Brands are essential part of a bloggers success. I decided to do this post especially for new and already established bloggers who still are not sure of how to monetize their blog and pitch to brands to get work or sponsored post on their blog. I get asked a lot how I happen to team up with some of the incredible fashion and beauty brands I’ve been lucky enough to work with . The truth is that, I get approached by brands most of the times and other times I just ask. ‘’They say when the mountain doesn’t come to you, you go to the mountain’’
Sometimes a brand that is a good fit for my blog approaches me with great ideas; sometimes I make them a counter-offer, and suggest other ideas to them. The most important thing to remember is that this is your work and your blog; You know your readers and fans better that any brand, so this is your strong selling point. Don’t be afraid to sell yourself because no one will do it for you.
There was a collaboration I did for a certain brand (I do not wish to mention names). I was invited to their head office by the head of their PR. On getting there I met, the marketing person, SEO guru, and the head of PR waiting for me. I initially didn’t know that it will be a full room of key staffs of the company. But thank goodness, that I was prepared. I can 100 percent say that at the end of the casual chat, I blew them away. Contracts were signed immediately too. Best most of all I exceeded my expectations for that job .
Whatever you do, put a price, or some form of compensation on it. It can be gifting, or financial compensation, but let there be a price on what you offer. From your own end, be sure to give 110% to the job. Make sure you give your best up to the extent that the brands will want to work with you again. Every brand is different and would require something different from you as a blogger, but if you are just starting out these are some of my pointers for getting your pitch to brands/PR right.
This is an obvious point to start on but such an important one. No matter how well-crafted your pitch is, it will get nowhere if you send it to the wrong brand. When I say wrong brand, I mean brands that do not have a natural fit or flow to your blog. Find the right brand to speak to based on what you have in mind for the pitch. In terms of finding a brand, some of the best ways are via social media sites such as twitter, and Instagram. Follow them, don’t stalk them. Also, attending networking events and bloggers event can help meet some key decision makers of top brands.
Who Are You?
If sending a pitch via email to a person you haven’t previously met, start with a very concise explanation of who you are and who your audience are made up of. Tell them what you normally write about and include links to examples.
Media Kit and Google Analytics
I cannot over emphasis enough how important this is. If you do not have a media kit already, you first need to do that. Search for media kit samples on google to get an idea of how to write yours. Also register with google analytics. This will enable you check and monitor you blog traffic, visitor’s location, gender, etc. Include some top-line, eye-catching stats to give a sense of your audience (be bold to show off your best assets).
What can you offer the brand?
Make it very clear what you are offering the brand and be as specific as you can. When talking about blog coverage include the number of words, show them where the post will sit on the site, state how long it will be on the home page and include details of anything extra you are willing to offer, i.e. live social media coverage, images or copy for their own website, an inclusion on your newsletter if you have any, social media post, etc.
You know how your audience likes to receive content and the best way you operate so make it clear how you work and how you see the collaboration between yourself and the brand working best. Try to set a minimum expectation so that you can later exceed it.
Your terms and compensation
Once you’ve laid out your side of the bargain it’s time to explain what you are looking for in return. It is so surprising the number of bloggers that listens to all what a brand wants and never get to say what they want in return. Brands will respect you even more if you are not afraid to say this. Remember that blogging for some people is a full time job, there are bills to be paid and website to be maintained. Even if blogging is not your full time job, you will still need to do this. At this stage you may not want to be too specific (the best campaigns I have worked on have been borne out of an open two-way conversation between myself and the brand. I believe you should lay some foundations at this point. Ask for support that is proportionate to the coverage you have laid out above and see where the conversation goes from there.
Once you come to an agreement, perform exactly what you have promised (go over and above if you can) and you’ll never have to pitch to that brand again. So much of blogger/brands collaborations are about good relations and doing a good job means they may work with you again and potentially send other people your way too. Then once you’ve done an awesome job, don’t forget to follow up. Always send the PR company a link to your coverage plus any other stats previously agreed. I also tend to include screenshots of any relevant engagement I think they should see and give them feedback on the experience, if helpful. Also speak with them about future projects and how their campaign can be improved in the future based on the current outcome.
When it comes to working with brands (also called collaboration), things don’t always go to plan. Everyone has their own ways of working but it’s worth asking yourself what you will do if for whatever reason, you can’t or don’t want to produce the coverage that’s been discussed.
In the first instance I believe you can minimize the risk of being in a tricky situation by only pitching or accepting opportunities you would usually write about. Being your honest, consistent self is most likely what attracted readers to your site in the first place. Don’t alienate them by suddenly writing about luxury fashion if you have always been a budget fashion blogger, the readers will see through it. Similarly, if a brand suggests you do a post that you have no interest in, be honest with them. It doesn’t benefit anyone if you write half-heartedly about a topic neither you nor your readers have any interest in.
Finally, if there are issues, resolve them amicably with the brand and come to some sort of co promise. If the situation can’t be resolved, then you can discuss between yourselves the best course of action;
Have you worked with brands/PR companies before? What are your experiences?