*Stock image is used by permission from Mara Burkes Creative. Feel free to Pin for a good read.
Are you a beginning blogger and interested in how to review products or get opportunities to collaborate with brands but don’t know how to reach out?
Have you been blogging for months and or years and haven’t received opportunities to try out products or partake in sponsored paid posts?
Or have you collaborated with brands here and there as they reach out to you but you want to make your presence better known to receive more opportunities?
If you said yes to at least one of these questions then this post is for you as I am going to tell you my beginnings and share with you how collaborations started happening with me and some strategies that I have tried that I have found either successful or at least a start to putting my foot in the door. Read on though to find out more and for a freebie at the end.
***Before I tell you how I do reach out to brands I want to let you know that I am not an expert and that the way I do something may not be done by someone else the exact way. In fact I almost didn’t publish this post as I haven’t been active in sharing my media kit and reaching out to brands for several months but some of the tips I am sharing have helped me gain sponsored posts (paid) or could continue to help me in the near future. The tips I am revealing below do not guarantee success all the time but should be read as guidelines or inspiration to how to better reach out.
Stay tuned to the end to receive your free social media kit template and worksheets with tips (6 pages worth of goodness delivered to your inbox).
How it began:
Many many moons ago as I began blogging (ok like 2 years ago) I started this blog with the intent of sharing some of my treasures in life such as my children, my love of God and Michael Kors and did so for quite some time. Then I started noticing and following other bloggers and entered my first giveaway and won it. When the brand reached out to me about my prize I dared ask the gentleman if I could receive a product to review as well. The man e-mailed me back and asked for my blog following and numbers. As a new blogger I didn’t know what he meant but I caught on and sent him what he wanted and this included my Facebook page and bloglovin social media numbers. His response was “we don’t usually collaborate with such low numbers but we will give you a try and will send you a product as well as allow you a chance to host a giveaway yourself.” My eyes brightened in amazement. I had hardly any followers on the blog or social medias (heck I didn’t even have a blog Instagram, Twitter and heck I didn’t know what Pinterest was) but they were willing to collaborate because I asked.
After that review and giveaway more companies started pouring in with requests to have their products reviewed and or company covered through sponsored paid posts. (I will admit that I didn’t accept every opportunity and I can cover that in a different post as there are a lot of bogus sh-mogus brands out there that will try to rob bloggers of their time and blog for free or little advertisement, but like I said that is all meant to be covered in another post soon, so stay tuned).
While it is nice to have companies reach out , sometimes there are times when I admire brands I see other bloggers review or partner with and I have often wondered how to do the same. The hard truth is probably not every blogger is going to get the same opportunities as others, I mean hello you can’t expect to collaborate with Chanel or be sent to huge paid events or some other big name brands right away although I am not saying it won’t eventually happen. It can take years of practicing and learning to collaborate and reach out and grow your presence as every blogger starts from 0 (that’s a ZERO).
I have come to believe that sometimes you have to be the one to ask (like I stated I did for my first collaboration) however there are ways to do so to ensure some success, if not right away then eventually. After all this is the beginning of making your presence known to a brand in the first place.
Below are some strategies that have worked for me when I reach out to brands or ways to even reach the brand to make contact and I will highlight some mistakes I have made as well.
Let’s get started:
Does your blog have a mission statement and niche?-
My blog would definitely be considered a fashion and lifestyle (or mommy) blog and this is my niche. While I do enjoy sharing posts (like the one on blogging tips) or the occasional faith or recipe, I find my readers are mostly fashion orientated and look to how to remix a piece or perhaps are just nosy to see what is going on, but you get the picture. My mission can be found here.
What brands do you want to work with and do they line up with your mission statement and niche?-
Does the brands mission statement or products go well with your niche or mission statement? Would you want to work with a skanky clothing shop when your blog is about modesty? Is the brand about junk food, when yours is all about whole foods? I mean this is a no brainer but you would be surprised the amount of bloggers that want to collaborate just for the sake of collaborating to get free stuff. To avoid this create a list of brands you would like to reach out to and get to work finding out how to contact them. Go to the shops website and learn more about their mission statement and more on their products.
Reach out via e-mail or call:
Once you have found a brand that has met your niche or mission statement now find their store number or e-mail or visit them in person and sell yourself (more on this below). Try to find out the name of the person you need to contact before saying or sending your pitch to a random person or e-mail. This ensures that your message may get read by the right person coordinating community outreaches or collaborations.
