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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?