You’ve probably read a ton of guides on how to collaborate with brands as a blogger and best practices to get brand collaborations. I won’t bore you with general fleeting ideas or overarching sweeping statements. I’m going to get right to it because this is going to be a relatively long post.
The first step in figuring out how to pitch yourself to a brand is to determine where you fall on the blogging scale. In other words, are you a beginner, a semi-pro or an experienced blogger?
If you’re just starting out, collaborating with brands and seeking sponsorships won’t work the same as if you were a more experienced blogger. Even when you’re a full-time and very experienced blogger with solid traffic stats, you won’t be in the same league as the mega-bloggers out there.
You should start approaching brands for collaborations when you have over 10k views a month on your blog, at a minimum. If you’re just dealing with Instagram, your numbers should be well into the high thousands with superb engagement.
The Basics of Brand Collaboration
Now that we’ve rooted ourselves in reality, let’s go over on an integral piece of advice you need to have when approaching ANY business deal. You need to be confident in yourself and abilities.
Consider yourself on equal footing, or even greater standing, than whoever it is you’re approaching. Internalize it as a fact and you’ll find yourself striking gold in deals VERY quickly. I’m not kidding when I tell you this is an integral step ONE to this guide. Don’t skip over this.
You have to remember that brand collaborations go BOTH ways. They will reflect on your brand as much as you reflect on theirs.
Now, we need to understand there are two major types of advertising at hand: brand and performance. Brand advertising is basically exposure. For example, Coke might have a billboard up along a major highway. They have no way of knowing whether that advertisement is effective or how many people purchase Coke as a result of that billboard, but they know for a fact that they’re getting plenty of exposure.
Performance-based advertising, however, tracks a particular statistic or set of statistics. If you can track it and you measure performance, it’s performance-based advertising.
Affiliate marketing is essentially performance based advertising. You get paid per sale. If you’re getting paid per post or a company purchases a banner ad for a specific timeframe, that’s a brand ad.
So now we have two key points working in the mix: your size and whether you’re doing performance or brand marketing. These two things factor into your approach in getting a brand partnership.
Companies are a lot more amenable to performance marketing, for obvious reasons, but you need to know that you can perform if you’re going to pitch yourself as a performance advertiser.
If you’re a small blogger, it’s tough to land a brand campaign. Luckily, the fashion blogging space is a highly valuable niche. What this means is that brands are willing to pay for exposure even at smaller follower levels.
How To Pitch
It’s important to know where to direct your pitch, so find out the marketing & PR contacts. A great place to start is Modem Online if you’re a fashion blogger.
Send them a message on Instagram, or locate the e-mail on their website. Keep this email short and sweet (5 sentences or less).
Sample brand e-mail structure:
Compliment on their brand
And exit with a request to talk at a particular time.
If the response is positive, give the contact your phone number or ask what’s the best number to reach them.
Once you’re on the phone, you should focus on building the relationship first and foremost. You want to build a rapport with the brand, and you need to let them know why you might be the right fit. The numbers and sponsorship talk comes second.
If you’re a blogger with some experience under your belt, the approach is slightly different, and you’ll be looking to contact a Director of Marketing or Director of Social Media (basically, head of the field). Use LinkedIn to find the direct contact to e-mail.
Basically, go for the person who is ultimately in charge of campaigns and the budgets.