HOW TO PITCH TO BRANDS AS A CONTENT CREATOR
A lot of people believe they have to have a lot of page/video views or a certain number of subscribers or followers before they are able to reach out to PR companies and that's just not the case. People also often believe that they have to wait for PR companies to contact them for the relationship to start.
Those two things couldn't be further from the truth. With the number of Blogs, YouTube Channels and Insta-Bloggers out there, PR companies just don't have time to discover all of the Content Creators deserving of PR for their campaigns. If you're waiting for them to approach you, you'll be waiting for a long time and this is why I'm writing this post.
It's to help you gain the confidence to reach out to PR companies in an effective way that will make you appear professional and worthy of a second look.
You'll learn who can pitch to brands, how to find PR contacts, how to prepare to pitch to brands and most importantly, how to pitch to brands. By the end of this, not only will you know how to approach PR people and brands yourself, I'll explain how I can help you even further so you can stop doing this branding thing alone and start getting better, faster, and more targeted results.
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First, who can reach out to PR companies? |
Anyone who has been creating content regularly for at least 6 months. This shows PR companies and brands that you're serious about being a content creator and that any product that they send to you won't just sit in your house not getting the exposure that they hoped it would.
Another key thing to keep in mind is that your content has to show how you present products or services on your space on the internet and for your audience. If you have a blog where you use pictures that you don't take, or you create videos where you don't necessarily show products in the best light, companies won't want to work with you. So make sure that your videos and photos are taken/filmed in good lighting, make sure that you talk about products and services using good grammar, so you can show that you would be a good ambassador for their branding efforts.
In terms of niche's, any niche can reach out to brands. Every business is always looking for more people to know about them and what they offer. If your blog is part of a smaller niche, it may actually be easier for you to get a PR company or brand to consider sending you free product/collaborate in some way because they aren't being actively pursued regularly.
How do you find the right contacts? |
This one is probably the hardest step out of all of the steps because every company calls the person who deals with content creators and influencers something different. Because this industry is still in its infancy, there aren't position naming standards that have been set. Therefore, you'll want to look for people with 'Social Media', 'Influencer', 'Public Relations' etc within their job titles as indicators as to who might be the right person to connect with. When it comes to where to find these people online, look for them on LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, as well as doing a google search with the company name and 'social media'. For example searching 'Mattel +social media strategist' as a way to have google mine the internet for this data for you.
If you spend a lot of time looking and can't find anyone who might be the right person to contact, try filling out the contact form on the company website asking who the correct person would be to contact for blogger/youtuber/influencer relationships. Most likely, they will respond with who or what department you need to contact.
How should you get in contact with PR & brand contacts once you find them? |
This one is a matter of preference, but if you ask me, I suggest reaching out to them by phone first to find out if they are even the right contact person before you clutter their inbox. People's inboxes are out of control and while talking on the phone requires much more nerve - time and time again getting someone on the phone for a quick conversation has always served me much better and proved to be much more valuable in terms of getting information.
Now, if you can get them on the phone, you can structure your introduction similar to this:
Hi (name). I know I've caught you in the middle of something but very quickly, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is (your name) and I'm a (blogger/insta-blogger, youtuber) - I was hoping you'd be the right person to talk to about influencer relationships?
Wait for them to answer. If they say 'YES'...
Ask them if you can send them an email introducing yourself more formally. They will most likely say yes and give you their email address so they can move the conversation to email and they can continue on with whatever it is that they were doing. Sometimes, you'll get lucky and they will want to talk to you right then so make sure you're ready for that.
Being ready means you're able to have a discussion about what you'd like to do. The key to having a conversation in this situation is to ask very pointed questions (but not too many, remember, you've intruded on their day and want to be mindful of how much of that day your purposely take up). If you want to get on their PR list, ask them how it is that a blogger like yourself would get on their PR list. If your goal is to eventually collaborate with their brands, ask them something like "how would a blogger like myself be considered for a sponsored post or blog collaboration'. This will get them talking and more comfortable with you.
If they say 'NO, I'm not the person who deals with this'...