Reach out to other bloggers who collaborated with the brand you want to work with. For me this is probably where I get a lot of brand information from. I have a handful of bloggers I have e-mailed or Facebooked and asked “hey, I noticed you worked with so and so and I was wondering if you could share with me your person of contact so I can e-mail them?” and often times the blogger is happy to do so and even suggest you to their person of contact if they know you and your blog well and think it’s a good fit. This is also a good way to collaborate with other bloggers and give them your contacts as brands are seeking other bloggers to work with. Share the LOVE you all!
Send a good pitch and sell yourself!
When you reach out to a brand or company DO NOT just ask for free stuff. I learned this the hard way and ruined a few relationships with brands that were considering me. While we do like to receive products to review be genuine about it and show WHY you should receive their products. For me this could be showing them how I styled a piece from their shop before on the blog and want to mention them again to how you will use their product. Send in several example pitches and what I have found the most successful lately with my paid posts and product posts is giving an outline of how I want to mention their brand or product (keeping it fashion orientated or the likes of what is on my blog) and include an example title. Giving a title and outline for what the post would be about has been a BIG drive lately towards success.
Social Media Kit:
Have a nice visual social media kit ready to send out as needed or send it out in the e-mail, either by a link or attachment. Make sure the social media kit has your stats (from Google Analytics, or other statistical tool you use), social media numbers, your mission, a picture of you is nice to ways you are willing to collaborate. Below is an example of one of my social media kits I send out (I left out my Google Analytics stats as this changes and I am not sure I want the world to know what these are). Oh by the way you can get your free social media kit template and more by subscribing here.
Share some links and pictures:
Send some links that are similar to your pitch outline or as examples of the kind of post you intend to create with their product. Also share some links to posts you did that you are proud of. The above is also true with photos. Send in around 2 of your best high-end quality photos in an e-mail or portfolio of you with a similar product. For me this would include sending in pictures I like of me in a dress if sending it to a company that specializes in skirts or dresses.
Leave your mark:
End the e-mail with giving your blog link(s), social media links and a “Thanks for your time in checking out my blog, and for reading this e-mail.” Or hand out your business card if meeting with someone from a company. Thank them for their time in meeting or chatting with you.
If you don’t hear from the brand within a few weeks contact them via phone call or e-mail and let them know of your interest. Now this can go many ways. They can either not respond, respond that they don’t have the budget at the moment but would love to work with you at a later time, let you know you are in and they want to start right away. While we would all love to get the third answer back it is not always the case but don’t give up. There were countless times I reached out to a brand to not hear anything back to then get collaborations with them months later. Keep trying or move on.
Now for a bonus:
I want you to be able to learn from the perspective of a business owner/former blogger on how to reach out to brands. I want to introduce you to Rhea, an online skirt and dress owner of Skirtista (online boutique) and former blogger of Rhea Et Cetera and link up host of Style to Inspire. Take it away Rhea:
Hi! My name is Rhea of Skirtista.com, a skirt and dresses online start up boutique. Being a blogger and now a boutique owner, I was in both ends of the spectrum of sponsorship — I have experience in seeking out sponsorship as a blogger, being reached out to as a blogger, and now seeking and being reached out to as a boutique owner. With this background, I’d like to share two important tips on a successful partnership with a brand:
1. Work with brands you are truly interested in and believe in their product. I believe this is the most important of all because your writing will reflect genuinely your interest and in turn makes for an awesome post for your blog, and an awesome write up for the brand.
2. When pitching to a brand to propose a partnership, I highly suggest to not start out with your rates and request. If you are the one approaching a brand, a brand will more likely to work with you if you explain first why you want to work with them and what you can offer them. Even if you have a smaller following, a brand may still likely to work with you if they see your genuine interest in their product, and if your writing reflects “you” and not just a collection of ads and promos.
I hope this helps — best of luck in your future sponsorship!
Thank you Rhea for your input.
FREEBIE for YOU:
For the final step I want to offer you my free social media kit template to follow or use, along with some worksheets on what to write in an e-mail to a brand and record keeping of your initial reach to follow up and the brands responses. All you have to do is subscribe for my e-mail to receive these. Enjoy!
Let me know what has worked for you, what do you do to reach out to brands?
Want more Blogging tips then read my links below for extra inspiration or Pin on Pinterest for later:
Have you signed up for your FREE Social Media Kit template & Worksheets with tips? You can do so here.