6 Things Bloggers Need to Avoid When Reaching Out to Brands

August 24, 2016


*Stock image is used by permission from Mara Burkes Creative. Feel free to Pin for a good read.

You have finished your pitch or social media kit to send to a brand or company and hit the send button of the e-mail only to realize that  you forgot to put your blog link and social media links. Or you did yada yada mistake in your e-mail pitch and then you wonder why the brand doesn’t contact you back. I have been there! I have made several mistakes that I want to share with you regarding reaching out to brands so you can avoid looking like a fool like I was.

Back in April I brought you the post “9 Things to Help Bloggers Reach Out to Brands” and from that article I got so many good responses. I had some bloggers tell me they had success with the brands they wanted to work with just because they put themselves out there. Or some stated they would get working on a social media kit. I am referring back to that post because while I can help you reach out to brands, I also want to share things to avoid as I have made countless mistakes that costed me a “no” on a collaboration or no response.

Below I will highlight 6 things to avoid when you reach out to a brand.


Make sure you know what the brand sells.

CHECK the site or store out thoroughly! Know what it is they sell and check their catalog or about me page out. I made the recent mistake of thinking I knew what a brand sold when I was TOTALLY WRONG.

You see the boutique and I had been commenting on each others Instagram’s and liking each other’s items  and while they are an upcoming well known shop I made the mistake of thinking they sold clothing. Alas I was wrong and they only sold jewelry.  When I sent that pitch stating 3 choices for how to collaborate with their clothing, you better believe they e-mailed back immediately and stated they wish they sold clothing but that they only sold jewelry and thanks for reaching out (with a smiley face).

That was a big BLOW on my part. I felt awful as we were forming an “engaging relationship” on Instagram, but because they often showed articles of clothing with their jewelry I assumed they sold clothing as their site had clothing layouts next to jewelry.

Needless to say our Instagram relationship slowed to a stop as well. I was very embarrassed and I am sure they were quite insulted.


Make sure you acknowledge the correct shop or contact in your pitch e-mail.

I normally come up with a list of 2-3 shops every other month that I would like to reach out to. One month I came up with a list of 3 shops that sold similar items, for example: free spirited accessories, clothing. I catered my pitch to be somewhat similar to each shop as of all three of them sold similar items and clothing. In my pitch e-mails I just replaced the names of the shops, owners names, and edited them here and there and then I clicked the send button.

In one of the e-mails I sent I forgot to change the shop name. For example that e-mail was addressed to Dear Flower Boutique, (insert pitch) but I actually sent it to Mountain Boutique. YEP! you bet I never heard back from them.


Have terms in place before reaching out:

A year ago I saw that several bloggers were collaborating with an ethical, fair trade accessories group and I was intrigued by the handbags and shoes this group made. I reached out and they agreed to collaborating. They agreed to send me photos of their products and they wanted so many links in the post and to offer one of my readers a giveaway for an item of choice. I agreed to this, but after thinking over night about it I didn’t feel I was going to benefit from posting photos, and a million links without a product to review. When I e-mailed them back stating I would prefer to review the quality of the items over just posting photos they e-mailed back stating they wished me the best and that I should follow them and reach out next year.

What did I learn from this? Have terms in place before reaching out. Let the brand know ahead of time what you will and won’t do in a post. Give the brand options. For example I will list 2-3 options  for the brand and how they can help with the post and most of the time they are accepting of my policies. If the brand isn’t willing to agree to your options ask them what they had in mind and negotiate. Which comes to the next point to avoid.


NEVER! EVER work for FREE!

I reached out to the famous SheIn (formerly SheInside) almost a year ago and they wanted me to post a wishlist. They told me if I got enough clicks (through a tracking code for the links in the wishlist) then they would let me get free clothing to review with more tracking code links. They were not willing to back out of a wishlist even when I told them I wouldn’t work for free. So I turned them down and didn’t work with them at all. BUT… I have known several bloggers that fell for the wishlist trap and they may or may not have gotten their free clothing.

Lots of China based online shops (Rosegal, Zaful, Dresslily) have approached me with the same “wishlist need” or I have reached out to a few that wanted the wishlist before products. No thank you! When I turn them down, it’s not but two days later I get another “Dear” e-mail from them. Again, no thank you…didn’t you get my last no?!?


Proofread your pitch.

Avoid sending a pitch that has typos or errors. This is your resume to a brand so look over your e-mail a few times to make sure a sentence is clear, word is typed right or that you have stated your point correctly. Again this goes back to making sure you have the right store name, contact name, links, etc.

I have sent e-mails where the opening sentence was “mom by day and fashion blogger by day” instead of “fashion blogger by night.” It’s the little things that can turn a brand off from your pitch or opening.


