Many bloggers are eager to work with brands but aren’t sure how to go about it. Your approach can make all the difference, so understanding the best way to reach out is so important. I laid out what I personally think is the best way to approach brands you want to work with. But remember, this industry is still so new and there really are no rules! So go with your gut. In the meantime, hopefully these tips will help!
When to start approaching brands.
You really can start approaching brands as early as you want. What you ask of them will depend on the size of your audience. If you’re just getting started, you can email brands about doing a product swap where you’ll post in exchange for product. As you grow, you can start asking for compensation. While there is no exact number of followers every brand is looking for, I’d say try and get to at least 5K monthly pageviews and 10K total social followers before expecting to receive monetary compensation.
If your following is still small or you’re just getting started, I think it’s never too early to start making those brand connections. Larger brands may not have the bandwidth to work with you, so consider smaller, local brands instead. I highly recommend starting early so that you have examples of branded content to show potential clients later on. Plus, it’s great practice!
Understand the brand’s perspective.
It’s important to understand how the campaign process typically works, from the brand’s perspective. Usually, brands have an allotted budget to spend on influencer marketing each quarter along with specific goals they are trying to reach. They may be focused on selling a specific product line or simply getting more eyes on the brand. They may only work with ad agencies or influencer networks to partner with bloggers as well. This is often the case for larger brands.
This means that it’s rare for a brand to partner with bloggers on a one-off basis. They often like to work with agencies who can manage a campaign of 20+ bloggers at a time. There are, of course, exceptions, but it’s good to know that one-off partnerships are not the norm. Knowing all of this can help give you some context when reaching out.
Your attitude makes all the difference.
I think the biggest mistake bloggers make when reaching out to brands is assuming the brand will need to convince the blogger to work with them. Actually, it’s the other way around. Think of the brand as your potential client. You want to impress them and convince them to spend money on you. Don’t act like you’re “above” them in any way or expect them to know who you are. They’re the ones with the money so they have the power! Be appreciative of their time and hard work.
At the same time, don’t beg for a partnership. Stay confident in your abilities and the brand you’ve built! Know that if it works out, then it’s a good fit. If it doesn’t, it’s nothing personal. If no partnership comes out of your email, that’s more a reflection on the budget the brand has to work with or following a protocol they have at their company. It’s not a reflection on you.
Make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.
Those working in marketing for brands have very tight schedules. So if you’re going to email them with a one-off idea, it’s going to have to be worth their while. Rather than shooting them an open-ended email with missing information, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes. Do the work for them, as I like to say.
– Keep it organized. Opening up a super long email with long paragraphs can be daunting. Break it down into sections and make it easy to read.
– Provide links within your email so they can easily check out your site & social channels.
– Offer specific ideas! Don’t leave things open-ended. Assume they’re too busy to come up with ideas on their own.
What to include in your email:
Here are the main things a brand will want to know before deciding whether to work with you. This is more for bloggers with large enough followings to charge for their work, but smaller bloggers can benefit from this as well:
– The name of your blog and a quick description of what it’s about.
– Your following, specifically the number of monthly pageviews & unique visitors your blog receives as well as your social following. I’d attach a media kit with a more in-depth look at your brand & following.
– Why you’re interested in working with their brand specifically & possibly examples of content where you’ve featured their brand in the past (so they know it’s an authentic fit).
– A specific idea (or ideas) of how you’d like to work with them. This could be a sponsored blog post, a series, sponsored social posts, an event — whatever it is, be clear on your idea and offer specific content themes as well.
– In terms of budget, I typically wait until they reply back before sending my specific rates. Just make sure you use the word “sponsored” in your initial email to imply that you require compensation.
– If you have a larger, long-term idea, I’d suggest setting up a phone call so you can really pitch them and make a good impression. Or if they’re local, meet for coffee!
Any other questions about reaching out to brands??
Photography by Tait Campbell