Bloggers want to work with brands but all that seems to stand in the way is that first step, also known as the pitch. Working with great companies can happen. You could sit around and wait to get an email from the brand that you’ve been dreaming about. Or you can take a deep breath, get to work and develop the perfect pitch.
The worse that can happen is that the company will tell you “no” in response to your email. Even if that happens it’s still a win because you’re now on their radar.
There’s some pieces of advice that anyone can tell you and that you’ll find through any Google search such as keep it short, check for typos and use a professional email signature. Those are all great but let’s go a little deeper because even the perfectly written email is still missing meat on it’s bones.
A pitch isn’t really a pitch unless you’ve done your homework. Without the legwork behind it, the email is just that – an email asking for something.
So what is a pitch? Truthfully it’s a calculated plan to represent a company that you are presenting to them in hopes that they will buy your services, whether it’s a sponsored post, a huge three month campaign or simply providing a product for review. A pitch is not simply an introduction to your blog. It’s more. It has power and should have the weight behind it to back it up.
So let’s get to work and learn how to pitch companies that you want to work with.
1. Do your research. There’s a lot that goes into forming the perfect pitch but it starts with research. You need to know whom that brand has worked with in the past, what campaigns they have done in the past few months and what they might currently be working on. Do they have a new product coming out? Did they just introduce a new social media platform that they’re trying to grow? Is there a big event coming up, such as the Super Bowl, that they usually have a large marketing stake in?
What has that company done in the past and what can you try to predict they will be doing in the future? Use those tools to help you come up with a plan of how your services can help them.
2. Format your plan. Instead of emailing the company with a simple introduction and a request to work together, put power behind it. Find what that brand’s current need is and format your pitch around it. Use the research that you did in step on along with knowing what you can provide and use that information to develop a plan that the brand in need cannot resist.
Many bloggers don’t know what their strengths are and what they can provide. Now is the time, before you email a single company, to figure that out. Some things you might consider:
- What do you think you do best when working on your blog? Is your photography on point? Is your writing humorous? Can you style the perfect product placement photos? Do you master a certain social media platform?
- What offshoot of your blog are you really strong at? Are you mastering live streaming video, affiliate marketing or have you written a large library of e-books?
- What do you struggle with? It’s important to know your weak point and avoid using it in a pitch. If your weakness is food photography and you’re pitching a sponsored post using highly stylized food photos than you’re setting yourself up to fail.
If the company that you want to work with has a small Instagram following but you can tell they are trying to grow it and your strength is styling photos for Instagram, use that piece of information to come up with a stellar pitch.
You can state in an email, “hey I’d love to work with you” and hope for a response. But you’re going to be guaranteed a response if you can say “hey I noticed that you have a newer Instagram account that you’re trying to grow. I’d love to send you a proposal for an Instagram campaign that can also promote your new product you’re releasing next month”. It’s a short introduction that meets their needs and will perk their interests. Make sure that once you have that introduction sent over, you have a full pitch with a fully formed idea, possible dates and monetary requirements ready to send over.
By doing your research and pairing the results to your strengths, you can turn what might have been a simple one post for free product into a full campaign with multiple possibilities.
3. Be ready. A true pitch isn’t a one time email. The first email is simply an introduction. If it’s a simple idea such as a product for a post review, it might just take one email. But you need to think larger than just a free product. Form a relationship with brands and work together long term in a way that benefits you both.
How can you be ready?
Know your numbers – You need to show any brand that you approach concrete numbers that show you can deliver what you’re proposing. Have you done a review before and can show that X amount of products were sold using links from that post? How many followers do you currently have on social media and can you inspire them to action? What are your true pageviews? (If you use inflated numbers you’re already setting yourself up for failure when the results come back less than what was promised.) Do you have a large community? How can you prove it to people?
Write out a detailed proposal – PR people are very busy. The first email needs to be short and sweet. Any emails that follow also need to be precise and to the point but that’s not an excuse for not knowing the details of your proposal. Are you prepared if they ask for a conference call to discuss? Can you talk your way through your proposal and answer questions about it?
Is your site and social media ready for their eyes? When you send you a pitch, is your site and social media ready for the person you’re contacting to view it? Chances are that the person you contact will check you out. They’ll look at your blog. Are there recent posts that show the best of your work on your blog? Are there a ton of sponsored posts (this is actually a turn off to most brands)? Have you lately worked with their competitor? Likewise if you’ve been tweeting negative reviews of companies lately, that could also be a strike against you. Know that you’re putting your best face forward in all aspects of your online life.
All of this information might seem daunting but it doesn’t have to be that way. Learn how to use spreadsheets and keep track of your numbers at all times. Not only will it help you be prepared but it will also show you what is working for you because it results in growth and what isn’t working.
Practice pitching companies. Spend time coming up with ideas and how you could implement that for brands in your head. Look at your editorial calendar and pencil in times to pitch companies that you would like to work with. Include pitching as part of your plan and before you know it, approaching companies will become second nature to you.