Working with brands is a brilliant way to monetize your blog, whilst generating new readers, gaining market credibility and increasing your marketing success.
As a result, creating powerful brand partnerships is (unsurprisingly) the holy grail of the blogosphere.
But here’s the thing: it requires a bit of work.
And unless you’re super lucky, you’re going to have to put in the bulk of effort yourself.
Rest assured, there is good news… it isn’t difficult.
In fact, with the right approach and attitude, it can even be pretty easy.
I will guide you through the things you should have in place and considerations before making the “big pitch”, tips on how to structure your approach to convince them you’re the best option on the market and ways to secure a lasting relationship.
Ready? Let’s begin!
Tip #1: Build Your Brand & Reputation
Unfortunately, not every blog in the world is in a position to partner up with high end brands. Competition is high, and more often than not, brands are limited in the amount of bloggers they can work with.
Build Highly-Engaged Followers
You’ll be happy to hear it isn’t all about having millions of followers. Far from it.
Brands are far more interested in the quality of your followers over the quantity. That means a loyal readership, engaged comments on your posts and authentic communication over social media. Your relationship with your readers is invaluable to brands, so start off by really building that rather than simply trying to boost numbers.
Create A Strong Presence Online
They will also want to see a strong and consistent presence over social media: one of the most effective forms of advertising, it’s crucial that you are majorly on top of it. Again – quality over quantity reigns supreme!
Tip #2: Create An Attractive Media Kit
A media kit is integral in giving brands a quick and easy snapshot of what you and your blog is about. There are a few things I highly recommend you including in this:
- An introduction about yourself: give them an insight into your personality, why you blog and what is important to you. Let them get to know the face behind your brand. They need to WANT to work with you as a person!
- About your blog: Is it a travel blog? Fashion? Lifestyle? Define what your blog is about and whether you have a specific calendar of regular posts that they could tie in with.
- Blog stats: Here you want to include monthly page views, monthly unique visitors, how often you post, and social media stats. You can also include all time page views, average time on site and bounce rates if you see fit.
- Your accomplishments: Much like a CV, list any accomplishments you are particularly proud of. This could be events you have covered, awards you have won or features you have written elsewhere. If you have already worked with brands, also list these. Maybe even have a section of its own for this with all the brand logos and a snippet of the work you carried out with them.
If this is all in place and raring to go, you now need to consider whether your blog is the right fit for the brands you want to work with. This is important, and could save you a lot of time.
Ask yourself: is your blog relevant to their marketing needs? Do you have the same audience demographic? Do you fit their focus? Can you offer them something unique to other bloggers; a special insight on their products or personal experience relating to them?
If the answer to these questions is YES… well, you’re ready to pitch!
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Tip #3: Craft an effective pitch email
Here’s the scary bit – actually connecting with the brand!
I know… it’s scary selling yourself. But the number 1 rule here is believing you can do it and having the confidence in what YOU can offer THEM.
So let’s start off specific with the things you need to include in your pitch email:
- A clear subject line: your email title needs to be snappy and too the point. Give them the information they need so they know exactly what to expect from your email. It needs to be professional but enticing. Brands get countless emails per day asking for collaboration, so make their life a little easier by being transparent.
- An introduction: Tell them about yourself and what your blog is about (including your audience demographic and reach), as well as what you are looking for out of a collaboration. Don’t forget to include what you love about their brand and why you want to work with them… try to keep this as unique as possible.
- Benefits of working with you: Now you can go into even more detail. Let them know what they will gain as a company from the partnership. You can include examples of previous successful partnerships or collaborations you have taken part in to give an idea of how it could also work for them.
- How you plan to market their product: Be specific! This will require a bit of background research and prior thought… and is precisely why every email you send needs to be tailored to that brand. Give them some actual examples of what you could do for their brand, giving as many details as possible so that they don’t have to come back with further questions.
- What type of advertising will you provide: This goes hand in hand with point 4. Let them now precisely how you will advertise your post, including individual stats of all social media channels you plan to share it on.
- Contact info and media kit: These two are a given. Be sure to include all relevant details for them to contact you on as well as your media kit in an attachment.
- THANK YOU: Because it’s nice to be polite, right?
When crafting your pitch, there are also a few points you should keep in mind throughout:
- Be short and sweet. Respect their time and get to the point quickly.
- Show your personality. Be fun with your email and, above all, personable!
- Let them know what they can expect from you, and what you would expect from them. Remember, in pitches you set the initial boundaries. Be clear about what you want out of the partnership, and tell them exactly what you will be giving in return. That means your plan, your expected outcome and also any anticipated resources or expenses to consider
- Be prepared to negotiate. Even though you essentially set the price, be prepared to negotiate on it. Just have in mind the minimum you are prepared to work for, and do not go below that. Sometimes it’s okay to say no.
- Have a predefined idea of the brands you want to work with. Every email will need to be tailored directly for that brand. People can smell a blanket email a mile off!
Above all, show confidence and knowledge throughout all confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself, neither will the brand.
Tip #4: Building a long lasting relationship
So you’ve secured a collaboration – excellent! Now you want to turn that into a long lasting partnership. There are a few things you can do to help make this a reality, many simply based around a good workmanship.
First of all, stay engaged with the brand. Throughout the project, keep in touch every now and again to ensure they stay in the loop about your progress. Be an active communicator. Any positive feedback along the way should also be sent to them as soon as it comes in.
Next: Over deliver! Stick with what you have promised them and then go above and beyond. Show them how dedicated you are to providing the best work possible.
That could be through the simple inclusion of personally designed graphics, professional looking photography or an increased social media promotion.
And remember… BE. ON. TIME! There is nothing more unattractive to a brand than tardiness!
You also need to be sure to record all results of the project. Present it to them in a report once it is over to show them the success. Put time and effort into this and illustrate all your points in a clear and attractive manner.
Following feedback from the report, you should consider how exactly this project could move into a partnership.
Create a presentation on ways you could both move forward together and, shortly after your initial collaboration, get back in touch with your suggestions.
You want to wait long enough as to not overwhelm them but not so far along that you will no longer be fresh in their mind. A couple of weeks is a good point to aim for.
And remember: building strong relationships such as this can take time. Do not be deterred and never put all your eggs in one basket. Be prepared to reach out to many different potentials before you get a bite. It will be so very worth it.