Collaboration is about joining forces with another party to achieve a goal, create something or produce something. It is when people come together and contribute their expertise for the benefit of a shared objective, project, or mission. Collaboration leverages division of labor to guarantee 2x more results than each part would have been able to accomplish alone.
Collaboration is serious business. When you choose a brand to collaborate with, you are saying – I trust this brand enough to present them to my audience, and I can vouch for them. The same thing applies when someone collaborates with you. Their audience has the opportunity to transfer their trust to you.
5 Tips to Guide You When Considering Collaboration
Have a clear goal and purpose for collaboration: Define what you want to accomplish and offer your target audience. This lays an excellent foundation for a productive partnership. What is the goal of this collaboration? How will it benefit you, your audience, and your collaborator? Why do you want to collaborate? Ask yourself these questions, write the answers down and make it into a goal. A clear goal and purpose will help you focus, give you direction, and stay accountable.
Pick your collaborator very carefully. Pick based on metrics beyond vanity metrics. Don’t pick someone just because of the number of followers they have. Pick someone who you can add value back to and can add value to you. Pick someone with a shared mission, shared vision, shared goal, or shared target audience as you. Think about someone with relevant experience, skills, and complementary perspectives. Ensure this person is someone you can offer value to and get value in return. Ensure this person has the potential to will benefit from the collaboration. If it is not symbiotic, it is not a collaboration. It is a leeching exercise. Collaborate based on shared goals, shared vision, mutually beneficial purpose. Always approach collaboration with a win-win mindset. Ask yourself, will I be proud to be associated with this person? Does this person align with my brand?
Build a relationship before you need them. Don’t wait until you need someone before you connect with the person. Invest time in building a relationship. Get to know your potential collaborator, sow the seeds and be deliberate. Interact with them online or offline. Take the person out for lunch, send “just because gifts,” comment on their posts, respond to their stories, be friendly. Be equipped with things they’ve done and build familiarity. Add value to them. Engage with their content and work. By sharing and engaging with their work, you can create some form of connection between you and the person. Make valuable contributions to their content, send emails highlighting something they said that you found interesting. Pick an article, book, or work they have shared and ask them questions about it. Tell them precisely what you like about it. If you can quote specific phrases, you earn cool points. Be genuine. People can smell the “fakeness” from a mile away. When you finally ask, if they say no, don’t get upset and burn bridges. no doesn’t mean never. Keep building the relationship. It might lead to a greater friendship and collaboration opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to go outside your niche. It’s true your audience loves your tips and hacks for their life and career. But, let’s face it, they probably have other interests as well. Some of those interests might be only slightly related to your content, or perhaps not related at all. Look out for complementary collaborations, collaborations within your industry or entirely outside your industry that still ties back to your message or goals.
Build Systems. As you execute the collaboration project, document your process. Track the success, failures, impacts, testimonials. At the end of the project, create a structure around it and make it into a system to ensure you can replicate the success again. Correct the shortcomings and optimize.
Collaboration is always a good idea when there is a shared vision, goal, purpose or result. It brings people closer and opens up opportunities. it helps people leverage on each other’s audience and communication channels.
Who (or what brand) would you like to collaborate with?
I am a multi-faceted creative driven by the need to create lasting solutions to key problems faced by you and your business. Ask me anything about business, branding, communications, or life and we will figure out the answers together. Drop a comment.