I’ll never forget the first time I pitched a brand for a collaboration. I was a new blogger with less than 100 pageviews a month, but I was passionate about the small business I had created and knew my readers were interested in my opinion. Wondering how to work with brands when you are a new blogger can feel intimidating and feel impossible. That is why I am excited to share some tips on how to work with and reach out brands as a new blogger.
How did YOU start working with brands?
Nine years ago while planning my wedding, I wrote a few posts about handmade items I admired or purchased from Etsy for the big day. After publishing a post, a reader told me I should let the Etsy shop owners know I was advertising their items on my blog. So I did just that. I sent my blog posts to the Etsy shop owners to show my appreciation.
One day, an Etsy shop owner replied offering a discount in exchange for a second mention on my blog. And, in return, I asked for a different item from the shop to review. Without even realizing it, I had secured my first collaboration. After publishing my blog post about the Etsy shop, a few readers reached out to me to say that they had purchased something from the post.
After the feedback from my readers, I felt confident to approach a second Etsy shop. I sent a message describing how I had worked with another shop and asked if they would be interested in a product review. Before I knew it, I landed my second collaboration. Fast forward to 2018, and I’m working with brands as an influencer on a variety of levels.
Tips for Working with Brands When You’re a New Blogger
1. Pitch a small business you know and love.
The reason I was able to land my first collaboration was because I had already established a relationship with the small business as a valued customer. Not only did I truthfully like the brand, but the Etsy shop owner was able to trust her investment in me, a new blogger, after I shared my published review.
Compliment the company in your pitch, let them know you are genuine and honest.
2. Join influencer networks.
If you’re hestitant to contact a brand or small business, join an influencer network. You will have direct contacts with brands through the network and can apply for sponsored posts, or review posts in exchange for a product. There is less pressure on you to write a cold call email, and it is practice for when you go off on your own to pitch a brand. Click here to read tips for writing a successful pitch for an influencer network.
3. Accept a free product in exchange for a post.
If you are a new blogger just starting out, you may not have the engagement statistics most brands want to see – so asking for compensation from a brand could be frowned upon. Instead, ask for a product or service for free and in exchange you will write a review and promote them. This will also allow you to build a relationship with the brand. And you never know, maybe in the future if their budget allows, they will contact you for a paid promotion. Even when you become an established blogger, if you’re passionate about about a brand, it is okay to trade services. I still work with brands for free if I love them.
4. Create a Media Kit
I always say, it is better to be prepared than caught empty handed. A brand or small business may want an overview of your stats – blog pageviews, social media followers, a description of who you are and what you do, etc. To design your first media kit, check out Canva for free templates and make sure to include everything BUT a rate sheet. If you’re planning on asking for compensation, wait until the brand agrees to a collaboration.
5. Before you pitch a brand, make sure you can answer this question: What can YOU do for the brand that they can’t do for themselves? Why should they choose you over another influencer?
Just because your blog doesn’t have thousands of page views or you don’t have 10k followers on Instagram, doesn’t mean the brand won’t want to work with you. There are companies out there who want an honest opinion from a relatable source – a Mommy Blogger with a dedicated organic following or a Fashion Blogger at a local college or even a Food Blogger with a background in cooking. Whatever your niche may be, use your strengths to sell yourself.
If you’re looking for more advice on work with brands as a new blogger, book a blog consultation with me!