NEVER Lie in  your social media kit or pitch. Being truthful pays off and this is why?

While I have not lied in my social media kit or numbers I won’t say it was tempting to be misleading. What do I mean? Say you have one month where you had HIGHER numbers than normal. This was the case for me one month as I had a post go viral and my numbers skyrocketed, but just for that month. I was faced with the dilemma of posting only those figures in my social media kit as my “average” pageviews, etc, as I was sending a pitch out that month. However, I felt wrong about this and just reported the average, which is a few thousand lower than that one month.

Never appear to have more numbers or lie about your numbers because you think it will land you a great opportunity to collaborate with a bigger brand. The brand might want you to screenshot your google analytics or they may only get only a few unique clicks and wonder why. You never know what they might ask of you.

Be truthful and state what you have. Every blogger starts from zero and you don’t need the opportunity that bad. Just state what you have and leave it at that. Some brands have actually approached me and told me they normally don’t collaborate with bloggers with such low numbers but they saw that I had great engagement, comments, content and gave me a chance. These are US based boutiques too, not some China based company. In fact my greatest partnerships with boutiques have started this way. These are brands that only partner with 2 to 3 bloggers at a time but continue to collaborate with the blogger on a month by month status. I have been fortunate to work with a few boutiques this way, not by big numbers, but because of the passion and engagement they saw in what I do.

I hope you enjoyed the 6 points above to avoid when reaching out to brands.

Let me know in the comments below what things you have done that you now know to avoid when reaching out to brands. 

Did you like this article? Check out the below articles as well for more good information on blogging:

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Testimony: “Before reading Rachel’s post, I had started to monetize my blog but had only really seen free products (some of which were really nice, but I wanted actual money). Rachel’s advice gave me a place to start, and I quickly landed several cash sponsored posts through Social Fabric, which was one of the websites she recommended. I knew my blog had what it took to monetize, I just didn’t know where was the best place to start.”

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Testimony: “Great post Rachel! I have to admit that I was way too shy and felt uncomfortable at the idea of reaching out to brands, but decided to give it a go not long after reading your post about blogging income and some of the ways you go about it {as well as Krista’s (coveringbases) post about connecting with brands to collaborate}.I put together a media kit, sent out emails to a dozen or so brands and was shocked to actually hear back from most of them. You’re doing a great job of encouraging your blogging community (:”

-From Nicole of What Nicole Wore a life and style blog


How to Host a Successful Blogger link up: Tips & Ideas

Have you signed up for your FREE Social Media Kit template & Worksheets with tips? You can do so here.

Want to see a topic covered here, let me know by e-mailing me at rachel.garay@me.com or via a comment below. Thank you!

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  • Nancy August 24, 2016 at 2:11 am

    That s helpfull! I have to Read youre previous post. There are also a lot of Brands that just want to go up in the Google rank and want you to write ,,do follow,, posts! Don t!!!

  • Leah August 24, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Such great tips! I am totally with you on them, especially about not working for free!!

    xx Leah / http://www.eatpraywearlove.com

  • Shelbee on the Edge August 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Really great tips, Rachel! I only just sent my very first email reaching out to a brand and I was so careful in drafting the email. Then I had my sister read it before I hit send. I am still waiting to hear from them though. Fingers crossed!


  • Becky @ bybmg August 24, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Great tips, Rachel! I’m definitely learning a lot through this blogging journey!

  • Brooke August 24, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Great tips!! I agree with never working for free!

    pumps and push-ups

  • Roxanne August 24, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    These are great tips! I am still learning the ropes, so it is very helpful to read any tip you are willing to give! I need to get moving on a media kit! I pinned a bunch of your articles to come back to, for sure!

  • Andrea@WellnessNotes August 24, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Great tips! I think negotiating is often necessary, and often you’ll be able to agree to terms that work for both. And, yes, it’s so important to say no! At one point I said “yes” too often,and then almost stopped working with brands completely. I’m trying to get back to working with brands in a way that works for me and my blog.

  • Ashley August 25, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Great tips, lady! Definitely having terms set before you agree to a post is a lesson I’ve learned! Been there, done that!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • Stephanie August 25, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Great tips!. I had one of those companies email me and got the wrong blog in their email to me. Ouch. And I have gotten a lot of post for free kind of things. Recently was one about a wishlist about what to wear *insert destinations here* they wanted the post for free. For some of those you don’t get much in return but a head ache and then there was one where I didn’t mind writing a post because it was for something I felt right about doing.

  • Nicole August 25, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks for linking up to Top of the World Style

  • Sarah @ Bows & Clothes August 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Rachel, I have been thinking about reaching out to brands, so this post could not be more timely! Thank you for being so transparent and admitting your errors. This post is SO helpful!

    Thanks for linking up at Grace + Lace!