We Explain | How to Pitch a Brand

We Explain | How to Pitch a Brand

If you haven’t already seen it on Twitter, there has been quite a lot of talk about bloggers pitching to brands recently.

A food blogger contacted a restaurant – who shall not be named as they don’t like exposure – asking them if in return for a review and social media coverage, they could have a free vegan meal.

The email was short and sweet, straight to the point and professional. It may have been lacking a little bit of research as it wasn’t quite the right target market, but it did the job.

For some unknown reason, the brand posted the email to their social media account and it has thrown the Twittersphere up in arms. Should we be pitching to brands? How do you even pitch to a brand as a blogger? Is there a right way to do it? Who knows.

As someone who regularly pitches, I thought I’d try and shed some light on pitching and give some of my top Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to reaching out to brands.

Do research the company.

Anyone can reach out to a brand. Seriously. The pitches that stand out though, are those that have clearly done their research. Talk about an aspect of the brand you particularly love, mention a recent launch of theirs or simply show that you have an interest in what they stand for.

It will show you’ve gone the extra mile and that you’re not sending blanket emails to everyone, which brings me onto…

Don’t send a blanket email template to everyone.

Although it takes a while to do, every single one of your emails should be personalised. It’s so easy to see when an email template has been copied and pasted and it may give the impression you’re not passionate about the brand you want to collaborate with. Ditch the template and write every email from scratch.

Do find the name and contact details of the person you need to contact.

When I first started pitching I would send my pitches to the first email I could find for the company I wanted to work with, even if that meant that I was pitching to an info@insertcompanynamehere.com email. It’s much more effective and direct to find the name and contact email for the person you need (most likely someone in Marketing) as it shows you’ve put effort into your research, and gives you the chance to address them by name.

If I can’t find the name on Twitter, I often find that LinkedIn is a great resource for making PR and Marketing contacts.

Don’t forget to keep track of who you’re contacting.

If you pitch as often as I do AND have the memory of a fish, then you’re going to need to keep track of who you’ve contacted and the outcome of the pitch.

I put everything into a Google sheet and make note of the company, the contact, their email address, what I’ve pitched and the outcome. I leave space to make notes so I can mark whether I have had to chase, as sometimes I find all it needs is a little nudge to remind someone you’re there.

Do keep your introduction short and sweet.

A nice snappy introduction is all you need to start your email off, as you don’t want the people you’re pitching to losing interest before you’ve even got to the point. Include your name, where you’re from and a link to your blog.

You can go into more detail later on in the email.

Don’t beat around the bush.

I’ve seen a couple of examples of pitches where people have gone a long, round about way to say why they’re contacting someone. All it needs is a couple of sentences to say ‘’I’m looking for new and exciting collaborations as a Travel blogger, and would love to talk to you more about what I can offer you in return for XX’’.

Do be sure of yourself.

Confidence is key when it comes to pitching and I have found the best way to show you’re confident is to stop using words and phrases like ‘I think I could’, ‘I was wondering if’ and start saying ‘I can’ and ‘In return for’.  It’s direct, gets to the point and shows you’re proud of your capabilities.

Don’t be TOO sure of yourself.

Being too confident can come across as demanding and cocky and although it’s great to show you have faith in your blog, the people you’re contacting are people too and will value you more if you respect them.

Do show examples of your previous work.

Proud of a review or sponsored post you’ve worked on before? Include it in your email!

It will give the brand you’re contacting a good idea of what they can expect from you and will save them the time scrolling through your blog posts looking for something that would be relevant to their industry. I try to include at least 3-4 links in each of my pitches, showing a range of what I am capable of.

Don’t forget to attach your media kit.

It’s always a good idea to include a brief overview of your stats in your pitch, but attaching a media kit will allow brands to get a full idea of what you and your blog are all about.

Media kits not only show your stats but also your personality, so it’s a great tool to help secure a brand collaboration. Make sure it’s clear, professional and something that will stand out from the rest.

Do make it clear what you want and what you can offer.

In all my pitching emails, I make it very clear what I am looking for – whether I have a particular product I’m interested in or if I want to be added to their PR list – and I bullet point what I would be happy to offer in return.

It’s so easy for lines to get crossed that if you simply it from the beginning and don’t overcomplicate things then there is a lot less room for mistakes should the collaboration go ahead.

