Are you ready to pitch brands to work on sponsored content, but you don’t know where to start? All too often I get asked who to reach out to and what to say when I do.
Bloggers and influencers understand that they have the ability to get paid for their work but often they don’t know where to start.
Is this you as well? It was me for a long time until I finally figured out a process that works for how to pitch brands for sponsored content.
IE 26: How to Pitch Brands for Sponsored Content & Create the Life of Your Dreams
In today’s episode, I am doing a deep dive training all about how to pitch. This discussion will cover what your pitch should include, how to reach out to brands with your pitch, and where to find the information you need in order to pitch to a brand.
What Should My Pitch for Sponsored Content Consist Of?
It always surprises me how much bloggers falter when asked what it is we do. And that is the essence of your pitch for sponsored content: it is what you do.
- Doing a Brain Dump
- Three years ago, if you had asked me what I did, I would have stumbled over my words. I would have said I was a blogger, a food blogger to be exact; I was an influencer, a lifestyle blogger. I struggled with understanding where my place was and what it consisted of. I finally had to sit down and figure out what exactly it was I did and how to write up a pitch for that.
- The first thing I want you to do is a brain dump. If you aren’t familiar with doing a brain dump, it just means you write down everything on a piece of paper that’s floating around in your brain and you just get it all out there at once. After you get it all down, then go back and see which things keep popping up. Take those out and you will see what you are always talking about; what the similarities are in your blogging.
- Your brain dump should consist of everything you can think of that tells about you as a person, you as a business owner, and your site.
- When you work on this brain dump, don’t write it as it would have been 3 years ago or whenever you started your site. We change, our writing changes, our sites change. So write it as it is now.
- Talk About Your Real Life
- You need to also be sure you write about yourself as a person. You want people to be able to connect with who you are, and if you are pitching a certain brand, you want them to know why they should connect with you. Do you homeschool? Do you enjoy cooking or crafting on the side? Do you enjoy woodworking as a hobby?
- All of these things can influence brands to work with you but they won’t work if you don’t share them. Your audience doesn’t want to read your recipes, your crafts, or your teachings without knowing who you are. They want to know the real you, not just the Pinterest you.
- When you tell your audience about yourself, you make the switch from being just another blogger to being an influencer.
Why My Pitch Changes at Times for Sponsored Content
Once you get your pitch worked out, you need to also understand that it will change at times. I don’t give the same pitch to my neighbor in the seat next to me on an airplane that I do to a major brand. It is important to know when and how to change your pitch to fit the situation.
The reason your pitch changes is because in whatever situation you find yourself, whether it’s with a brand or an individual you meet, you have to show how your influence is important to that particular person/brand. This is the reason I mostly created simple recipes for families on my personal blog because that is where I was in my own personal journey at the time.
Because most of my audience is at that same point in their journey, it’s easy for a food brand to see why they would want to work with me. But what if I am talking to a cleaning brand or a parenting brand? How does my pitch change? It becomes more focused on me being a busy mom of 2 kids, or a former teacher.
You pitch the piece of you that’s going to make you stand out to the brand you are pitching to.
Your Basic Elevator Pitch for Sponsored Content
I’ll bet you’ve heard the term “elevator pitch” before, but if you don’t know quite what it means, it’s simply that one quick statement that tells what you do. When you use it to pitch yourself though, you will add in another sentence or two telling why your influence matters to that person.
Who Do I Pitch for Sponsored Content?
Do Your Homework
Maybe you’re saying, “All this is great, Jenny, but I don’t even know where to start. How do I figure out who to pitch?
First of all, this will be unique to your situation. Start by asking yourself a couple of questions.
- What is it that you feel comfortable writing about?
- What are you already writing about?
- What are some products that you routinely use?
Make a list of all of the brands you routinely use and love. If you are a food blogger, what brand of cookware do you use? If you write a blog on organization, what brand of storage containers do you love? Beauty blogger? What brand of makeup is your favorite?
If your blog is still relatively new or still on the smaller side, you probably don’t want to pitch Pepsi to start with. You need to work on your pitch with smaller brands before reaching out to the bigger companies. You can also check out your favorite product’s competitors. Are there brands you haven’t tried that you could reach out to and offer to try their brand?
How to Use Your List of Brands for Sponsored Content
So now you have this huge list of all the brands of things that you use on a regular basis and already love. Now what?
The Golden Ticket
What if I told you there was a golden ticket to pitching brands? Would you be interested? I hope so because there is.
The golden ticket is your potential brand’s email address. You need the specific email address of a person in the company’s PR department or someone on their team who works with blogger campaigns. But how do you get that email address? It’s actually pretty easy…most of the time.
Go to the company website and look for the tab “Media” or “Press Release”. Now be aware, this is not something that the brands put in bold print or make easy to find. You may have to do some digging to actually find it. Once you find that tab, look at the latest press releases they have put out. At the very bottom of the press release, you will see the name and address of the person you’re looking for.
Take It to Twitter
I do hear from some people that have trouble finding the name and email address they’re looking for. When that happens to me, I take it to social media, specifically Twitter.
Now before you tell me how you don’t like Twitter and don’t use it because it moves too fast, hear me out. The big brands are still on Twitter. They look at your Twitter following and what sort of reach you have on there. So if you haven’t been concentrating on Twitter, that’s the first thing you need to do. Begin to build a following on there.
