Collaborating With Other Businesses (And How to Go About It)
If you've been toying with the idea of collaborating with someone, we'll be the first to say that's a totally fabulous idea that you should definitely pursue!
When it's done right, a collaboration project can be the perfect thing to grow your business because it exposes you to new, already engaged audiences, in a way that feels familiar to them. They don't need to do a bunch of groundwork figuring out your brand's ethos and whether that jives with their world view. The brand they already trust just vouched for you so you're no longer making a cold call, so to speak.
So, how can you go about setting one up? Let’s dig in!
Before you start reaching out to people, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first and your answers to these questions will help you narrow down who you talk to and your approach:
What do you or your people REALLY need that you can get by collaborating with someone?
Who is a great fit for this who might be at a similar stage as your business, is possibly already a friend/someone you have a relationship with, and that you can reach out to?
How can you deliver this in a way that benefits both sides?
Once you've laid down some of this groundwork, you can then start to lay out how exactly you're going to collaborate and we've got 7 great tried and true ways that you can do that.
HOST AN EVENT OR WORKSHOP
Maybe the idea of doing this on your own feels daunting and impossible, but if you have someone to share the load with, things get a whole lot easier.
If you pick a topic that you can both speak to and is of common interest to both your audiences, then you'll end up with attendees who arrive open to whatever you and your collaborator are doing. Plus, meeting new people face to face is a great way to make meaningful connections and get clients or customers who are engaged from day one.
There are lots of ways you can go about this, but if you find someone who has an audience you'd like to tap into, then approaching them to see if you can offer up some free giveaways through their social media or at an event is a great way to do that! This could be discount cards, free samples, sneak peeks, or really whatever you want it to be.
It looks good for the other person because they're able to offer their audience something for free that they presumably want or need and it's great for exposure for you and your brand because you're essentially getting a public endorsement from your collaborator.
Know anyone that works in a similar industry that has a blog? Approach them about writing a guest post and come armed with a pitch for what you'll write about and why it would matter to that person's people.
Blog post contributors typically get to include their contact info and a blurb about what you do and why people should care about what you're saying, so it's a good way to direct traffic to your own site. Just make sure you've done your research about that blog and pitch something that demonstrates you know who their audience is and what they need.
While lots of podcasts have famous guests and sponsors, there are just as many that don't so spend some time scouring the internet and see if there are any that you feel you could add something meaningful too by being on.
Again, you're going to want to come armed with a pitch about why that podcast absolutely needs you on as a guest and it's important to be upfront about your intentions from the get-go when you do approach them.
Also, just a word from experience. Make sure you read their website carefully because most podcasters will outline how they want to be contacted and whether or not they're accepting guests. There's nothing worse than spending a day on a pitch only to realize they don't accept offers to collaborate.
My favourite magazine, Bon Appetit, does this all the time. For a day, they'll let chefs and food bloggers take over their Instagram, meaning they let them curate what gets posted for everyone to see.
It's great for the chefs and food bloggers because they obviously get massive exposure, but its also good for Bon Appetit because, well, creating content is a lot of work so any day you don't have to create content for is a good one.
Talk to friends or reach out to businesses that are in a similar stage as you and offer up a few hours worth of content that you can provide them with or ask them if they have any content they'd like you to share. Either way, you'll get an introduction to their audiences.
Again, this could be you live chatting on someone else's Instagram story or them chatting on yours, but it's often easier to break the ice by inviting them to speak on yours first.
This is a fairly low commitment for both sides and doesn't take much work, but it's still a great way to attract the attention of someone else's audience who you'd like to get to know. Also, we did this with our Let's Talk About Anxiety campaign and having those expert voices on anxiety ready and waiting just meant we were serving our people that much more!
EXCHANGE BRANDED QUOTES OR ASSETS
You may not be able to get a full takeover of someone's Instagram, but that doesn't mean someone still won't want to use some of your pre-created content or share some of theirs on your feed.
We find our engagement on quote posts is really high and pumping these out can take a lot of work when you're just a small operation, so find another small operation and see if you can help one another out. Just make sure that whatever the agreement, it includes public acknowledgement of who created the graphics because the goal here is to get noticed.
So there you have it. And if you get everything prepped and are feeling nervous about how to handle the actual approach, just remember that the worst you'll hear back is nothing and even when that happens, it probably has little to do with you and more to do with how busy they are.
It can be tough to put yourself out there, so start small and just keep leveraging up!
Got any questions about collaborating with other businesses? Leave us a comment below and we’ll be sure to answer them!