Pitching Brands as a Blogger/Influencer
As a blogger, working with brands you love is not only a great way to generate income, but it’s also a fun way to build relationships, grow your audience, and share useful products and content with your followers. This question is one I receive often, understandably so. I am going to break down the process of collaborating with brands beginning with what you need to have in place before reaching out and ending with helping you craft your very own collaboration email request.
1. Grow your Blog & Instagram + Have an Engaged Audience
Before collaborating with brands, you will need to grow your own blog to have an engaged audience that is interested in the product, content or service that the brand you are reaching out to offers. This is key. Brands do not want to waste free product on someone whose audience is not their ideal customer. So, be mindful of this when searching for brands you feel might be a fit or your blog. Think more so about your following than your personal interest.
By no means am I saying you have to have a huge audience before collaborating with brands. I had my first collaboration with roughly 850 followers. But, it is important to ensure that you have high-quality photos, post consistently, have a neat and organized Instagram bio, well thought out website and last but not least, engagement! Brands are looking for engagement. They want to be able to see that you can show them to your audience and that your audience will be receptive to what you’re sharing. This generally means that they leave comments- on your blog, Instagram, anywhere really.
It helps if you are engaged! I have been so fortunate to connect with so many amazing bloggers simply by liking and commenting on their photos. I believe the blogger world is generally very kind and receptive. We all are looking for the same thing, more or less. Build a community, engage with others, and you will be shown the same kindness in return.
2. Create a Media Kit
A media kit is a document that shares all of the information a potential sponsor would need to know about your blog. More or less, a resume for your blog. It should share your most important information such as your blog’s URL, social links, a bit about yourself, your statistics, topics, collaboration options, your contact info, previous work, and images. If you are unsure of where to start, you can search “Media Kit” in Canva’s template search box. There are plenty there that will give you a general idea of what should be included.
It’s important to note that it is still possible to collaborate with brands without a media kit. However, it is professional, makes a great impression and can potentially lead to landing more (& higher paying!) collaborations in the future.
3. Make a List of Companies, Brands or Products You Love & That Would Be a Good Fit
As mentioned previously, a crucial element in collaborating with brands is to be sure that the collaboration is a fit for your blog. You want to be sure you can freely and openly speak honestly about the product or service so that it isn’t so obvious to your readers that it is an advertisement. They will be less inclined to read your post, engage on your photo, or share your content if it feels forced or out of place. You only want to reach out to brands that you can speak about easily, so they fit seamlessly into the content you’ve already worked hard to create.
For example, I love to collaborate with products or services I generally already use or use something similar. To help you think outside the box, I will share an example of both a product and service that fit seamlessly into my blog but are a bit “out-of-the-box!”
Eat Purely- Eat Purely is an organic food delivery service in Chicago. They deliver chef-made organic meals to your door in 20 minutes or less! I am by no means a food blogger, but, I blog about a healthy lifestyle, fitness, and productivity. Eating organic meals not only fits into the Health & Fitness categories of my blog but, the 20 minutes or less piece fits seamlessly into other content I write about optimizing my time, especially in the evenings! It was a perfect fit and has been an incredible collaboration for both me and my readers. They receive a free meal when signing up through my code! This got great engagement on my Instagram. Both parties were incredibly satisfied!
SpaDerma Med Spa- I have an ongoing collaboration with SpaDerma, a local Med Spa that offers all kinds of skincare services! Preventative care, corrective care, anti-aging care, they do it all. I go to SpaDerma for HydraFacials. The HydraFacial is the only hydradermabrasion procedure that combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection simultaneously, resulting in clearer, more beautiful skin with no discomfort or downtime. The treatment is soothing, moisturizing, non-invasive and non-irritating. I am not a beauty blogger, but I (thankfully) have good skin! I am asked regularly what products I use to maintain it, so, collaboration with a MedSpa, that provides both products and services, fit seamlessly! The HydraFaical is all the rave right now, so, my followers were interested in and very engaged on this topic. This is one of my favorite ongoing collaborations to date!
I share these to show that thinking outside of the box always wins! Don’t forget to also reach out to digital products and companies! Your first thought might be to reach out to brands with brick and mortar stores or tangible products, but, digital companies love and need exposure, too! A few to consider are companies that have an app, sell plugins, graphics, host webinars, share resources or software if it fits your niche!
Pro tip- Did you know that you can often find similar products, brands or services to ones you love on Instagram simply by clicking the down arrow next to the follow button on their Instagram? This is a great way to find brands you might not have come across otherwise
4. Find their Contact Info
Once you’ve curated a list of brands you’d like to reach out to that make sense for the content you share, it’s go time! Search their Instagram or website for an appropriate email address or form of contact. Some websites have a “collaboration” tab where you can fill out a form to collaborate with them! Great! But, don’t use this as an excuse to be lazy. Treat this as any other e-mail you’d send.
Here are a few tips to remember when reaching out-
1. Address someone by their name
If you did the research and have found the owner of the company or the person that handles their marketing and outreach, address them by their name. It shows you took the time to do research and genuinely care enough to find the right person! It isn’t always accessible, so, don’t worry if you can’t find it! But if you can, use it!
2. Do some research on other collaborations they’ve done
It is always helpful to show a brand that you have taken the time to explore their platforms and found some things that interested you! It never hurts to share what you liked about their collab with another blogger, a blog entry you loved reading on their website, or something that resonated with you from their brand statement. Find something to say, people. You got options!
3. Subject Line
Many brands get tens or even hundreds of collaboration e-mails daily. Be sure to have a subject line that reflects who you are! Feel free to make it fun but keep it short and sweet. Make sure it’s something the brand will be excited about opening!
5. What to Include in Your Initial E-Mail
Your e-mail should be short and to the point, while sharing enough about your brand and business to feel personal. Here’s a template for what to include-
1. An introduction of yourself & what your blog topics are (1-2 sentences)
2. What you love about the brand and/or what they offer (1-2 sentences)
3. Why you believe this collaboration would be a great fit. What will you be able to offer them in exchange for a collaboration (1-3 sentences)
4. Call to Action. For example, “I would love to share my ideas with you if you’d be interested?” (1-2 sentences)
5. Media Kit. I would recommend saving it as a PDF file so it’s easy for them to open, looks clean and is organized.
6. Close with grace. Say thank you. Make sure you communicate that you are grateful for their time.
Altogether, your proposal should be short and sweet (roughly 10 sentences or so) yet full of all of the essential information they will need to evaluate if you will be a fit to work with!
Collaborating with brands is such a fun part of blogging, but, can be discouraging. Don’t be discouraged by a no. There is always a yes waiting around the corner for you! Give the brand about a week or so to respond before sending a follow-up. Most brands (in my experience) are kind and will respond to your initial email, whether they say yes or no. I, however, have had great success with this framework and am confident that you will, too!
If you have any other questions about working with brands, I would be happy to answer them in the comments!