early stages, however, you’ll invest in growth in many different ways, including time and effort. If exposure is what you need, clever thinking and willingness to work harder than your partner will be strong tools in forming successful collaborations.

And here’s some good news: once you’ve wowed a partner with top-notch execution of your idea, you’re on their radar. You’ve built a relationship and you’re in a great position to approach them for their next campaign or event, or with your next big idea.