Don’t be afraid to ask for something in particular.

Pitching is basically a form of sales. You’re selling yourself in order to work with a brand. It’s daunting, but true.

One thing I learnt from years working in sales is that you can’t be shy and you have to go in for the kill. Looking for comped meal at a restaurant? ASK. Want that expensive camera bag? ASK Trying to score and all expenses paid trip to Paris? ASK.

Don’t ask, don’t get. That’s what I say.

Do close the sale.

Your whole pitch could go to waste if you don’t end your email correctly. End with a clear, strong statement that leaves the brand the opportunity to reply and say ‘’yes, I’d love to go ahead!’’.

Don’t press send until you’ve proofread.

Need I say anymore?

 

Kirsty Leanne is a Plus Size Travel Blogger over at www.kirstyleanne.com. You can follow her on Twitter here: @KirstyLeannee92.

Behind the Blog | Frankie of The Mayfairy

Behind the Blog | Frankie of The Mayfairy

  1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog? How did you first get into blogging?

Well, let’s start at the beginning. There was darkness and in that darkness there was ooze. Primordial ooze, if you will. Lots of stuff came sloshing out of this ooze. Hamsters. Side tables. Magic eight balls. Ramen. Various cucumbers of all shapes and sizes. Eventually, a series of events that inevitably lead to me stumbled out of the ooze, and that’s how I ended up living on Earth.

One day I was sitting around minding my own business, probably eating toast. I was considering doing something truly important with my life – something like changing my vocation and becoming a helper. Becoming an important being. Starting a counselling service for the kittens who’ve had a traumatic experience at the top of reasonably tall trees, that kind of vital service. Obviously, I’d leave the kittens who’d been terrified at the top of extremely tall trees to the true professionals. I know my limitations.

Anyway, I looked down and a vision of St Rose Gold, the Patron Saint of Bloggers appeared in my toast. She told me that I must get on the internet straight away, and start sharing my good thoughts in post form. She demanded that I keep it wholesome, with a pre-watershed vibe in case one day a blog outreach and engagement specialist wanted to interview me in their weekly newsletter. I’m a little bit rebellious and don’t take kindly to anyone – patron saint or not – interrupting my toast so you may find some less than good thoughts on there as well…

  1. You’ve had some fab opportunities through blogging – what’s been the best opportunity you’ve had so far?

Once I went to an event and they gave me five large glasses of wine and very little food. Against all the odds I made it home that night. And I mean straight home, no jumping on the wrong bus and ending up in Peckham for six hours yelling at a tree. This opportunity made me realise that even if the blogging and the 9–5 don’t work out, I have a promising future as a pigeon.

  1. What do you think is the best “service” a blogger can provide their audience?

You have two choices: Be insanely useful, or, be insanely interesting. Your audience is generally only interested in what they can get out of your blog, and they’re probably either there for practical information or to be entertained and inspired by your awesomeness.

I also think it’s important that you love writing. I don’t understand bloggers who hate writing and force themselves to do it. My dudes, in the year of our Lord 2k17 you have options. If you hate writing, do YouTube. Just focus on photography or social media. Start a webcomic. Be the best morse-code-only blog on the block and annoy the pus out of passing ships with your highlighter reviews.

“I wen to the restaurant and ordered the chicken burger. Hypothetical Steve opted for the ribs. It was nice. Steve like it and the staff were also nice and did nice stuff like bring us food from the kitchen”. This is not compelling, proofread content. Your audience deserves better.

“I visited that new restaurant just to get my hands on that ridiculous chicken burger that’s been taunting me from Instagram. At first spicy bite, my white girl sensibilities felt a twinge of panic that soon turned into a buttock-clenching thrill as I made my way into flavour town. FYI, that’s the biggest suburb in Funky Town, just east of Chinatown.”

Now, that ain’t gonna win any Pulitzers and it’s not a master class in grammar or anything, but at least it starts to weave a freaking narrative. We’re all over here now wondering what’s going to happen to this white girl’s buttocks next. We haven’t even got to Steve yet and how his bottom feels about the current state of affairs. I’m just saying, I think that’s more interesting to read, especially if you’re not going for the super, super, professional “useful” angle.

