How to Brand Yourself for Success as an Influencer

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I'm Jade Scarfone.
A digital strategist and transformation catalyst, merging a decade of corporate systems mastery with a profound journey of self-discovery. From navigating the high-stakes world of banking to making waves in high-ticket affiliate marketing, I'm now dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs through strategic digital innovations. 

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Today I want to elaborate a bit more on influencer marketing and how to brand yourself for success as an influencer.

Recently I’ve spoken about my 8 step process for getting started as an influencer. This is the ground level steps for if you’ve never done this kind of work before and want to know how to get started. If you missed that post you can read it here.

What do brands actually look for when they receive influencer pitches? How can you ensure yours stands out so you get more YES answers. Read on to learn exactly how to brand yourself for success as an influencer.

But how do you actually build your brand as an influencer?

To understand that, first it’s important to understand what brands are actually looking for. And what you can do to stand out so you get more of those YES responses from brands.

Because after all, nobody wants to go out and get no’s all the time.

Before I get into what brands are looking for, I want to bust a few myths about what you think they’re looking for.

Brands are not looking for influencers with the biggest following…

A lot of people get caught up on what I like to call the ‘vanity’ numbers. And they think things like “I don’t have a big enough following, there’s no point me even reaching out to brands.” But I really encourage you to stop thinking like that.

I know people that have been offered amazing influencer deals when they have less than 1000 followers. And brands are constantly on the hunt for influencers with anywhere from 1000 – 50k followers because they generally have a more loyal and engaged following.

What it really comes down to is being in a specific niche, branding yourself effectively, understanding your audience, and having an engaged community.

That is all far more valuable to a brand than someone with hundreds of thousands, or millions of un-engaged followers. These followers will not take action, and are not going to be of value to a brand who is hiring an influencer to raise brand awareness.

Follower count is not the be all and end all. You can be an influencer with any size following as long as you are confident in yourself and your brand and you know how to approach brands in the right way. Then you can get those yes answers.

Brands are not looking for influencers that only post sponsored content…

Influencers with larger audiences can tend to fall into the trap of taking on too many brands. And so their feed is just one ad after another, without actually weaving in any authentic or personal content.

This can lead their audience to start questioning whether they actually believe in the products and that leads their endorsements to seem disingenuous.

Brands are starting to clue onto that and they want to work with people who are authentic, genuinely care about their audience, are selective about the brands they work with. And only promote things they genuinely use and are passionate about.

That way, they know that working with you is going to be real and your audience is going to trust your endorsement.

Brands are not looking for the influencers with the fanciest gadgets to create content

A lot of people think to be an influencer you need to have all the latest camera and video equipment. Let me tell you, I have all of it (drone, gopro, DSLR).

And guess what I use 90% of the time? My iPhone. Because it’s with me all the time and I can take high quality images and then easily edit them to be on brand afterwards.

Sometimes I will hire a professional or use my better cameras. Usually if I’ve come to an agreement with the brand that higher quality content is in order. Or they’re paying me for higher quality. But this is not something that is a necessity when starting out.

A lot of the time the content brands want for Instagram is story based which you do just record on your iPhone anyway. So feeling like you need fancy equipment should not hold you back.

And when the need arises, there’s always ways to create professional quality content without needing to have all the gadgets yourself.

Branding With Jade - Personal Brand Photography - Jade Scarfone - Noosa - With Camera

Brands are not looking for influencers to be present on every social media platform out there…

This is another thing I see all too often. Aspiring influencers are trying to be everywhere because they think this is more impressive to brands.

But a mediocre presence on every platform is far less valuable than an excellent presence on 1-2 platforms. 

79% of all influencer work happens on Instagram. (I think I actually saw an even higher stat for this recently). So that’s the place to be if you really want to succeed. As you grow you can expand your reach, but to start with you can pretty much do everything on Instagram.

So what are brands looking for then?

Mostly, it’s about being confident in yourself and your brand. And approaching the right brands that you know will resonate with your audience. Above all, brands want to work with people that are going to give them a return on investment and are actually going to have some influence.

And by influence we mean… it actually raises brand awareness and gets that influencer’s followers to connect with the brand in a way they wouldn’t have done before. Because they trust the influencer and if the person they trust is endorsing a brand and product, they’re going to be more likely to trust that brand as well.

So the key on how to brand yourself for success as an influencer so you stand out to brands is to:

  • know your niche,
  • understand your audience
  • think about why you actually want to work with brands – not just because it looks fun, but what actually excites you about being an influencer
  • figure out your brand pillars (say 3-4 areas within your niche that you call yourself an expert in)

For example. If you’re based in the travel niche – start working on promoting and sharing your knowledge about things like flights, tour companies, hotels and luggage. They’re all different elements, but they’re all related to travel and things an audience interested in travel would want to know about.

If you’re basing yourself in the fashion & style niche then your pillars would be things like clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, beauty products. Again, they’re all different, but an audience interested in fashion wants to know about all those things.

As your brand evolves and your audience starts to know, like and trust you. And they get to know you as a person. Then you can look to expand into other areas within your niche.

Or become more lifestyle based so you can broaden the type of content you share. But when you’re starting out you want to be niche specific.

