One of the most attractive thing about blogging and working as an influencer is the ability to work with some of your favourite brands. Most brands love to work with influencers on some level, whether it be a product exchange, a press trip, or even an ambassadorship.
But, how do you get to that level? How do you get noticed? How do you collaborate with brands? I’ve worked with a number of brands as a blogger over the years, from Viking River Cruises to Air Canada Vacations to Intrepid Travel and more. Here are my top tips for pitching brands as a blogger.
PS: This is going to be a quick & dirty guide on pitching brands. If you want more depth information on working with brands and forming long-term partnerships as an influencer, check out my ebook here. In this book I share my experiences, the emails I have sent to secure partnership, feedback and tips from PR and brand representatives I work with, and more.
Before You Pitch
When you pitch a brand for a collaboration, it should be a natural fit. For example, someone who runs a budget backpacker type blog shouldn’t pitch luxury resorts. It’s just not going to happen.
You should also make sure you are following the brand on social media and engage with their content. Trust me, they will check for this.
Finally, do yourself a favour and do a bit of research ahead of time to make sure you find the best possible person to pitch. Is it someone directly within the company? Is the company represented by an individual at a PR brand? Usually, this information is on the website, but if you can’t find what you need, LinkedIn and Twitter can be good places to hunt down that information as well. You’ll have a much better chance of getting a reply when you target the right person instead of a general email.
How to Collaborate with Brands: Creating Your Pitch
Pitching a brand as a blogger does require a bit of strategy. You need to keep it short but sweet but include enough information and detail to catch their interest. Brands get dozens of pitches from influencers every single day. You need to make yours stand out while also making it easy for them.
What to Include in Your Email
- A catchy title. “I want to work with you” or “pitch from a blogger” are not catchy titles. Get creative; who are you? What are you doing or where are you going? Yes, it’s about you but it should interest them. Something like “Pitch: Solo Female Travel Blogger Headed to Portugal for the First Time” would be better.
- Introduce yourself and your brand. This should only be 2-3 sentences. Include the link to your blog and social media if appropriate.
- Explain why you are reaching out. What is your idea? Why do you want to work together? Why are you the best person for this specific idea/angle? Why are they the best brand for this specific idea/angle? Again, keep it short. This should be one or two paragraphs.
- End strong. Include past examples of similar work with other brands, or similar content you have created already. Let them know you are happy to send any further information with needed and thank them for their consideration.
What not to include in your email
- Don’t load it full of stats and numbers. Seriously, don’t. Chances are the brand may come back and ask you, but they can do their own research as well. Numbers used to be the deciding factor but now more than ever engagement and content are key. These things are easier to show than tell. So, reel them in with a great idea so that they want to click through to your website and social media channels.
- Don’t include a media kit. You should definitely have one on hand if asked, but don’t add it into your pitch. Nobody will look at it. Honestly, I think I’ve been asked for one twice in all the years I have been blogging.
- Don’t ask how you can work together. It’s your job to sell an idea. Again, make it easy for the brand.
- Never put yourself down. It’s easy to feel that imposter syndrome when trying to figure out how to collaborate with brands – I still do all the time. But remember, as I said above numbers don’t count for everything. Creative ideas will get you noticed. An authentic personality will get you noticed. Brands aren’t opposed to working with new bloggers and creators.
- Don’t include prices right away if you are looking for a paid partnership. You want to be able to negotiate later.
What If I Don’t Hear Back?
If you don’t hear back right away, don’t sweat it. Again, imagine how many emails this individual gets every single day.
If you don’t hear back within a week, I do suggest following up. A quick 1-2 sentence email asking if they have had a chance to read and consider your proposal yet will do. Keep it friendly and professional.
If you still don’t hear back, don’t take it personally. Tweak your pitch and move on. You can try reaching out to someone else in the company, or, you can go elsewhere.
When am I Ready to Start Pitching Brands?
One of the biggest questions people want to know is at one point are they ready to start collaborating with brands.
There is no magic number. But, it’s probably earlier than you think.
That being said, as a new blogger, you shouldn’t expect to be invited on a paid press trip right away. That’s not going to happen. But, you could start reaching out to smaller businesses and companies that fit your niche and inquire about working together. Maybe tickets to an attraction in the city you are writing about. Maybe some product samples from a company you love and want to review.
It’s ok to start small and grow from there. Again, don’t let numbers be the centre of your focus Yes, they are important, but they aren’t the only important factor.
Final Tips on How to Collaborate with Brands
Pitching brands can be daunting but if you think it’s a really good fit, then there is a good chance the brand will as well. You just need to show them how. As you continue to write pitches you will get a better feel for what works for you and what doesn’t. Pay attention to any follow up questions brands have on successful pitches and see if, in the future, that is something you can include in your emails. Again, you want to make it as easy as possible for the brand to say ‘yes’.