  1. Do you have a full-time job as well? How do you find the time to run your blog so professionally?

I freelance, so I’m insanely busy all of the time. I spend many, many weekends and early mornings sitting on the couch, laptop on lap, in only my underwear with yesterday’s mascara-streaked across my cheeks excitedly vomiting out a post. If that’s not true professionalism then I’ve probably worn the wrong thing to “Casual Fridays” in the office I’m working at today…

  1. How has your blog changed since you first started it, to now? What was your first post about?

I started out not knowing what to blog about but knowing I wanted to write stuff. So I blogged about what I thought I had to blog about based on what everyone else was doing (food, makeup, travel) until I realised that I had my own little niche of crazy to mine for content and the world doesn’t care about my thoughts on that new pho restaurant.

  1. Do you have a favourite post that you’ve written? Does it differ from your most popular post?

To truly answer this I’d have to look at my stats, and I don’t do that anymore. When you start blogging your numbers seem to grow steadily every week, and you get that confidence boost that assures you that this will just keep happening every week until you take over the world and set your sights on Mars. But then it doesn’t. At some point it mellows off, might even dip a little. The overall trend might be going up, but the numbers aren’t getting bigger at the same rate they were and you get that sick feeling in your stomach.

Before you know it you’re sitting outside the train station at 7.30am, drinking cider and begging passersby for a few clicks. Chasing them down the street. Holding a hand-drawn sign with your URL on it and looking forlorn. Flirting with random strangers until they ask for your number, grabbing their phone and sneakily putting your blog badge on their home screen instead. Then running off gleefully while they look confused. Emailing giant spam lists, promising them enlarged phallic appendages and a mail order bride and swapping the links out with your latest infographic post. Ignoring the angry comments from the lonely dudes with the teeny weenies because you got that precious, precious click nectar.

It’s a bad road to go down. So I stay away from that rabbit hole.

  1. What’s been the best thing about your blogging journey?

It gets a lot of the crazy out of my head, which in turn clears up space for new, improved crazy to take up residence.

  1. We all know you’re a frank and sarcastic blogger, but if you could do it all again, would you choose a different style? Why/why not?

I once had a boss who requested a chat with me, some sort of work performance annual assessment. He started off by saying “let me be Frank”. No. Let me stop you right there. The position is taken. There can only be one. I had no choice but to enter into a battle to the death to cement my position, eventually climbing atop the photocopier with his still bloody scalp in my hands, raising it above my head to show all my colleagues my grisly trophy and to swiftly put an end to any mangled ideas about who the true Frank is.

I shall always be Frank. There is no turning back.

  1. A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money, but we all know it’s not that easy. What advice would you give new bloggers? 

I’m glad you asked me this, coz I know all about making money. Frankly, I’m sitting here in my gold castle eating diamonds wondering where I’m going to store all this extra cash. The bank just doesn’t have the room in its vaults, you see. It’s quite the problem.

Look, I make money from my job. That pays my bills. My blog is more… therapy. I used to make a bit of money from it, but it didn’t make me happy. So the blog is now just there for my happiness.

I would say to people who do want to make their blog their career that they need to spend a good chunk of time pandering to their audience and building a really, really big audience. Brands are paying you for access to your audience. Maybe it’s not worth taking every £100 offer that comes along if the resulting post isn’t gaining you any new readers. If the resulting post is just a big ad that turns readers off, then really consider if that hundred pounds is worth it. If you need to pay your rent, hey you do what you gotta do. But if you’re thinking long-term then grow your audience first.

  1. And finally, we want to share the love, so who would you like to see us interview in the next newsletter?

Connie from Connie Consumes. She talks a lot. It’s usually quite sensible and entertaining.

 

If you’ve not died from laughter and still fancy a chat with Frankie, hit her up on Twitter now!

The benefits of your Instagram Business account

The benefits of your Instagram Business account

By now, Instagram Stories is a constant in most influencer’s daily routine, and why shouldn’t it be? All the perks of SnapChat with a ready-made audience, and the opportunity to still have a curated non-instant grid while you still instantly share your day? What a winning combo we have there! Even I – the confessed Social Media Noob, is on the Insta Stories bandwagon, finding the engagement on my grid pictures goes through the roof when I do add to my Story, as well as loving being able to see those old school friends and exes peeping on my life like they think I can’t see them. I SEE THEM. Whatever the reason for your Stories use (and Jasmin has written a great post on things you should know about the function), there’s a hidden gem lurking in your Instagram Business account that it sounds like more than a few members of the community aren’t aware of – the See More function when it comes to your Stories’ analytics data.

