When I first started blogging, back around 2008/2009, I was not sure where I was going to go with it. I was just fascinated by the idea of finding free samples from companies and trying them out.
After that discovery, I wanted to be able to keep track of all the samples I signed up for. For what purpose, I have no idea. However, that’s when I signed up for a free blog site. No domain name. Just a generic place for me to make a blog post. Again, I had no direction with where I was going and at that point, I didn’t even have a name yet!
As time went on and I was enjoying my newfound hobby, I discovered something called affiliate links. Affiliate links are basically links I get paid from if you click or make a purchase through them – depending on the program terms.
From that point on, I decided that I needed to come up with a website name and move off from the free blog website and get an actual web address of my own. Thus, Closet of Free Samples was born!
Okay, so how did I become an influencer?
After getting my website set up, I began gaining the basic knowledge of how affiliate links work, using them, etc. I began researching the various affiliate program options that were available and began applying to them. During this process I discovered there were brands seeking out bloggers, such as myself, to try products and give honest feedback.
Wait, what??! Yes! Real companies wanted to connect with bloggers and send out full-sized products for free and all I needed to do was share my honest opinion on it along with a couple of photos. This was a dream come true!
From that point on I began working on building a social media following and getting my website together – more professional and more defined to what it is today.
How can you become an influencer?
Becoming an influencer isn’t what it used to be when I first started out. I feel like there are so many more resources available to help new influencers get their foot in the door.
Here are my step-by-step suggestions based on my own experience:
FIRST, Start a Blog or Website
While nowadays you do not absolutely need to have a website to become an influencer, I still recommend having one – even if to use are your own portfolio or to build your own brand. This gives brands a way to see your work and have a way to contact you. Some bloggers even like to share a compensation report
to their readers.
SECOND, Get on social media
You are probably already on social media if you are even here, but just in case, I figured I would mention it. Brands like to look and potential influencers following, engagement, and content before potentially hiring them. This is a great way to also get personal and interact with your fan base.
THIRD, Talk about yourself
By this, I mean make sure you have some nice photos of yourself and have an about me section on your website. Talk about your interests and yourself. It’s bragging time! This is a great place to show off your personality so potential brands can see why they should partner with you.
LAST, Connect with brands
Now that you have completed items 1-3, it is time to connect with brands! You can do this by researching and joining influencer marketing channels
or simply reaching out to brands yourself! I know it can be a bit intimidating at first, but after a couple of emails, you will get the hang of it.
For me, I found making a generic template for my emails worked best for me. I made a template introducing myself and stating my purpose of contact, that I saved, so when I saw a brand that I wanted to work with, I would use that template and adjust to each brand accordingly, so it was personal to them.
One thing to note though, do not get discouraged by non-responsive emails or declines to your offers. If you do not get a response, schedule a follow-up. If you get declined, simply thank the brand for their time and move on to the next! Sometimes the timing isn’t right or it’s not a good fit for the company. So don’t take it personally!
While being an influencer is a lot of hard work, it is also a lot of fun. I, personally, love the ability to get to try new products and share my opinion of them and sometimes get paid to do so! Over the years I have discovered a ton of wonderful brands and products all while connecting with some amazing people. It is something I truly enjoy doing and I think anyone who finds the right niche for them, would enjoy it too.