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5 Ways Brands Find Influencers to Work With

For many influencers, a common question is: how do brands find and pick influencers to work on their brand campaigns? Understanding this can help influencers and content creators in building strong collaborations with brands.

5 Ways Brands Find Influencers

While brands use various ways to search for influencers, including via advertising and PR agencies, in this post we’ll take a look at the ways that influencer can have more control at developing the relationship, which are:

  1. Direct Relationships
  2. Influencer Agencies
  3. Talent Managers and Scouts
  4. Influencer Marketing Platforms
  5. Networking Events and Referrals

Direct Brand to Influencer Relationships

A direct relationship is when brands reach out directly to influencers or vice versa.

This relationship is typically based on an influencer’s content, niche, and relevance to the brand.

A direct relationship is pretty much how it sounds. This is when brands find and approach you directly or, conversely, when you pitch yourself to brands. They’ve seen your work, your brand alignment, and they see potential in a partnership.

Advantages of Direct Brand to Influencer Relationship:

  • Direct communication without delays and dilution of messaging by any third-party agency;
  • Often leads to more genuine partnerships as there’s no agency in the middle; and
  • Potentially more cost-effective collaborations.

Disadvantages of Direct Brand to Influencer Relationship:

  • Time-consuming due to direct selection, vetting and negotiation processes.
  • Difficulty in identifying brands that deal directly with talent.

Influencer Agencies

Influencer agencies play a very important role in bridging the gap between brands and influencers.

Brand relationships are often two-way with Influencer Agencies.

The first way this works is that Influencer Agencies maintain a roster of influencers, understand their strengths, and then pitch them to brands.

The second way this works is that due to deep and established relationships with brands, Influencer Agencies are often the first point of call for brands to booking talent from their roster, or for scouting (more on scouting later in the blog).

Advantages of Brand to Influencer Agency Relationship:

  • Clear, specific services.
  • Streamlined collaboration processes.
  • Perceived professionalism of managed influencers.

Disadvantages of Brand to Influencer Agency Relationship:

  • Range of opportunities may be limited.
  • Risk of mismatched brand-influencer fit.
  • Agencies often add mark-ups to talent costs, along with administrative and other fees. This inflates the overall expenditure for brands when collaborating with managed influencers.

Talent Managers & Scouts

High-profile influencers often work with Talent Managers or scouts. Talent managers and scouts represent a wide section of talent including influencers, celebrities, business leaders, public speakers, actors, authors, innovators and other types of creative professionals.

Talent Managers maintain an exclusive portfolio of talent, meaning brands can only work with these individuals through that specific agency. However, there are also non-exclusive talent who can be booked directly or through various agencies. In addition to managing talent, Talent Managers often act as scouts, hired by brands to find suitable candidates for campaigns, even if those talent aren’t signed to their agency.

Talent Managers take care of brand collaborations, sponsorships, and other opportunities for influencers to commercialise (make money) from their influence.

There are the same advantages and disadvantages of working with Talent Managers and Scouts as there are in working with Influencer Agencies, plus the following extra considerations you need to make:

Additional Advantages with Talent Manager and Scout Relationships:

  • Broader range of enquiries and opportunities.
  • A personal industry advocate.

Additional Disadvantages with Talent Manager and Scout Relationships:

  • Geared towards established influencers with a proven track record.

Influencer Marketing Platforms

The digital age has seen the growth of platforms where influencers and brands meet. Many such platforms are operating in countries around the world and a generally easy to find. Simply type “influencer marketing platforms [your country name] into Google to generate a list.

Think of these platforms as a digital marketplace: brands post their requirements, and influencers can pitch or apply to them.

Advantages of Influencer Marketing Platforms

  • Democratisation of influencer marketing.
  • Scalability and access to broad influencer pools.

Disadvantages of Influencer Marketing Platforms

  • Tends to attract primarily nano and micro-influencers.
  • Campaign pricing process may not be transparent.
  • Lack of feedback loops.

Networking Events & Referrals

Never underestimate the power of human connection. Networking remains a strong pathway for brand-influencer interactions.

Advantages of Networking Events and Referrals for Influencers:

  • Direct, personal connection with brand representatives.
  • Showcasing personality beyond digital platforms.

Disadvantages of Networking Events for Influencers:

  • Potential missteps in pitch delivery.
  • Mismatched post-event expectations.

Learn more about how Brands choose Influencers to work with.

Listen to The Business Of Influence Podcast Episode 7: How do Brands Choose Influencers as we explore this topic in further detail.