The Ultimate Guide to Partnership Marketing

What’s better than an expert providing immense value on a particular topic? Two experts coming together to share their knowledge on that topic.

That’s exactly what partnership marketing — also known as “a collaboration between two companies or brands to reach a broader audience base and mutually benefit both parties,” according to WordStream — is for. When considering this marketing tactic, you may have some hesitancy and wonder if it’s actually beneficial for your company.

As shared by Impact, partnership marketing can:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Establish credibility and trust
  • Grow audiences
  • Improve customer retention and lifetime value
  • Encourage cross-sell / upsell opportunities

In this guide, we give the lowdown on partnership marketing: getting started with it, understanding its success, and bringing in support to facilitate it.

Getting Started with Partnership Marketing

Determine the Topic

The first step in partnership marketing involves determining the topic you’d like to focus on. If you don’t already have a few ideas in mind, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are our clients / customers struggling with lately?
  2. What’s a trending topic that falls within our area of expertise?
  3. Which component of our business do we want to push the most?

You’ll likely end up brainstorming several options, allowing you to create a list and then narrow it down from there. Hold onto the ideas that you don’t pursue this time around, as you can use them for future collaborations.

Once you know the focus of the offer, you can then start to flush out the plan.

Set Goals for the Partnership Marketing

As with all things in marketing, don’t dive into partnership marketing by throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that it sticks with no true plan in mind. Have a clear intention for why you want to pursue this collaboration in the first place and then set goals for it. Your goals might include:

  • Increasing website traffic
  • Generating leads
  • Growing your email list
  • Building your social media presence
  • Establishing new connections

These goals will then guide you towards picking the right format of your offer that will help you to achieve those results. For example, if you would like to generate leads, hosting a webinar might be best, as it gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and then encourage attendees to reach out to you afterwards for a consultation. If you would like to grow your email list, you may consider writing a white paper, where both you and your partner will be able to get access to the list of email addresses that downloaded it.

After selecting the topic and outlining your goals, you can start to think about the right expert — or experts, as there may be more than one — to partner with.

Find the Right Thought Leaders

Partnership marketing is exactly that — a partnership. In order to be successful, it’s crucial to find the right partner(s) who are going to contribute and put in an equal amount of work and resources. You may already have someone in mind, but if you don’t, the following sources can help you seek the right fit:

  • Your network, whether it’s someone you personally know or someone recommended by a colleague
  • Search engines
  • Social media
  • Podcasts
  • Conferences

Although you may want to dive right into things, it’s crucial to “vet” or “qualify” the expert first to ensure they’re truly the right fit. The qualifications may vary depending on the partnership, but ideally, you’ll want to check for the following:

  1. Expertise: Does their knowledge align with your offer? If the partnership involves any sort of public speaking, do they have experience in that and know how to engage an audience?
  2. Time and Resources: Do they have the time and potentially resources (money towards expenses that might occur as well as team members who can help out) to commit to this opportunity to guarantee its success?
  3. Marketing: Do they have a big and active presence online that will help with awareness for the opportunity? If they don’t have a huge audience, are they at least consistent with their marketing? Will they agree to hold up on their end of the promotional plan?

If the thought leader checks all of these boxes, then you’ll feel confident reaching out to them about the opportunity and beginning this partnership.

Select the Format of Your Offer

There are several ways to format your offer, but it all comes down to your audience’s preferred way to consume content as well as which form will help you reach your goals. Additionally, it may depend on the resources you have available. Examples include:

Blog Post

If you’re looking for a way to collaborate with a professional that doesn’t require a lot of work while still making an impact, a blog post is a good choice. There are a few options for blog posts:

  • An interview, where you interview the professional on various questions and include their responses
  • A guest blog, where an expert writes a blog post to publish on your site
  • A contributed piece, where you write on a specific topic and include quotes from one or more experts related to that topic

Oftentimes, the blog post is evergreen, which means that you can continue to share it indefinitely, helping to leverage it and bring awareness to it as much as possible. Blog posts help to establish thought leadership and drive website traffic.


Webinars are an extremely effective way for teaching and educating your audience on a certain topic. Held virtually and typically lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, webinars make it easy for individuals in any location to tune in and learn. Additionally, the webinars can be recorded, which makes it possible for registrants who missed the live option to watch the replay and allows anyone who may not have registered for the webinar originally to get access to it at a later date.

Webinars demonstrate expertise, build an email list, and potentially drive leads.


