Recently on Twitter, I put out a Google form survey asking bloggers to anonymously post the topics that they wish they knew more about. It’s still live if you fancy adding any topics yourself (*click here*). I’ll keep it open and try my best to create a handy post to answer your queries!
The very first answer that I got was “how to approach PR companies”, and I’m not surprised at all. It’s no secret that bloggers are keen to connect with brands and collaborate. Whether your incentive is money, samples or simply taking the “next step” as a blogger, there’s nothing wrong at all with wanting to approach a brand rather than waiting for it to happen the other way round.
So full disclaimer – I’m not an expert at this as I have only pitched a few times but have been successful and I highly recommend you do pitch to PRs/brands you’d like to work with.
HOWEVER, this guide is specifically for pitching to small/independent businesses as this is my only experience. Pitching to bigger brands may well require a very different approach!
So, how do bloggers approach a PR/brand to collaborate?
First and foremost, you need to decide a few things…
- Who do you want to approach?
- What value can you bring them?
- What value can they bring you?
How do you choose which PRs/brands to approach?
There’s no easy answer to this really because it’s up to you. You want to pick a brand that you would like to work with but will also be of interest to your readership. Don’t feel you should approach a brand because you’ve heard they give samples or pay well – if they don’t fit in with your readership and content, then what’s the point?
If you’re a beauty blogger you’re not going to be approaching a car insurance company, are you? You’re better off reaching out to independent beauty product and skincare suppliers. Your chances of success are much more likely when you stick to your niche and can pitch the collaboration well. More on that later.
What value can you as a blogger bring?
Even if your blog is still quite small, you can still bring value to a brand. You could be reaching out to a new audience that they haven’t been able to reach before.
When I sent my very first pitch email to Sass & Belle, they were a smaller independent brand that I was genuinely passionate about advertising – which I made clear to them. They sent me a host of great products as a result of that pitch email. My blog was smaller than it is now, and they are definitely more widespread than they were when I pitched to them.
My point here is that if you don’t have the biggest following, you’re probably not necessarily going to end up working with the big boys. Reach out to those smaller businesses, and you’re more likely to get a good result. You’ll also feel more satisfied if you’re supporting indie biz.
What value can the brand bring to you?
You don’t want to waste your time approaching PRs who aren’t going to support you. That support can come in the form of a product to review, money incentive or promise of exposure. If all they can bring you is exposure…then if you ask me, they aren’t right for you.
As I’ve suggested approaching smaller businesses (first of all, at least), you can’t expect the big bucks and loads of product. It’s not viable for a small business to do that. Manage your expectations, and find out up front what you can be offered. If you’re able to pitch well what you will do with the content you produce for them, it should be a no-brainer for them to support you.
The pitch email
So – onto the hard bit. What do you include in your pitch email?
“To whom this may concern”, or preferably to an individual if you can!
Then, your name, blog URL and a one sentence summary of your blog’s content e.g. “My name is [Name] and I have a [Genre of blog] blog [URL], where I write about/review [Relevant topic].
A brief pitch on what you would like to work with them on e.g. “I would love to collaborate with you on a sponsored post where I review a sample of your [Product] on my blog and promote it to my readership and social media followers on [List of your active platforms – don’t include those with a poor following or that you don’t use]”.
Add why you think this will be of benefit to the brand, and to you as well e.g. “I feel this would be of benefit to your business by helping to showcase your product to a new audience, and would also provide value to my readers as well”.
If you have one, include a previous example of a sponsored collab you’ve done e.g. “I have recently worked with [Brand] on a similar collaboration – you can read the post here if you would like an idea of what I can provide: [Link]”.
Share a few stats from Google Analytics if you like – this can be useful to even small brands. Read *this post* for useful stats to use e.g. “The demographic of my blog is [Gender, age range] which I feel would be a good fit for your target consumer. My blog receives [Number of sessions per month/year] and is growing month on month”.
You could also include a media kit if you have one, although this isn’t really a requirement for small brands e.g. “Please find attached my most up to date media kit which will give you more information about my blog and its audience”.
Next, if you have a rate and want to include it at this stage, go right ahead e.g. “My rate for a sponsored post with social media promotion across all platforms is [Rate]. This will include [Number of blog posts and number of social media updates].
The sign off
If you decide to go against announcing a rate at the initial touchpoint or you are just after a product to review as payment, go straight into the last part of the pitch e.g. “It would be really great to work with you, so if this is of interest please do not hesitate to let me know”.
Finish up your email with a nice friendly sign off e.g. “I look forward to hearing from you in due course, Best wishes [Name]”.
The follow up
A lot of the time, you’ll find a brand might not respond. Be sure to give them some time to do so before jumping in with a follow up email! I would recommend leaving between 3-7 days before sending a follow up, so as not to be too pushy.
Your follow up email should be short and simple…
I am just following up from my email sent on [date] to see whether you had the chance to read my collaboration idea, and whether it may be of interest to you. It would be great to work together if the opportunity is available.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course”.
And that’s it. Keep it succinct and to the point. Just be sure to reply to, or forward your original email so it’s part of the email chain. If you don’t hear a response after your follow up, I personally wouldn’t recommend chasing again. It’s time to move on!
So there we have it – my own little guide on approaching PRs/brands as a small blogger looking for exciting collabs!
Have you ever reached out to a PR? Do you agree with my advice? I’d love to know about your experiences!