When I first started pitching brands for my blog, I had no idea what I was doing. Being a lawyer, I've been trained and have experience negotiating disputes or issues, but never how to pitch myself and my social media account + blog.
However, I took an online course (see my Recommendations below) and got better over time pitching brands. Within my first year of blogging, and having under 1,500 followers, I've negotiated hundreds of dollars in free home decor, beauty items + clothes as well as several paid campaigns with more lined up for 2022.
This is how I landed those paid deals and specifically, how I structure my pitches to land those deals.
Lingo to Know Prior to Pitching Your First Brand
Budget: How much the brand is willing to pay for a campaign and the polite way to “ask for money.”
Scope of Work or Deliverables: Scope of work is used in contract language, but I use the term deliverables more often in pitching/emails – and it means the same thing. The scope of work or the deliverables are the services and content you are willing to provide in exchange for compensation or product.
Agreement/Contract: Your contract should include all of the legal aspects of the contract – address both parties (you and the brand or agency), the scope of work, the deadlines for the scope of work, the laws of where the brand or agency is based and your payment terms.
Net 30/60/90: This means when you’re paid – 30/60/90 days after publishing the content you’ve created. You want to stick to payments made within the 30-60 day time frame and make sure your brand is paying you on time!!
Media Kit: This includes information about you and your blog as well as your best statistics, blog analytics, and brands you’ve worked with.
Rate Sheet: This goes along with your media kit and lists out your services and how much you charge for each service. A rate sheet can be 1-3 pages long (including a cover). You should have a la carte pricing, as well as package rates.
You need to be able to share with a brand who your audience is and why they would love the product that the brand sells. The brand needs to understand the value of their product to your audience. This is vital in landing a paid or sponsored post. You must understand your statistics and analytics as well as the subjective factors like pain points of your audience.
How To Write the Perfect Pitch In 10 Steps:
1. Email: make sure to send to the right person by finding them on LinkedIn, Instagram, or on their website.
2. Subject Line: RE: Start your subject line with RE: (meaning regarding) and they might think this is a follow up email to something they’ve sent YOU – giving you a higher chance of your email being opened.
3. Address by First Name: Address the marketing person by their first name. This isn’t the time to be super formal.
4. Start with a Strong Introduction: of who you are, what you do, and for who. This establishes in the brand’s mind quickly whether or not you’re within their target niche.
5. Then dive into how you can help the brand with collaboration ideas. For example: one of my WINS was suggesting to a furniture brand that has washable covering, that I would spill wine on the chair and showing how easy it was to get the stain out by washing it. In return I would get the chair plus another covering. My audience are 25-34 year old women in the developmental stage of their family. The furniture company’s target audience was families that had younger kids who would frequently spill things on the furniture. Our audiences went hand in hand and the content resonated with my audience.
6. Build a Personal Connection with the Brand. This is the most important part of the pitch since you’re demonstrating to the brand that you know their audience as well as you know your own. Note in my last example that I didn’t just offer the brand a reel or video, but something specific that appealed to their audience. This is key to getting brand deals that convert into payment.
7. Ask for Interest. End with a question asking them if your proposal is something they’d be interested in, and if so, you can send deliverables, more specifics, pricing, etc. Ending with a question (aka your Call To Action!) makes them more likely to respond.
8. Include Examples and Hyperlinks within Your Signature. Be sure to hyperlink to your social media channels as well as links to similar content you’ve created.
9. Statistics and Analytics. Include any and all relevant statistics – this includes your engagement rate, how often your followers are interacting with your content (Unique Page Views, Content Interactions, etc.).
10. Don’t include your Media Kit. For the first email to the brand, don’t send your media kit, they’ll ask for one if they’re interested in working with you. I just think it comes off as too salesy, especially if you’re first starting out.
How To Plan Example Content to Pitch
Just because you have never worked with a specific brand doesn’t mean you aren’t qualified to work with them; you just have to show them that you know what you’re talking about.
If you want to land major brand deals, the proof is in the pudding – meaning that brands want to see proof that your audience is engaged and in tune with your content. But, what if you don’t have an example of anything to send the brand? Easy. Plan out and publish an example with a similar brand.
For example, if I want to get sponsored by a makeup company, I would put out content for a similar makeup brand and measure the engagement I get from my audience over it. To put this into practice, let’s say I want to offer a brand 5 stories that will stay on my highlight reel for 14 days. I would need to do a test case by producing 5 stories on a similar topic and leaving them on my highlight reel for 14 days. I would measure the level of engagement and views my audience gives me over that content. This way, I can answer the brand’s questions about audience engagement and provide examples.
How To Offer Your Services In a Pitch:
You need to offer both la carte offerings as well as package deals as most brands will want a package and you can get paid more, obviously, if you offer more. For example, a list of la carte items may be:
Instagram post: $xxx Sponsored blog post: $xxx Tweet: $xxx
While your package rates my look something like: Instagram post + Instagram story: $xxxx Blog post with a round of social: $xxxx Instagram post + blog post: $xxxx
The reason you want to do this is to show what you price value per offering is and to show that that package rate is a better buy for them (while making more money for you). If (a la carte) an Instagram post is $750 and a blog post is $500, but your package rate for both is $1100, it’s a better buy for the brand and you make more money.
A VERY BASIC PITCH TEMPLATE
So they can
My brand, [Brand Name], is developing a [specific offer] to help [your Target Audience] [Solve a Pain Point] with [offer specifics and more pain points].
We are looking for brands like yours who align with our values and goals to help us [ask].
We have [statistics on why you work well with this audience].
Would this be something you’re interested in? If so, I would love to send you a media kit, some specifics including deliverables, as well as answer any questions you may have.
How To Make a Connection with a Brand
Making a connection with a brand is as simple as switching how you think about your business in three easy steps. This advice is actually from a TedTalk (Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire Action) I watched and it has helped me grow tremendously. Most people think about their business in this order: what, how, why. This means you think about the products or services you offer, how you sell them to your audience, and then they mostly think of profit as their “why.” And that’s fine, but profit is a result and never a “why” when it comes to marketing your business.
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Start thinking about your business in the reverse order: why, how, what. Why do you do what you do, what made you go into business? Maybe its because you saw an under served market, maybe you lost someone to skin cancer and want an all natural solution, whatever your WHY – that’s what people will buy into.
This stems from the biological level – the limbic part of your brain controls decision making and emotions, but has no capacity for language. This is where those “gut” feelings come from – you have an emotional reaction, but can’t exactly put your finger on why and articulate why. You just “know.” This is our limbic system kicking in and making a decision. This is where feelings like trust and loyalty come from – two keys in converting sales.
There are always rough spots in starting a business, but don't worry - I'm here to help you out!
If you're ready to start pitching brands and want to turn gifted product into paid sponsorships, I highly suggest Pitch It Perfect & the Influencer Academy - I personally took both of these courses and even though I already know how to negotiate because of my job as an attorney, these courses bettered my pitches two fold.
2. Blogger Contract.
The one mistake that I see bloggers making over AND OVER again, is not having a contract in place that protects their content and guarantees payment.
If you're going to be pitching brands, you NEED to have your own contract. Get the Extra Blog's Blogger Contract and know that you're protected since your contract was designed by an attorney just for bloggers.