This blog of mine is pretty small. I mean it eats up a ton of my time, but my audience isn’t huge. (It’s perfect for me, but in the world of blogging my pageviews and visitor counts are quite low.) But I haven’t let that stop me from reaching out and asking for collaboration from brands and businesses. Pitching to brands can be scary – but it doesn’t have to be!
Often I am surprised by the enthusiasm of some local businesses that I’ve approached. There are even some companies I’ve worked with more than once!
Here are a few things I do when pitching to brands for reviews or other collaborative style posts:
Be authentic. Don’t play up your numbers if they aren’t that amazing. I lot of time I don’t even share my numbers – just that I have followers in such and such location that would enjoy this item/business/attraction. Quality is almost always more important than quantity. (And least I like to believe that!) Be real and honest, and don’t oversell yourself. If you end up not delivering their post to as many eyes as you said you could that could negatively impact your ability to work with that brand again. And we don’t want that!
Tell them why. When I pitch to a company I talk about why I want to work with them. For instance, I just landed a hotel stay in return for a post and/or mentions in other posts about our upcoming travel in the spring. (I’m still in talks with them, but it’s all sounding great!) I chose to pitch to big brands, but also local, smaller hotels because that’s what I love to support. Shopping local is important to me. I want to help my friends and neighbours – they are often in direct competition with companies with huge budgets and unlimited resources.
Keep it short. When I send an email, I try not to ramble on. My basic outline is a greeting and short piece about my blog, or being a blogger; then the pitch (I’d love to create a review of your hotel for free, or at a significant discount, in return for a post on my blog or any other collaborative ideas you may have.); any questions I have for them; then a closing (I look forward to working with you.) Pitching to brands doesn’t mean you need to lay everything on the table in that initial email. If they have questions, they’ll ask you. Sometimes I’ll include a link to my Work With Me page, and other times I forget. But there is always a link to my blog itself.
Play up what you love sharing and writing about. I love taking photos. I try to include a sentence somewhere about being excited to document our visit with my own photos. Because I’m a mom blogger I also make sure to talk about my girls really quickly in the pitch email. For the hotels I talk about how they love “exploring” new places, and that they LOVE staying in hotels. I always include their opinions in my reviews as well (if that’s applicable to the review, or course!) If it’s really your passion it’s easy to talk on and on about what you will offer them. Try not to overload things in that first email though!
Don’t give up. If a brand or company turns me down for this or that particular idea, I’ll try again later with another angle. Maybe wait until a slower season (for an attraction) or offer to go at a time of their choosing. When I pitched The Haunted Walk of Kingston, I suggested that we could come any night of the week. I know they are the most busy on weekend evenings, so we went on a Wednesday, if I’m remembering correctly. They liked my review and accepted when I asked the following summer to review their newer tour option, the Time Travel Trail Tour.
Pitching to brands can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Write to them like you write to your readers. Formal enough, but with some casual language, and your best ideas for working together. I can’t say I’m extremely successful with my pitches, but I get a lot more from brands and businesses approaching them directly than I ever do from influencer networks.
Something else to keep in mind is the size of the brand or company you’re pitching to. If you think they can afford to pay, go ahead and ask for payment for your review. Because I love supporting the smaller, local brands and businesses I don’t often ask for payment – especially when it’s something I’ve been wanting to do around town anyway! But I have been paid for blog posts that have organically happened between A Modern Mom’s Life and local brands.
Do what is comfortable for you, but don’t forget that sometimes writing posts, taking and editing photos, and just maintaining your blog space, all cost you – both time and money. Make sure you are getting your fair dues for your hard work!
I also ask the brands to share my reviews on their social media accounts. This increases my blog’s exposure, and gives them quality content to share, which is often a positive reflection of their brand. Almost always, the brands are happy to do this. It doesn’t cost them anything, but it will help you as a blogger.
Do you have any great tips to share for pitching to brands? Please share them in the comments! I know I would love to hear them, and I’m sure my other readers would too!