You can actually retain and revisit the data from your 24hour footage for up to 14 days with a Business Account once the feature is activate, which is 13 more days than those without the business profile, and will absolutely help you when it comes to feeding back to brands and agencies that you’ve worked with if a Story has been part of your agreement. And even if not, this sort of info is an incredible added value that you can offer the brand – and why shouldn’t you! It’s evidence of a successful campaign, of incredible engagement, of brand awareness, and you should be excited to share that info just as you would any page views or comments your blog post received, or how many times your Tweet was engaged with.

The thing about Instagram Stories is that no-one but you has the access to that data (yet), as Instagram hasn’t opened up the API for reporting tools. So while we can see your likes and comments on your grid, we – as brands and agencies go, can’t see what engagement you’ve had on your stories. If you don’t already know how to find the information, here are some simple steps:

  1. go to your profile
  2. click on the Analytics icon
  3. scroll down to your Stories’ Insights
  4. click See More

From there, you have the option to look through a host of things like engagement (how many people watched), reach (the potential views from your following), skip forward and back (to rewatch), and exits, as well as the option to filter by 24 hours, 7 days, and 14 days. This is really useful information for brands, so if you don’t already offer it as part of your collaboration round-up, then have a think about it for the next one. The brand will appreciate the above-and-beyond information from you, and it will put you in good stead for future collaborations. So, what do you have to lose?!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Instagram Stories, and if you think this is in fact an added value, or if you think it’s a bit cheeky of brands to ask for it. And if you do, then why? We’d love to hear your side of it too.

Behind the Blog | Rhyme & Ribbons

Behind the Blog | Rhyme & Ribbons

Can you tell us a bit about yourself andyour blog? How did you first get into blogging?

I write Rhyme & Ribbons which is a lifestyle blog that covers all the things I love. Food, travel, fashion: the usual! With a dose of slow-living and a penchant for sustainability. I started blogging back in 2013. My husband is an actor/photographer and he had just become a company member at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, so we uprooted and moved out there. Being an expat, my friend group was already minuscule, so by leaving London it shrunk to almost none. So I started blogging to fill that friend void. (And it worked!)=

Youve had some fab opportunities through bloggingwhats been the best opportunity youve had so far?

My biggest “pinch me” moment was when I went on an insanely amazing press-trip to Spain with IceLolly. The other girls on the trip were lovely, the food was incredible and the opportunity floored me.

What do you think is the best servicea blogger can provide their audience?

The best service a blogger can provide is honesty, transparency, and their own voice.  It’s so refreshing to read about someone being themselves or just being genuine.

Do you have a full-time job as well? How do you find the time to run your blog so professionally?

I do have another main job. I wake up early every morning and schedule all my tweets, pinterest pins and plan my instagram posts before work. I try to do all my writing the weekend before and I schedule as much content in advance as possible. But to be brutally honest, I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and watched TV without also doing something blog related as well (replying to comments, reading other people’s posts, etc). Having a job that pays the bills and blogging takes a lot of time and a bit of sacrifice, but I’m passionate about blogging so I’m more than happy to dedicate that time to it.

How has your blog changed since you first started it, to now? What was your first post about?

Well my photography has gotten miles better, that’s for sure! I look back on some of those early posts and cringe massively. It took me a little while to find my stride and my voice. (I also used to not really proof-read and I wish I could go back in time and slap myself for that.) My first real post was a recipe for homemade pizza (including a killer homemade pizza crust) and that’s so perfectly in keeping with my beliefs and love for pizza.

 Do you have a favourite post that youve written? Does it differ from your most popular post?

My most viewed post ever is a recipe for a dark chocolate salted caramel oreo pie. What can I say? I’m a glutton but it turns out other people are as well. However, my personal favourite posts are less recipe and travel driven and instead focus on feelings and are more contemplative; something like my post on negative emotions or reflections on our wedding.

Whats been the best thing about your blogging journey?