Podcasts are one of the best long-term forms of partnership marketing. If you have a podcast that brings on a new guest with each episode, it gives you the opportunity to partner with several experts within the niche of your show. Additionally, you could consider starting a podcast with another expert as the co-host, which you can lead throughout an indefinite period of time.

With podcasts being a convenient form of content to consume while multitasking — such as commuting, exercising, or cooking dinner — podcasting has only increased in popularity throughout the past few years, according to Buzzsprout. Podcasting supports ongoing brand awareness and credibility with its consistent publishing.


If you hope to bring a group of people together and build a community through your partnership, events are an easy way to accomplish that. Whether you hope to plan an educational event — such as a workshop or a conference — or a networking event, this format unites people with similar interests, leading to established connections for years to come.

Although events tend to require more work due to the logistics of planning, they can be effective for generating leads when done strategically.

Develop a Promotional Plan

Your offer is only going to be as effective as your promotional plan for it. Once you have selected the right expert(s) for the partnership and determined the offer, it’s crucial to develop a marketing strategy that will help you to reach the audience you’re looking to attract. Although the exact marketing tactics will likely depend on your topic and the format of the offer, these are a few you can consider:

Write a Social Media Content Calendar

Social media can be the easiest and fastest way to get the word out about your offer. Write a handful of posts with coordinating visuals in a content calendar that both you and your partner can use to promote what you’re creating across various social media platforms.

Submit a Press Release

Research publications that your ideal audience for this offer consume and submit a press release to them. Although it may not be guaranteed that it will be picked up for a piece, free press can do wonders for expanding your reach. Plus, this earned media can also position you as an expert.

Reach Out to Your Network

What’s better than promoting the offer yourself? Recruiting other people to promote it for you! Reach out to folks within your network who could either benefit from the offer themselves or may know people within their own network who might find the offer useful and could share it with them.

Send a Newsletter

If you have an email list, here’s your time to use it. Craft a newsletter to send to your subscribers that gives an overview of the offer and shares information on how they can get access to it. Encourage them to forward the newsletter to any colleagues who may be interested in the offer as well.

Run Paid Ads

If you have funds available, running paid ads to guarantee access to a targeted audience larger than your own is always an option. Before running the ads, however, ensure these two things:

  1. The audience is aligned with your ideal clients or customers so the right audience is seeing the content
  2. The page you’re directing people who see the ad to is optimized for conversions to prevent lost traffic

Paid ads can especially work well when other marketing tactics are already executed.

Debriefing the Partnership Marketing

The work on partnership marketing doesn’t end when your offer does. It’s crucial to measure the outcome and results of the offer and partnership itself, which will help you for future collaborations.

Analyze the Success of the Offer and Promotional Plan

First and foremost, take a deep dive into the outcome of the offer to understand whether it was successful or not. Did it help you reach the goal(s) you originally set? You will want to look at:

  • Registrants / attendees, if it was a webinar or event
  • New email list subscribers, if it was a white paper or other lead magnet
  • Website traffic, if it was a blog post
  • New leads, if your offer included a CTA for a consult or something similar

If you feel satisfied with the results, that’s great! If you don’t, remember that not every offer will work out the way you hoped it would, especially if this is your first time diving into partnership marketing. That’s okay — analyzing the outcome allows you to identify areas of improvement for the next time.

Additionally, take a peek at the performance of the promotional plan. Statistics you note may include:

  • Reach and engagement of social media posts
  • Number of social media followers
  • Number of email list subscribers
  • Open rate and click through rate of newsletters
  • Total website traffic

If you were impressed by these numbers, then you’ll likely be able to infer that your marketing tactics worked, which is always exciting to see. It’s also important to note how consistent both you and your partner were with promoting the offer. If both of you made the same commitment, that’s great — but if your partner didn’t show up in the way you were hoping for, that’s something you’ll want to keep in mind as you think about your next offer.

Facilitating Partnership Marketing with the Support of an Agency

Working with a Marketing Agency to Execute Partnership Marketing

You may have reached the end of this blog post and realized that partnership marketing requires the time and attention of several moving parts in order to be successful, and you may not have the resources to dedicate to it — and that’s okay! That’s where working with a marketing agency like Dash of Social® comes in.

We thrive on developing value-driven, intentional marketing strategies for our clients that help them to build thought leadership and establish brand awareness in front of new audiences.

Ready to get started with an out-of-the-box yet effective approach to marketing? Reach out to us for a free consultation to learn more about how we can support you with crafting and executing a plan that works.

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