Hello you lovely lot,
Today I want to talk to you about a topic I’ve been meaning to write about for quite some time and that’s the all-important pitching to PRs/brands.
It’s no wonder that in light of recent, high-profile events (I’m thinking Elle Darby and a certain godforsaken hotel) you may find yourselves completely and utterly put off the idea of pitching to brands, EVER.
Sadly, the small minority of unprofessional businesses have seemed to find it funny/PR worthy to “out” bloggers for sending them, in most cases, entirely polite emails asking if they’d be open to collaborating
What you have to remember is that these really are that – the minority. And that sitting at home waiting for a magic email to land in your inbox is about as productive as watching paint dry.
So… where to begin?
I often get people asking me if I email companies first or if I get them emailing me. The answer has always been a mixture of both. And in this ever saturated market that is the blogging industry, I think it’s even more important than ever to make the first move and simply ask for what you want.
I firmly believe that asking for what you want in this life is evvvverything.
After all, you’ll be absolutely no worse off – on the contrary, you could find yourselves working with the brands you have always hoped and dreamed of.
So, I’ve collated this guide below to help you guys out with all manner of things when it comes to pitching to brands. Enjoy!
Be open, honest and polite
There’s no point going in all guns blazing and asking the world from people who have never seen nor heard of you. You need to pitch yourself in a way that makes working with you seem a good idea and of benefit to them.
Being open, honest and polite at all times are integral to establishing good working relationships with people.
Below, I have copied and pasted an example of an email that got me a successful collaboration with the brand in question.
I wanted to get in touch as I came across your beautiful jewellery brand in Harrogate a couple of weekends ago and later in Leeds just last week. I could honestly buy the contents of each shop, I have never before found a jewellery brand which is so very “me”!
I bought a few bits from you on my visits but I wanted to get in touch to see if you might be interested in developing on that further and perhaps working together on a collaboration post for my blog www.hannahfrancesmccreesh.com
I have ran my lifestyle blog for just over three years now and have a collective following of 15k. I would love to do a post that showcases my favourite items from yourselves and also introduces my followers to the brand.
Being a Yorkshire girl myself I would love to spread the word to my followers – I can’t believe I’ve never come across you before!
Please feel free to take a look at my site, media kit (attached) and my Instagram account to see if you think we’d be a good fit to work together.
I couldn’t find any other email to contact you on other than this customer services one, so if you could be so kind as to forward this on if I’m in the wrong place that’d be very much appreciated.
Very best wishes,
Luckily, these guys had a great customer services team and sent my email on to their marketing department.
If you are unsure where to send your email from a brand’s website, try contacting them on Facebook or Instagram and ask which the best email is for a potential blogging collaboration.
Generally, I have found people to be very helpful with this.
2. Only pitch to brands you genuinely love
This sounds like an obvious point, but it’s so important.
In the same way that we bloggers find it irritating when we get emails from brands or PRs who have clearly never even looked at our blogs, the same applies for brands.
Brands can spot a fake from a mile off and they aren’t going to give you the time of day if you clearly know nothing about the brand or just send them a clearly generic email that doesn’t go into much depth.
Or worse, if you don’t even follow them on Instagram! This has genuinely happened to me with Festival Queens before and my blogger friend Helen who owns Jungle Club clothing.
But again, be honest. Don’t lie saying you’re their all-time biggest fan when a quick search of their database and they’ll be able to see that you’ve never placed an order with them before. It’s all about striking the right balance.
3. Be careful around your expectations
I absolutely believe in the value of blogging and how it is a lucrative career option now. But I also think you have to be incredibly careful about emailing people out of the blue and demanding they pay you – at least straight away, anyway. It comes across as a bit cheeky when you’re the one initiating the conversation.
It’s a bit of a grey area and one I’ve yet to have to tackle myself, as when I have pitched to brands I have gone in with the wish of receiving products in exchange for my time.
