In the creative industry, those are words you hear allllllll the time.
“Let’s collab!” (short for “collaboration”)
Sometimes when I hear people say this, I want to ask, “Are you sure?” The reason I ask this is because people often aren’t thinking of what THEY bring to the table before asking someone to collab (which usually means exchanging your talents for free).
Asking someone to collab means BOTH parties equally benefit from the partnership. Let me say it again: both! In this post, I want to share with you my tips of how to achieve the best collab possible.
So many bloggers reach out to me and ask if I’d like to collab, and I end up having to to say no. Want to know why? It’s because they don’t have a clear vision of what to bring to the table. If you’re a blogger, spend some time thinking about what you can offer photographers, event planners, designers, or whoever it is you’re trying to collab with. If you’re going to ask for something for free, you better have something valuable to offer them.
Whenever I want to collab with someone, I make a list of things that I’ll provide to make the shoot worthwhile for them.
- Start off by offering your potential collab partner a sincere compliment. Tell them you’ve always wanted to work them. Let them know you admire their work. Compliments are always nice to hear, and it’ll start your partnership off on a strong foot.
- Next, describe why you think they should collab with you. Give them ideas, provide your own contacts, and offer valuable advice. This is so much better than simply saying “Hey, will you take my picture?” or “Please decorate my room because I have 20k followers!” or “Give me free food because I take good photos of food!” Actually outline for them what you will give them in exchange for their services or product. I cannot emphasize this point enough! Let me give you an example: if you’re a model and would like to collab with a photographer, let them know you’ve done your homework beforehand. Pitch some shoot ideas, tell them you’ll find a makeup artist, hair stylist, and wardrobe stylist, scout some locations, do everything you can to let the photographer know you’ve thought through this and that you’re serious about making excellent content together. As a photographer, I’m super busy. If a model were to come to me with her own ideas, and the only thing I had to do was show up, shoot, and edit I would be game. However, if a model wanted to work with me but put all the planning of the shoot on me, that would be a very different story and make me much less willing to collab with them.
- Finally, ask them when would be a good time to collab. Let them set the schedule and don’t expect things to be on your timeline. If you have deadlines, then be aware that you probably can’t expect it to be for free. People are busy and have time for paying customers, which means, unfortunately, that collabing is always on the back burner. It’s hard to accept, but it’s the truth.
- Get everything in writing! Make sure you both know exactly what both partners will be doing–and you’ve got the agreement on paper, over email, etc.–before entering any collab.
- We all have dream vendors or brands we would love to work with but can’t afford. Collabing is the next best thing!
If you’re going to collaborate with someone, it’s a great idea, but make sure do it smart:
- Make sure before saying yes to a collab that you know it will be worth your while. Even if a blogger has thousands or even millions of followers, that doesn’t guarantee that posting your image to their site will get you lots of new business or turn you into Bill Gates overnight. If it was that easy, everyone would be rich!
- Don’t agree to collab with the desire to get more followers. In my experience, followers doesn’t translate into much. You may get a couple followers back from a collab, but usually it’ll be nothing equal to the time you put into the collab. The best sort of collabs are the ones where both parties are passionate about creating exciting, beautiful new content. Plus you’ll have something to add to your portfolio!
- Seek to create a new working relationship. In my opinion, this is the most valuable part of a collab. If you can actually have a real relationship with someone that respects you, believes in you, and will shout your name from the rooftops, that’s worth every minute you spent on that collab! I’ve done too many collabs that sadly felt like a waste of time…BUT I can’t tell you how many collabs I’ve done that have helped my business so much!
Collabs can be fun, inspiring, and excellent ways to network and meet new content-driven creatives like you. Before you jump into a collab, though, think through it, get all the details, and have everything in writing.
Do you have a story of a collab that went really great? Share it with the rest of us!
ALSO, if you’re interested in collaborating with me don’t hesitate to reach out!