How to approach and work with brands as a blogger
I get asked this all the time, and of course anyone who has a blog would like to know how to go about reaching out to and collaborating with brands. In all honesty, there isn't a set guide anyone can follow to start working with brands, every brand works differently and can be contacted in different ways.
To demystify all the confusion and give practical advice, I have created a little 'how to' guide you can use to get started. Maybe now, you can start doing all those amazing things you see your favourite bloggers doing. Let's jump into it!
You need to focus on yourself first
By yourself, I mean your blog. Your number one focus should be your blog, you need to increase your views, build engagement and establish your tribe. Before you start panicking and worrying about having thousands of readers, let me stop you right there; you don't need to have 100,000 views a month before you can approach brands with an opportunity. Brands are much more focused on working with bloggers who have an engaged audience, this works even if you have a few hundred views a month. It's pretty cliché, but in a nutshell, quality over quantity wins in this case. Engagement is when your readers, leave comments on your instagram posts, Facebook or your blog; don't get down about blog comments though, it's very quickly becoming a thing of the past, as more people spend their time on social media, so prefer to comment there.
As a blogger you want to be as personal as you can, your readers will connect better and brands will see that you are actually putting in the effort to engage with your readers. This means it's great practice to break the mold and share some personal instagram posts and tweets as well as the “new blog” posts.
What companies are you absolutely in-love with?
Not only should you adore the brand you are hoping to work, they must also fit with your blog and content. The worst thing you could do is for example, as a fitness blogger, you collaborate with a brand that specializes in being the uber of pizza delivery. You may think the money would be awesome, but your readers will spot this very quickly. You want to remain genuine and on point, with your own brand at all times. This way you are always delivering content you enjoy sharing, that your readers value and want to share.
Although the list of companies you are in-love with, that ties into your content is important, you may also want to think about, what your readers want to know about. Think about what brands they would relish the idea of knowing more about that brand.
Remember that there are hundreds and thousands of brands out there, so don't narrow yourself down to just the ones you see in front of you. Do some research, you may find smaller brands searching for bloggers to collaborate with or maybe you could consider apps or work-out classes, as long as they fit your niche, then give it a go.
You will need a media pack/kit
This is a simple document that gives a brand a complete run-down of who you are, what you do, what your numbers are etc. It's basically a CV, but for your blog. Most media packs are just a page, but some are much more detailed, which is fine too, but just make sure everything in your media pack is relevant. You will need to include things like your niche, monthly views, unique views, social media numbers, opportunities you have to offer etc. It's important that you add in all the key information they will be searching for in a clear and concise layout. This is make a great first impression, as you will not there be to speak for your blog.
If you don't have a media pack/kit here is a quick example to work from.
You'll need to contact your chosen brands yourself
You've got your list and your media pack, now it's time to put them both to good use. Most websites will have the name of the person in the press team that you need to contact. If not you may find a simple “press@---” email address.
Before you go off and send you first email, think about this for a second. When you receive emails in your personal inbox, or at work for that matter, doesn't it make you want to read more when it has “Hi Nadine” rather than “Hey” or “Dear Sir/Madam”? This is to say, most people prefer to be addressed by their actual names, so make it your business to find out who it is that you are actually emailing. With a generic email address, you can pinpoint one name or just say “Hi Team”, seems a little better than “Hi” doesn't it. I cannot tell you how many emails I have binned, because they have not even bothered to find out what my name is; it's all over my social media and website.
One of the easiest ways to find out who you need to email, is to use Twitter, it's still the best place to get direct and timely responses. You can simply tweet the brand and ask for the best contact in their press team. If you get the name with the email address – you are absolutely winning my friend!
Time to write and send your email – ahh how exciting!
Off the back, you won't be the only one sending emails to all those awesome brands you have jotted down. Which means, you need to be very direct, so keep it short, detail exactly what they need to know and stay on track. I know it's hard at first to think about emailing a massively successful brand with a few lines, but honestly, the simpler the better.
For instance you could say:
(Short introduction to who you are and what your blog is about)
(What you love about the brand and why)
(Because of your love for the brand you would like to collaborate. You will work great together, due to the following reasons)
(Prompt them to get back to you with a cta, asking if they would like to hear about the ideas you have come up with)
(Then direct their attention to your media pack/kit – here is a copy of my media kit.)
You can attach your media kit or you can link it in your email as an e-pdf.
Read your email few times before you hit send, just to make sure it reads well and you haven't forgotten anything. Also test your e-pdf before you hit send, just to be sure that the link works. After you've sent your email, all you have to do now is wait. Some brands will get back to you in a couple of days, others in a couple of weeks. Sometimes it lands on their laps and they have to think about the fit, so don't get discouraged if you don't receive a response within the first couple of days.
Once they respond, you now have a greater opportunity to really elaborate on your ideas, and show them why working together would make a great fit.
Reaching out to brands is much better than sitting around waiting on them to find you, so although it's nerve racking especially if it's a very well established brand. Some brands may have already begun their hunt for the perfect match, so it only makes their life a whole lot easier if you position yourself right in front of them. This is a hit and miss process, so just keep going until you find the perfect match for you, things will become a lot easier once you get into the practice of communicating with brands.
P.s before you go, reaching out to brands doesn't always have to be about working together straightaway, it could simply be about building a relationship, so asking to be added to their press list is a great idea to attend events and get to know the team.