I think once you are a few emails along in the collaboration process, the brand will probably ask you what you were thinking of in terms of a collaboration. Here you have the option to suggest payment if it’s possible, but phrase it in a way that should they deny your request, the collaboration is still open to work with.
Perhaps, what they are offering for product exchange isn’t worth the time and effort of writing, photographing and promoting an entire blog post – in this instance, consider asking you create a few high-quality images for Instagram instead.
Pitching to PRs is different – you can be open with them around payment expectations for sponsored posts as they are essentially acting as the middleman. Don’t be shy of mentioning it, they will most likely be expecting you to.
4. Expect to be ignored… a lot
I have honestly lost count of the amount of times I’ve been ignored by brands I’ve emailed about working together. Don’t get me wrong, it’s incredibly disheartening when you really love a brand and put a lot into an email hoping for at least a response. But sadly that’s life and you can’t take it too personally.
People are perhaps too busy, or you’re not quite the right fit for them, or they may not have any budget for sending items or paying influencers. It can be as black and white as you don’t have enough followers – but that’s okay.
Whatever the reason, understand that people will often opt for silence rather than just replying with the truth. Sadly that tends to be how things go in the business world, so try not to take it to heart.
A follow up email is okay just to ask if they’ve received your original email, but don’t be pushy. If you’ve been ignored twice, accept it and move on.
5. Alter your pitch if you are emailing PR agencies
If you are emailing PR agencies you need to have a slightly different approach.
A quick google search will bring up PR agencies in your area and approaching them is a great way to ensure you find yourself on the invite list of blogger events or at the forefront of their minds when clients come to them wanting to work with bloggers on collaborations or sponsored posts.
Here’s an example email I would send to a PR agency introducing myself:
EXAMPLE EMAIL TO PRs:
Hope you’re well!
My name’s Hannah and I run the lifestyle blog www.hannahfrancesmccreesh.com
I was keen to introduce myself and my blog in case I could be of use to any of your clients for events, collaborations or sponsored post opportunities either now, or in the future.
On my blog I cover a wide variety of topics including lifestyle, fashion, travel and health and fitness and I’m based in Sheffield.
I have attached my media kit to this email which has all my key stats on. I also pride myself on being a nice person to work with, as evidenced in the testimonials page of my blog.
It’d be great to hear back from you and thank you very much for your time.
6. Have your media kit/statistics ready
You need to be able to evidence what you can offer a brand or PR in a quick, easy to view way and media kits are great way of doing this.
7. Consider adding your blog details to a media database
For those of you that don’t know (I only do because ot my job) media databases are a (usually) paid service that PR agencies and brands use to find specific journalists and influencers – i.e the features editor of GQ magazine or parenting bloggers based in Sussex.
They are basically a massive database of every major newspaper, trade magazine, consumer magazine, blog etc in the UK with the contact details of the journalists or bloggers.
They are super useful for sending out press releases or event invites and help you to find people’s details really easily. For example, say a PR was hosting an event for a client in Sheffield and wanted to know all the local lifestyle newspaper/magazine writers and bloggers, they could simply do a keyword/location search for them.
I actually found out by accident that I was on Gorkana and Muckrack last year, purely because we were trialling them at work and the representative did a search for me, haha! And although I do get a LOT of spammy, annoying emails from PRs who have clearly never looked at my blog in their lives, they can be useful for getting brand opportunities and even invites.
These media databases have teams of researchers who constantly update the contacts in their so you may already be listed and not realise it.
To check, or to register your details type in “media databases” on Google and then look for the “contact us” sections of the website to drop them a line.
Some of them have specific pages where you can register your details, like Gorkana does here.
If you don’t want to be bombarded with emails all day every day, I would recommend only registering with one or two. As someone who works in PR and marketing, I can say that Gorkana is generally seen as the holy grail of media databases so is a good place to start.
So I really hope this has been useful. This list is 100% NOT exhaustive so if you have any tips or tricks I have missed, please feel free to pop them in the comments section below.
As always, thank you for reading,