As bloggers, many of us get the really neat opportunity to work with brands and businesses. Oftentimes, a brand may approach you seeking sponsorship services, posts or other unique ways to work with them. But occasionally, you as a blogger or business person (if you run your blog as a business) will be pitching your services straight to these brands. I started putting a lot of thought into this when designing a sponsorship plan exclusively for brands and small businesses (the Window Shopper).
Before I get into effective ways of pitching brands, I want to mention the following about working with brands in a sponsored setting regarding your readers:
1. If you wouldn’t use the product or support the brand offline (i.e – if you wouldn’t spend your time/money on it), then don’t share it on your blog. Yes, you may be making a quick buck or two, but losing your readership because you come off as unauthentic isn’t work the check. Trust me on this, better opportunities will come.
2. Before you begin pitching brands, be sure that you’re blog is well prepared to take on this exciting next step! This does not mean that their is a magic number of followers or page views that you should reach before pitching. It only means that you should feel comfortable with the current state of your blog and brand. This doesn’t only involve page views and followers, but also the design and overall look, your writing style and quality of original content, and posting schedule.
If you feel good about the two things above, you may be ready to dive into pitching brands!
1. Why this particular brand? What is it about this brand that you think your readers will really enjoy? Do they offer a unique product or service? Be able to pin point why you want to work to them.
2. Do some research! Has this brand worked with bloggers before? Which ones, and how similar or different are those blogs to your own? This can give you a pretty good feel of whether or not the brand will be receptive to working with you. If the brand has worked with bloggers before, reach out to them and ask how their experience was working with this brand.
3. Know the brand’s story. When you’re reaching out to a brand, especially if you are seeking some form of compensation for including them on your blog, they need to feel that you know them. No one wants to team up with a blogger who is clearly only in it for cash and maybe a little exposure. Explain to them what you enjoy about their company or product, and what you think your readers will like about them as well.
4. Sell yourself. This is not the time to be overly humble about your blog. Let’s face it, your blog is awesome, which is most likely why you feel ready to start working professionally with different brands. Mention who your target audience is, and what your demographics are. Let them know how many page views you get per month, which topics seem to attract the most visitors, and any other statistics you think they may find significant. If your blog has a media kit, send it right on over!
5. Tell them what they’re gaining. It may be obvious to you how much a brand has to gain by working with you, but it likely isn’t as obvious to them. Spell it out for them, and tell them the direct benefits of working with you and your blog.
6. Don’t be over zealous. If you email a contact at a brand and they don’t get back to you right away, remember that they are running a business. Emailing them a hundred more times over the next few days isn’t going to help. Give it a few days, and if you still haven’t heard back, follow up with them politely. Remember, you’re doing business — be professional.
Always remember that every brand that you pitch is unique, and requires a different approach. Pitching brands can seem very intimidating and awkward at first, but they want to grow their brand as much as you want to work with them. It’s all in the approach.
To all of the bloggers out there who have worked with brands, what pitching tips do you have? And if you’re interested in reaching out to brands, what questions or apprehensions do you have?