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Getting your work out there.

I am not sure about you - but for me it feels so daunting to take a leap out of my comfort zone and share my work with others. However, if I am going to the effort of approaching a new contact, I want to make sure I don't rejected straight away by going to the wrong person!

I know there are times contacting the head honcho straight up is a big no no. Taking the time to research who gets their hands dirty finding new talent means I may actually get a reply to my email! Whether it be a publication, an influencer or simply a potential collaboration opportunity - a clear plan and an idea of the desired outcome is essential.

Here's how I approach a potential opportunity and I hope it may spark you to give it a go too.

Establish a good relationship with my contact from the start.

Researching (blog/socials/newsletter) and understanding their audience means I can introduce myself in a way that I can be beneficial to their current needs. If we have met before I have something to lead with, otherwise a connection (like complimenting a recent post) may help with a positive connection.

Indicate how I would like to be featured and be clear about what I can offer.

How am I the right person to add value to their story? How do my pieces stand out? To demonstrate the answers to these questions I include images (if relevant) of where my work has been seen before and a vision for our collaboration. If there is a particular season or event coming up I include how I can provide a unique creative solution for their content.

How am I interesting to their following?

I focus on the unique ways in which I create my product, a little on my creative story and my aim to make engage people through my work. If any celebrities have recently endorsed a similar product (or even better mine) it can help reinforce its value.

Finally, I clarify what I'm asking for and ask if they are interested.

I try to make it very easy to respond by offering something they can use or take action on immediately.

I have never truly utilised 'influencers' but I know the right ones can have great power.

Find one beautifully aligned to your brand and you can tap into a gold mine of relevant customers. You may already have a relationship with some which is a huge bonus. If not, is it in your budget to go for the ones with the highest reach (who rely on being paid) or do you have a product some of the 'up and comers' would love as payment? Even though consumers are more savvy with the whole 'sponsored post' they still value when a trusted influencer (who doesn't buy followers) is willing to endorse your product. Ensure you have clear expectations before you start your campaign and ensure they are able to take quality images of your product. This way you can use the benefits of your collaboration on your social media, your website, future editorials or Pinterest boards. If your product does gain traction - have a plan to make the most of the opportunity. Don't let it just fade away.

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