BLOGGING BTS: HOW TO PITCH TO BRANDS
Although it might seem like bloggers are inundated with thousands of emails daily with brands offering them paid work, this isn't necessarily the case. And most definitely not straight off the bat. Yes, there are lots of emails but a large majority of them are either spam, brands offering you unpaid collaborations or most often, newsletters that you don't even remember signing up for.
One topic that comes up time and time again amongst bloggers is the best way to pitch to brands. Sadly, there's no one perfect formula, nor a 'how to for dummies' but there are certain do's and don'ts that should hopefully help you in the right direction. This might seem a little controversial to some, especially those that don't completely understand social media advertising, but although bloggers are (hopefully) passionate about their work, they also need to pay their bills through the content they create. Hence the need to pitch to brands.
The first step is to identify the brands you want to potentially collaborate with. Once you've narrowed down a list, take a look at their social media profiles – does their imagery and style fit in with yours? Read all about the brand’s ethos and history on their website – does this fit in with your values? Find out if the brand has worked with influencers before – what kind of collaborations have they done? What sort of products or services do they sell – are they actually relevant to your blog or do you just like the brand?
Sometimes it’s impossible to track down the exact person you want to talk to, but try your best to find someone specific because there’s more chance your email will get read if you send it to the right person. Fortunately, a lot of brands have their PR agencies or marketing managers public on their websites, so definitely utilise that information.
Another great way is via social media platforms such as Twitter or my personal favourite, Instagram. You can discreetly and professionally pop over a DM to a brand you'd like to work with and ask them for an appropriate contact email.
Alternatively, ask bloggers. Obviously not a random blogger, but if a friend or someone you often talk to has previously worked with or met a brand, they are likely to have a contact and might be willing to help you out. There is no harm in asking - just please don't message someone you've never spoken to before because that really isn't cool and most probably won't go down too well.
I've written a whole blog post about the importance of a media kit - which you can read here - but just to reiterate, it is crucial for any blogger to have an up to date media kit. This essentially acts as your blog’s CV, so use the opportunity to really sell yourself.
Your media kit should be an extension of how you want other people to identify your brand. Add in your stats, previous work (even better if you can add in testimonials from brands you've worked with in the past too), a summary of your content, as well as your reader demographics, engagement information and of course your global following.
Before introducing yourself to a brand or sending over a pitch you obviously need to have a long hard think about the idea, and how to execute it. You need to be realistic with your time and resources, and remember to make the idea relevant to who you are and the content you produce. A few questions you may want to ask yourself at this stage are; how can I incorporate this product into my content authentically and why will a collaboration with this brand work so well?
First impressions really count, so make sure your blog and social media profiles are looking as good as they can be. Before reaching out to a brand, take some time to update your 'About' page, proof-read and properly format your latest blog posts, and delete any Instagram photos you’re not 100% happy with.
If you're keen to meet face-to-face with the brand/PR and think they'll have the time to spare, it might be a good idea to reach out to arrange a meeting first. If not, there's no harm in going straight in and pitching for a potential collaboration opportunity.
Brands and agencies get multiple pitches from influencers every day, so you have to make sure yours stands out. Brands love it when their products or services are featured in a unique and engaging way, so try and be creative with your pitch idea. Is there something you can suggest that’s a little bit different from what everyone else is doing?
Of course, make sure you have all the relevant social links in your footer so that brands can access your platforms easily.
Wait for a response. Most brands are pretty good at getting back to people but if your email has gone unnoticed, don't be scared to chase up. Once you've got a response, expect to be a little bit flexible. Brands - big or small - don't always have a massive budget for things like marketing and influencer outreach, so be prepared to sometimes alter your pitch.
They might ask you for specific coverage or to promote a certain product that they’re pushing at the moment. Or they might not be able to offer you payment for a campaign but can send you free products instead. Work out if what they’re offering is something you’d be happy with, or whether you’d prefer to politely decline.
If you don’t hear back from a brand or they decline your offer, it’s not personal. There are thousands and thousands of influencers out there, but brands only have so much time, budget and resources to commit to projects like this. It doesn’t mean your idea is terrible or your blog isn’t worth working with, it just means you’re not a good fit at that time – for a variety of reasons, many of which are out of your control.
Instead of getting upset about it, stay polite and keep in touch with the person you’ve contacted if possible. That way, if an opportunity does crop up in the future, they’re likely to remember you. Pick yourself up, research another brand you’d love to work with and get pitching again!
SOME FINAL TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Sometimes working for free can be beneficial so if a brand says they have no budget, ask them what else they can offer
- Be honest about your stats
- Always get fees and exact requirements / expectations in writing
- Read contracts thoroughly and if you don't understand something - then just ask. It's better to be safe than sorry!
- Always know your worth