Obviously, I’m a huge advocate for pairing bloggers with big brand marketing campaigns. Over the last 5 years, during my time with one of the biggest digital media agencies in the world, I encouraged every single one of my clients (literally every. Single. One.) to spend their money on blogger hosted projects.
Usually, brands and marketing managers bought into the idea right away but just having the green light on these projects didn’t mean we would actually ever see them come to fruition. We never, ever, ever, ever, had enough bloggers to meet all the demand for partnerships. The companies I worked with almost always had a bigger budget for these projects than we were able to spend.
This made me really sad, because I KNOW there are tons and tons of women out there who work their butts off to build amazing content and monetize their communities. And most of these women had no idea that there was money and projects being left on the table for them.
Why was there such an issue with supply and demand here? The answer is simple. Most bloggers don’t pitch.
Have you pitched your brand to any companies lately? If you’re shaking your head, I have to ask…”Why the heck not!?”
You work so hard for your successes. You create killer content every week. You stay up late replying to comments and hustling on social media. You deserve to get paid. You deserve some kind of compensation for the products you’re reviewing, for the places you’re talking about, for the brands you’re featuring in your photos. You deserve it and those brands want to give it to you!
— Olivia Derby (@OliviaRDerby) April 18, 2016
All you have to do is ask.
Here is how to get brands responding to your pitches.
1. Find the right person
When you’re aiming high and looking to work with a bigger brand, you’re going to need an advocate.
An advocate is someone on the marketing team who loves you, loves your idea, and will be pushing your message to the rest of his/her team. When you’ve got a contact like this, collaborations go much smoother and there are more opportunities to work with that company again in the future.
If you’re having trouble finding an advocate within a company, it may mean they outsource a good chunk of their advertising to an agency. Get in touch with a few good PR firms and let them know which brands you want to connect with.
Try to get in touch with a project manager or creative director. In many agencies these are the people with the greatest sway over clients. Stay away from anyone with an analyst title.
Whether you’re working directly with a company or through a PR firm, these steps still apply.
2. Write An Email That Demands Attention
If there is one element of this process that has to be perfect, it is your cover letter. This is the first email you send expressing the very basic wish to collaborate. In this email you’ve got to communicate your value, sell your style and personality, and convince the reader you are a perfect fit for their goals.
Not only do you have to communicate all of those things, you have to do it in about 3 short paragraphs.
It’s not as hard as it sounds, but you should definitely put in the time to get it right.
Introduce yourself and your blog, state what you want from the partnership (more on this is just a second), mention any similar collaborations you’ve done, and describe the value you can provide to the company.
Your goal here is to demonstrate why you are a great match for the brand. Use the word “target market”, describe your audience demographics, and explain how your personal voice supports the missions of the brand you’re pitching.
3. Know What You’re Pitching
When you pitch a brand, have an idea going in. Do your research and find out what kind of things that particular brand has been doing, and come up with a creative way you can work together.
Suggest a timeline, a project concept, and what exactly you will need from the brand your writing to.
“I would love to put a Fall lookbook together featuring your Metallic Shine line of lip color. A collection of date night looks would be great to release in early October.”
The more specific and creative you are about your idea, the more likely it is to pique the interest of the marketing team.
4. Have a media kit
The media kit is one of the first barriers you need to conquer before you can be taken seriously. Most marketers will read the first 3 sentences of a pitch and respond with “Send me your media kit” as if by muscle memory.
If you don’t have a media kit, if you do have a media kit and send it in a .docx format, or if you have to be asked more than once for the document, you probably aren’t going to make it very far.
Invest some time into building a beautiful, informational media kit that covers the most interesting points of your blog for advertisers.
Your kit should include:
- -Number of unique visitors per month
- -Number of pageviews per month
- -Average percentage of new visitors per month
- -Average monthly bounce rate
- -Average pages per session
- -Total Number of email list subscribers
- -The number of followers on each of your social media channels
- -Links to all of those social media channels
- -Links to your 3-5 most popular and most relevant posts.
Even if you don’t have millions of pageviews every month, you can still be a valuable partner for a lot of brands. Marketers are interested in more than total traffic. If some of your numbers are a little on the low side, or if one of your channels seems to be struggling, don’t ignore it. Give a short, to the point explanation of why the numbers are low and what you are doing with that channel to boost engagement.
By “short” I mean like 1 sentence.
Advertisers are going to skim your content and if their questions aren’t easily answered they will move on.
You might be tempted to exaggerate your numbers a little. Don’t. Be honest, be transparent, and be proud of what you have built.
Include your media kit so that marketers don’t need to ask.
5. Follow up
Marketing and advertising is a very high energy business. It’s rare that marketers have the time to read and reply to emails with the care and consideration they’d prefer.
What does this mean for you? In short, just because you don’t get a response, doesn’t mean you’ve been rejected.
After you send your email, follow up as many times it takes to get a response. Even if the ultimate answer is a no, you’ve established yourself as a dedicated professional.
If you don’t get results right away, don’t get frustrated. Keep trying and keep tweaking your cover email and media kit. Once you find a configuration that works it will feel like a switch has been flipped and suddenly all your emails are getting a response.
Need a little help writing the perfect pitch email? I’m adding templates and sample letters to my library this week to give you all the tools you need get noticed. Sign up for my mailing list here to find out when the downloads debut.