You will have to approach a brand you whole heartedly support and let them know why working with you will help them gain a better market share in your target audience.
You will have to influence them to invest their marketing dollars and resources in your ability to influence your readers.
It will be a hard sale, not a soft one for lurkers silently watching your page.
And because it’s a serious hard sale you will have to put on your big girl britches and do it right.
Advantages of Approaching Brands
The reason you need to make the leap to approach brands on your own is because there are advantages to this type of partnership that you won’t find using other methods.
- Have market influence. One of the biggest advantages is when you work one on one with a brand and become a spokesperson of sorts for their products, the people that make decisions at the brand office pay attention to what you have to tell them. It’s not like a popularity contest of free products or gift cards for giveaways like with a lot of paid blogger ad networks. The people you are working with will be the ones who can make recommendations for improvements and they pay attention to customer concerns when problems arise.
- Increase marketing success. You will be in a position to influence how the company’s products benefit your audience. This will in turn be a positive effect on numbers for both yourself and the company.
- Become a brand/reader advocate. You will become your audience advocate so to speak on how the brand can best meet reader needs. And you will have the ability to put ideas, words, and actions to reader issues and complaints with the company or their products.
- Generate new readers. You will benefit for brand loyalists as they become new readers of yours.
- Gain market credibility. You will also benefit from the brand’s credibility in the market. Their position in the market will reflect on you, too, as a brand ambassador. As will their audience reach. And vice versa. New readers that here about the brand through you and your readers will have a numbers impact on the brand as well. Part of their business plan for working with bloggers will always include a certain percentage of growth in the marketplace. It’s the whole reason why they are supporting people like you and me.
Can you start to see just how important it is to position yourself for one of these brand relationships? Finding the right brand could mean the difference in blogging as a hobby and blogging as your career.
Things to Keep in Mind
Before you think about putting together a pitch proposal for a brand, consider this report from ViralBlog. According to their research the top five things companies consider when determining which blogs they will partner with are:
- Quality of Content
- Relevance to the Company
- Personality of the Blogger
- Comments and Engagement
I think most people are surprised by the fact that your stats are the least important factor. After all, everyone talks about how to get more subscribers, followers, likes, etc.
I would daresay most ‘how to’ blogging material is marketed toward growing a blog’s reach. Yet it’s the least important item considered for the most important advertising partnerships.
Review your blog posts. Make sure you have that quality content the brands reps are looking for. Feel free to use these questions to determine the quality of your posts:
- Do you have posts that truly fill a need for readers?
- Are you helping provide solutions to issues on a regular basis?
- Do they see their relationship with you as mutually beneficial?
- Is your site user friendly?
- Are popular topics easy to access for readers in a hurry?
When you read through that list of five considerations and compare them with your blog, are you confident that what you have to offer is what a brand is looking for to influence the market?
If the answer is no, then start today with those five items in mind and every decision from here on out needs to be made with them in mind. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to pitch to the big boys.
If the answer is yes, then batter’s up.
So with that resolve in mind, what SHOULD you include in a pitch email?
Tips for Crafting a Pitch email
With those same five considerations listed above in mind, start gathering ideas and information for your pitch email.
- Keep your message short and sweet. These people get inundated daily with tons of email messages from people just like you asking for the same opportunity. Respect their time. You can stand out from the crowd without telling them your whole life story.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality. After all, it’s one of the best indicators of how unique and genuine you truly are.
- Consider hiring a professional. I can’t encourage you enough on this point. If you are unsure how to create your proposal and any other information you need for this step in the game, it is worth the expense to hire a professional. You will most likely only get one shot at this level to prove you’re worthy of the opportunity. You have got to bring your A game!
- Let them know what they can expect from you. You are in the lead for this process. You’re the pitcher, right? And the pitcher is the leader on the mound. It’s up to you to let the company know what type of relationship you would like to have, what you’re looking for from them, and what they can expect of you.
- It’s okay to say no. Remember to look at this process as building a relationship in the market. Let’s say you get chosen to work with the company BUT they are not willing to create the kind of brand program you are comfortable offering to your readers. It’s ok to say no. And if you know of another blogger in your network that WOULD benefit from that type of program they are willing to offer, maybe act as the catalyst to beginning that relationship instead. This will take you so much further on your journey than just taking that no.
- On the flip side, be ready to negotiate if needed. Maybe the brand is willing to do almost all of the items you would like to have as part of your brand partnership program. But the one item that is most important to you they haven’t budged on. Maybe if you offer to let some of the smaller items go you’ll get the one thing that would mean the most to you and your readers in return. Keep an open mind with the back and forth.
- Have an idea of the brands you want to work with on a list. Like I said, this is important stuff. It wouldn’t be unheard of for each brand to have their own set of files in your office. Each company and product is unique and I would treat each pitch as such. Make note of any and all important information by researching the company and product history.
The more knowledgeable you are when navigating the communication of a pitch, the more trust and confidence you build in your ability to handle the responsibility the opportunity provides.
What To Include In Your Pitch
- Clear subject line. The reader needs to know exactly what to expect when they open your message. It should be professional and to the point.
- Introduce yourself and your blog, and what you want. Give some background on why you love the brand. Let them know why their brand and your blog would make a good partnership. Give concrete reasons as to why both your companies would work well together.
- Benefits of working with you. It’s a good idea to start making a list of all the benefits a brand would receive from working with you. Try to remember comments readers have made on blog posts or on social media comments that have let you know your work is making a difference in their lives. Don’t be shy. Sometimes you have to be confident and assert your positive attributes. This is definitely the time to use them to your advantage.
- Audience demographics & reach. If your numbers aren’t big, that’s fine! The value of your particular niche of influence is exceptionally telling in their market, even with a small population represented. Every voice is important in this game.
- Relevant examples. Include examples of previous work with other companies. If you’ve not worked with another brand before use an example of a popular post in which your readers really valued the information that was included.
- Relevant brands you’ve work with before. If you have had a positive experience working with a company before, now’s the time to share that information. Give a solid example of how both you and the company benefitted from the partnership. Use this to lead into the plan you have created on how this NEW collaboration can be as beneficial for you both, too. Include what they can provide and offer to implement your ideas.
- Contact Info. Make sure you give the most current and best information for contacting you further. We all have several email accounts phone numbers, etc. The last thing you want to do is find out someone has called or emailed an account that you only check once a month.
- Media Kit. Include a copy of this since it’s an easy to read summary of your brand, audience, and what you offer. It’s your business resume. They will print it, forward it, and keep it handy.
Again, wrap up with the action steps you are going to take to make the program a success. You can let them know how you plan to implement the plan, your expected outcome, and any resources or expenses that will be involved.
Once you secure a brand partnership remember to stay engaged.
Keep in touch on a regular basis.
Maybe schedule an update message periodically to let them know how your readers are responding, positive comments readers have shared with you, things you appreciate about how the process is going, and bring up any concerns as they arise.
This relationship is a two way street. It’s going to take a team effort to win.