Say "I'm so sorry. Would you be able to tell me who the right person at your company is who handles this sort of thing?"
At this point, they will most likely give you a name and you will be on your merry way, trying to get a hold of this new contact.
Now, if you can't get them on the phone, contacting them by email will obviously be your only bet.
Regardless of how you reach out to your contact you need to make sure that you keep the interaction short, courteous and to the point. Be very specific about what it is that you would like to happen from the interaction. If there is something that you would like to learn, ask them. If you want to collaborate on an upcoming post that you have in your editorial calendar, ask them if they would like to provide samples.
But do not, under any circumstance ask them to pay you to create content in the first email you ever send them. It is way too early in the process for that and you will very quickly kill the relationship and any potential of one before you've even started.
When reaching out to a PR contact person by email, structure your email similar to this:
Hi (contact name),
I've been an avid user of the Apple Watch for the last two years and have loved how easily and seamlessly it has integrated into my life. I actually wrote about how the Apple Watch helps make me a more efficient mother and to date, it's one of my most popular posts to date!
I run a blog for millennial moms, at belindalaurie.com, that sees an average monthly readership of over 5,000 views. I post 3 times a week and I create content aimed at making the lives of busy moms easier. Across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram I have over 4,000 active and engaged followers combined.
I'm traveling with my family to Italy soon and I'd love to collaborate on a post where I talk about the Apple Watch and how it makes travelling with small kids a lot easier.
I can't wait to discuss this with you soon,
Whatever you do, make sure you ask for what you want the next step to be. If you want to get on the phone with them, ask them. If you have a post that you're doing and would like to know if they want to provide samples for said post, ask them for that. But as I said earlier, do not, under any circumstances, ask for them to pay you to post about something. Before you can even think about having that sort of conversation, you need to work on building a relationship with them first. **Of course, if the brand comes to you, you get to direct the conversation into talking about money as quickly or as slowly as you would like**
Things that you should do to prepare for contacting companies |
Create a media kit - Canva has great templates that you can use, just be sure to customize it so your media kit doesn't look exactly like the blogger who sent them an email five minutes before you did...
Research the company you're contacting - What kinds of products they create and if they've partnered with any influencers in the past. This will help you have an intelligent conversation and will present you as a professional that they should take seriously.
Decide what you want to get out of the conversation before you ever pick up the phone or start writing an email - I've gone over this extensively up top, you've got this!
Make sure you're active on your blog, especially in the week/s leading up to when you contact brands/PR companies - there is nothing worse than someone at a company deciding that they're interested in what you have to offer and when they take the time to do a bit of background research on you, they get directed to a blog or a youtube channel that hasn't been updated in weeks. Make sure you look like someone who takes content creation seriously and if you need to take a break from it for any reason, make sure it's not when you contact PR and brand contacts.
Be ready to hear no or a non-response - you're not going to be a good fit for every company that you think you're a good fit for and more importantly, these people that you're contacting are very busy. So it's important that you understand that following up will be vital and some people will flat out say no. With that being said...
You'll need a lot of persistence and a spreadsheet of some kind. If you really want to get on the radar of these companies, you're going to have to work hard. You're going to have to send email after email. You're going to go up against roadblock after roadblock. But the people who end up successful in this industry are the ones who keep pushing forward and know that they have something of value to offer brands and they're going to keep going until these brands take notice.
As for the spreadsheet, you'll need this to keep track of all contacts that you find, when you contact them, how you contact them and what was talked about. Organization is key, key, key.
And that's it. The hardest part about reaching out to brands and companies is dealing with rejection and not giving up. There are going to be more no's than yes's in the beginning but you have to realize that every no is just bringing you closer to a yes. Be prepared, be persistent and I promise, it will pay off. Just have patience in both the process and yourself!
All of this is a lot, I know, which is why I created my free 3-day pitching course where I share the knowledge that helped me close hundreds of pitches with everyone from owners to marketing managers. If you're ready to start taking your blog to the next level and stop waiting for business to find you...take my course and learn exactly what you need to learn in order to start creating opportunities for yourself.