This helps brands to actually determine whether you’re the right fit for them as well. Because they’ll know you’re in their niche and so your audience is interested in their products as well.

How do you go about approaching brands?

Again this comes back to your niche. You should start by only approaching brands within that niche. This way you’re staying on brand as well. You’re staying authentic and sharing products that you genuinely use and that are of interest to your audience. That’s where you’re going to get the most ROI for yourself and for the brands you work with.

So, the key to pitching brands and getting YES answers is to actually think about the brand. And think about what you can provide that brand that other people can’t. Why would they benefit from working with you over every other influencer?

You need to think about your point of difference, show them that you’ve done your research. Show them that you know that brand inside out and you have a personal connection with that brand.

For instance – I approach Australian clothing labels that are sustainably made in Australia because I love supporting local designers. As someone that loves to travel and loves the environment I don’t really like buying fast fashion and prefer to support smaller designers that I know make their own clothes. A) because it means not too many other people will have the same pieces as me and B) because it’s good for the environment. So I tell brands this because they know there’s a personal connection for me and that my audience will also have a similar connection because they are like me.

When you add that human touch and you tell brands why you want to work with them, they’re more inclined to say yes.

Not only that but do your research and actually go into specific products. If you’re pitching a hair care company for example, say which product you like because of your hair type and why it works for you etc. Even throw in personal stories about using the products in the past.

The key you’re looking for is to establish long term relationships, not just a one time thing.

As this is where your audience will really start to form a connection with the brand as well. And where the brand will really see the power in working with you over other people.

You want to be strategic about it and weave it in with your personal branding and with your own stories and lifestyle. And that’s why you need to be pitching products and brands that are actually relevant to your audience.

And the final piece of the pitching puzzle…

Finally, the real key to pitching brands and actually getting YES responses is to have a strong media kit.

Because you can send 1000s of emails, but brands are busy and don’t want to be spending hours scouring through your social media trying to figure things out. They want everything presented to them in a nice simple way so they can make a quick decision as to whether or not your brand is going to be the right fit for them.

And if you can’t take the time to create a simple media kit then they’re going to question your professionalism. They’ll also wonder whether you’re serious about influencer work. And they’re probably just going to overlook your email.

So you really want to put some time and effort into creating a really good media kit. This is to an influencer, what a resume is to someone looking for a job. And it can’t just be a word document. You’re here to show brands you’re ready to create content for them. So you need to have personal flair and creativity to demonstrate what you’re about. The design is just as important as the content.

When done right, brands will look at the media kit and be able to understand your personality, likes/dislikes, audience, what you can do for them etc. So that is the real key on how to brand yourself for success as an influencer.

Jade Scarfone Influencer Media Kit

But how do I create a media kit?

Now, if you don’t know what a media kit is, this is exactly why you’ll need to be at my workshop tomorrow because this is exactly what I’m going to be covering there.

I’m going to be showing you every aspect of my media kit. What is needed to be in a powerful media kit, how long it should be and how to actually create one. And then I’m going to be walking you through how to actually send a media kit to a brand in a way that is going to get you a YES.

So if you would like to learn exactly how to create your media kit and how to pitch brands to get more YES answers. Then I would love to see you at my workshop.

You can register right here.

Prefer to watch a video? Check out my latest IGTV episode for a more in depth breakdown of how to decide if this is the right path for you.

View this post on Instagram

IGTV VIDEO – How to Brand Yourself for Success as an Influencer Welcome to another episode of #BWJTV In this week's episode I'll be elaborating more on influencer marketing. More specifically how to brand yourself for success as an influencer including what to do to set yourself apart, how to pitch and what needs to go into your media kit. So have a watch to determine the exact actions you need to take to really establish your brand and become a successful influencer. And if you're interested in learning the steps in more detail where I show you behind my screen and take you through every part of the process, you can register for tomorrow's live workshop right here: https://jadescarfone.com/influencer-branding-workshop In this workshop I'll be breaking down each step in a lot more detail, showing you how to optimise your social profiles, create your media kit and even giving you exact scripts for approaching brands yourself PLUS tips on how you could score your first influencer deal by working with third party apps. Hint hint: do things right and your first deal will more than cover the costs of your investment in this workshop. See you there! . . . . . #brandingwithjade #brandingwithjadetv #igtv #igtvchannel #influencerlife #influencerswanted #influencermarketing #influencerblogger #influenceragency #instagraminfluencer #instainfluencer #brandinfluencer #socialinfluencer #iginfluencer #microinfluencer #socialmediainfluencer #lifestyleinfluencer #travelinfluencer #australianinfluencer

A post shared by Jade Scarfone | Branding Coach (@brandingwithjade) on

I really hope this post gave you more insight into everything you need to land those killer brand deals you desire. I can’t wait to help you brand yourself for success as an influencer. It’s an awesome industry to be in.

If you’re still wanting to learn more then let me show you how it’s done. I know after this workshop you will have all the tools you need to go out there and actually pitch brands to get more yes answers.

To Creating the Brand and Biz of Your Dreams

~ Jade xo

What do brands actually look for when they receive influencer pitches? How can you ensure yours stands out so you get more YES answers. Read on to learn exactly how to brand yourself for success as an influencer.

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