*Need help understanding Twitter? Listen to this episode of the podcast with Saira Pearl!
The point of taking this search to Twitter is that you want to try to get the brand’s attention enough for them to follow you. Once they follow you, you can direct message them and ask for the email address of the person who works on blogger campaigns. Most of the time they will send you that address with no problem.
If you have a larger following on Instagram than Twitter, then by all means, use Instagram instead. The whole idea is to be able to tag the company in your posts. You don’t want to use these platforms to actually have a conversation with the brand.
Getting Their Attention
Don’t put it right there in your post that you want to work with them or want them to sponsor you. No! What you want to do is put up a post of you using the brand. For example, let’s say I want to get the attention of Marzetti’s Salad Dressing. If I’m on Instagram, I would post a picture of the recipe I made using the dressing and simply say, “My chicken wings turned out great because I used @marzettisdressing.” That’s it. No link to my site, nothing but the tag. I just want to get their attention.
For Twitter, I would just post the sentence with the tag and go from there. If you have a large following, then hopefully you will get tons of engagement on the post. You are looking for increasing your engagement no matter which platform you’re on. One way to increase that engagement is to go to Facebook and look for re-Tweet threads. (If you don’t know what this is, take my Pitch Perfect class to get all the details.)
Remember, the higher the impressions and re-Tweets you get on your post, the more the brand is going to take notice. And the more engagement you get, the more they are going to be interested in what you are doing. So when you contact them to pitch to them, they already know why they should be interested in working with you.
*Be sure you use the words blogger/influencer when asking for the email address you need so that they get you to the right person.
Sending the Pitch for Sponsored Content
Once you have the email address of the person you need, it’s time to send the pitch. Now obviously you can’t just send an email with your pitch in it and that’s it. I go into so much detail on the exact steps to take in The Pitch Perfect Challenge, so sign up for that if you don’t have it, but for now, I just want to give you some of the basics you need to know.
1. What Are Your Strengths?
You are going to want to include the pitch you came up with earlier after your brain dump and figuring out who your target audience is. But you also want to talk about where your influence and your strength lies.
Show the brand exactly what you bring to the table, what makes you different from the rest. Do you create Tasty videos? Are you known for doing Facebook lives every day? Do you have a ridiculously high open rate on your emails? These are the kinds of things that you want to share with them in your email.
The reason I work so hard to contact brands is so I can show them how I stand out; I don’t want to wait for them to notice me in a sea of bloggers. I want them to know that I am here, what my strengths are, and how I can benefit their brand. I also want to work with the brands that I like and I want to work at the price I set.
2. What Are You Proposing?
In this email, you also want to tell them what you are proposing to do for them. This doesn’t have to be detailed; just a general idea is fine. You don’t have to give them everything but you do have to give them something.
For example, don’t say in your email to Bob’s Red Mill that you will create a recipe for apple pie using their flour. If they aren’t currently thinking about apple pie, they aren’t going to pursue the relationship. But if you say something like, “I would love to create a delicious fall recipe using your products that will knock the socks off of my audience.”
When they read that kind of email, they’re going to want your media kit and a proposal.
3. When Are You Pitching?
I used fall in this example because it is currently the heat of summer here and I want to make a point about the timing of your pitch. Timing is crucial when you are pitching because your pitch has to be around 3-4 months in advance of what you are proposing.
If you are pitching for July 4th and it is already the middle of June, you are behind the game. You need to stay ahead of the game. It takes time for proposals to go through the rounds of negotiations, so you need to allow time for that.
4. Give a Call to Action
You are including a general proposal in this introductory email, but you also want to include a very specific call to action.
I always recommend that your call to action be a request to send them your media kit and a proposal to review. I don’t include my media kit in that first email I send and I’ll tell you why. Around 80% of the time that I send these types of emails, I get a reply that says they’d love to see my media kit, but they don’t mention the proposal.
5. How to Price
This is because most bloggers include their pricing in their media kit. I do not. I only include my pricing in my proposal. Here’s why: I pitch every brand differently and therefore I price differently. My price depends not only on the brand but also on what exactly I am creating for the brand.
If I am creating a recipe, that’s fairly easy for me. But if I have to make a craft and it’s going to take me hours to create and clean up, and I still have to photograph it all, I am going to charge more for that. Food is easier; you don’t have to get the perfect shot of every little step in the process like you do with crafts.
You also need what I call a “hate rate.” That is simply the amount that you absolutely will not go below for your charges.
6. What’s Next?
You are now in the in-between time; you’ve sent the media kit and you are waiting to hear from them so you can send the proposal. What should you be doing?
You should be working on researching what you are going to charge and getting that proposal ready to go!
If you have never worked on a proposal before, you’re going to want to head over to my website and sign up for my course Pitch Perfect Pro. There are multiple tiers of this course so that you can choose which level you want to go for. While there, you’re also going to want to sign up for my membership site to experience all the benefits of working with me on a monthly basis, along with several month’s worth of video training.
I make a portion of any sales made as an affiliate
- Pitch Perfect Pro
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- IE 17: How to Monetize Twitter with Saira Perl
- Influencers 101 Twitter Course
- Mastering Your Influence