It sounds so cliche, but the people that I’ve met. People I’ve met through blogging are such an important part of my life. Emma is always there for me (she even threw me a surprise hen-do). Lindsay was one of my bridesmaids in my wedding.  Frankie never fails to make my life and always goes to bat for me.

We all know youre a fantastic lifestyle blogger, but if you could do it all again, would you choose a different niche? Why/why not?

Absolutely not! I love my “niche” because it’s not really a niche at all. It gives me scope to write about whatever I am interested in that week. To be honest, I enjoy reading blogs that cover a wide variety of topics more so than ones that only cover one thing, but that’s just me!

A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money, but we all know it’s notthat easy. What advice would you give new bloggers? 

Just write what you are passionate about and don’t think about what will make you money. If you write what you love, opportunities will find their way to your organically.

And finally, we want to share the love, so who would you like to see us interview in the next newsletter?

I just adore Jaime from the Angloyankophile, Frankie from The Mayfairy or Alice from Wooden Window Sills.

 

Have something else to ask Amanda? Get in touch over on Twitter now!

Behind the blog | Adventures of a London Kiwi

Behind the blog | Adventures of a London Kiwi

  1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog? How did you first get into blogging?

I run Adventures of a London Kiwi; a travel, food and lifestyle blog that shares the quirky and lovely discoveries that I make around the world. I moved to the UK from New Zealand, and after a few years found myself falling out of love with my adopted home of London. Blogging was a result, and the rest, as they say, is history! Now I’m fairly sure I’ve seen more of this city than a lot of locals (including my husband!)

  1. What do you think is the best “service” a blogger can provide their audience?

Share their passion. There is nothing as wonderful to read/see something genuinely amazing or moments that make a blogger’s heart thump. It can be anything from an amazing coffee shop to sharing a sunrise with someone special – alongside practical and honest advice.

  1. Congratulations on launching your own freelance business! Can you tell us what made you take that leap?

I’ve been working in an office for nearly 10 years and running my blog as a part-time hobby for nearly 5 years. When I passed a milestone birthday and did a life evaluation, I realised that I had to act now to change the areas of my life that I didn’t enjoy. The logical step was to offer small businesses the benefit of my social media strategy knowledge – I can’t wait to see where the next year takes me!

  1. Now that you’re working for yourself, how do you find the time to run your blog so professionally?

It’s just making time in the evenings and weekends, much like when I was working in an office.

  1. How has your blog changed since you first started it, to now? What was your first post about?

It has changed from a straight journal (one where I even jotted down my daily exercise routines) to a far better written creative outlet that occasionally works with brands or as an invited guest. My first post was literally a ‘Hello World’ post back in 2012 – but everyone has to start somewhere!

  1. 6.Do you have a favourite post that you’ve written? Does it differ from your most popular post?

My personal favourite has to be either when I accidentally said no to my husband proposing, or the Ode To Toast that I wrote a few years ago – they are often the posts readers mention! My most popular posts are a double Butterbeer recipe and a post about road tripping in Scotland.

  1. What’s been the best thing about your blogging journey?

It’s a cliche so often used that it is almost an online trope, but the best thing about blogging has been the community that has developed. A more passionate, dedicated, self-starting community I think would be difficult to find. I also host a monthly travel link up with two good friends of mine (both met via the internet) which has developed a lovely network of bloggers around the world. We love new participants – the details are here.

  1. We all know you’re a fantastic travel blogger, but if you could do it all again, would you choose a different niche? Why/why not?

That’s very sweet – I don’t think I’m anyone really special, just slightly addicted. I wouldn’t change my niche – in fact, I probably don’t have an actual niche – I’ve always just wanted to share posts about topics that make my heart flutter.

  1. A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money, but we all know it’s notthat easy. What advice would you give new bloggers? 

Blogging takes dedication, and to build it up to a level that you can monetize it? This takes intense dedication and a very targeted strategy. Just enjoy the creative outlet.

  1. And finally, we want to share the love, so who would you like to see us interview in the next newsletter?

There are too many amazing people. I would love to see Amanda @ Rhyme and Ribbons, Amy @ Toothbrush Travels, Rebecca @ RunawayKiwi or Claire @ Country Mouse Claire – they are all incredible ladies with fantastic tales to tell. See what I mean about a fantastic community?

 

Have something else you’d like to ask Emma? Head over to Twitter now and say hey!

 

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