“Talent wins games, but teamwork makes the dream work.” Michael Jordan said.

As an entrepreneur, marketing is constantly at the top of my mind. I don’t know about you, but my brain reels with thoughts like- What would the branding look like for this? Is there a unique customer experience I can explain visually? Is there a pitch here?

Market, market, market.

But recently my brain has been fixated on collaborations. Collaborations and partnerships look different than traditional marketing techniques but I’ve come to realize that there is power in teamwork. These group efforts can be an excellent marketing tool when leveraged in the right way.

Today, I want to share 4 mistakes you may be making when pitching partnerships and teaming up with other brands to get your message out.

1 | Pitching without a plan.

If you’re pitching an idea without addressing important details or key questions, you might as well be talking to a wall. We all know that for every good partnership pitch, there are a million off-handed, shoot-from-the-hip style pitches that find their way into conversations and inboxes. It can be incredibly frustrating to be approached about a partnership that has no substance or thought behind it. When you pitch a partnership or collaboration, be intentional about providing important dates, times, the other names or companies involved and your exact plan. Do all the work so it’s easy for them to say yes.

2 | Always looking for free.

Partnership or collaboration doesn’t always mean free… and that’s okay. Perhaps to land a big-time collaboration, you need to spend the money on a photographer to gain the assets necessary to explain your product to a third party. Or maybe you need to cover costs to get your product in the hand of some influencers that will sing your praises to their own audiences. With any partnership or collaboration, you’re likely going to have to make an investment, which brings me to …

3 | Not outlining the win-win.

Solemnly swear to never send a pitch email without explaining in detail how the other’s audience will benefit from the partnership. Many influencers are constantly on the lookout for content to post to social media outlets, blogs, etc. Are you doing the dirty work for them by providing them with free content they can easily post? Tell them! Are you addressing a topic that their audience wants to know more about? Explain that, too. By outlining how they’re getting a “W” out of the partnership, you’re automatically giving them another reason to say yes.

4 | Not following through.

Post-collaboration, send a hand-written note to all team members thanking them for their time and involvement in the project. As you begin to promote the project, be sure you’re tapping into all relevant media outlets in order to gain maximum exposure. And, while you’re at it, give credit to all involved parties. It’s irritating to be engaged in a partnership only to get ignored when they toot their horn about the project without mentioning your name or company. Finally, track your results and share them with your team members. These insights will be helpful persuasion tools for your next partnership pitch.

With the amount of collaboration and partnership in entrepreneurial land these days, you can’t afford to remain in a silo. Identify a few complimentary artists, visionaries and entrepreneurs and make your pitch. And remember, teamwork makes the dream work.

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Ashlyn S. Carter

Copywriter & Storytelling Strategist, Ashlyn Writes

Ashlyn has helped clients like Delta Air Lines, Chick-fil-A, Orkin, and Woodruff Arts Center tell their stories at full-service communications firm Jackson Spalding — and then worked as publicist and PR manager branding for celebrity chef Ford Fry and his team of 11 restaurants. She now puts a decade of media and journalism experience to work as a freelance writer for creatives.

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