How To Pitch To Brands & Nail It Every Time

Let’s make one thing clear: pitching to brands is nothing to be ashamed, scared of or avoided. It can mean the difference between sitting with your laptop open twiddling your thumbs, wondering when the next big campaign or idea will land in your inbox, and actually being out there and smashing it already. Although many marketing teams will have locked down campaign ideas and budgets way in advance, just as many will be sitting on ample stock / opportunities / cold hard cash and wondering what to do with it; so many teams know they should be working with bloggers and influencers, but they don’t have the time or expertise to really execute anything other than a few well placed Insta-stories. This is where we step in and potentially help to make their lives (and end of year reporting) so much easier… With ideas, passion for their brand and a way of getting their messages out to more and more people. From my experience few industry professionals would turn their noses up at a great idea, a pitch for work or even a long-term collaboration with someone that’s genuinely passionate about their brand; you just have to ensure you approach them in the right way and give them every reason to reply back with a big fat ‘YES’.

Some of my favourite campaigns have come about as a result of a well thought-through pitch; some brands have started to work with me after never really knowing I existed, simply because of a killer introductory email. (Tooting my own trumpet here!) My background working in brand marketing and supporting sales teams (having to pitch to the likes of Boots, Superdrug and Tesco on a monthly basis,) plus working in one of the toughest and most recognised advertising agencies in the world, has given me huge amounts of confidence at standing in a room and selling someone my idea. Half of the battle is simply convincing them they’d benefit from the collaboration, while the other half is remaining confident – whether that’s fake or otherwise! When it comes to blogging the same principles apply, it’s just you and your audience you’re selling. If you’re struggling, nervous or just a bit confused as to how you should go about pitching yourself to brands, here are some of my top tips to ensure you nail it every time.

GET YOUR TONE RIGHT
You want to appear warm and friendly, but always professional. If you can find out an individual’s name and email all the better, but if you can’t be sure to request ‘to be forwarded on to the best person to help with my query’ rather than leaving it impersonal. Don’t jump in and tell them how awesome you are, instead flatter the brand and explain how interest you are in working with them; it’s like dating, but without the hanky panky.

OFFER UP EXAMPLE WORK
What better way to showcase what you have to offer than providing previous examples of work, or links to pieces of coverage you’ve given them already? They need to be able to visualise how their brand or product may look on your site and across your channels, so make it as easy as possible for them to do so with screenshots and blog links wherever relevant. 

PROVIDE DETAILS OF WHAT YOU CAN OFFER
Rather than a simple ‘I’d love to work with you!’ list out what you can offer in return for what you’re asking. Whether it’s a blog feature or Instagram picture, or a combination of many different elements for bigger projects, make it absolutely clear what your outputs are likely to be so they can compare to the cost of what you’re requesting. 

MAKE YOUR REQUEST REASONABLE
The biggest mistake you can make is going in with a shopping list of product, demanding an all expenses paid trip to some exotic location or asking for ten grand. Not everything is about money, and more often than not a natural and mutually beneficial relationship will progress in a way that will see you being paid in the future as a serious ambassador anyway. Be reasonable and understand that the best collaborations are long-term and often start small.

SEND OVER A MEDIA KIT
One of the most important things you can have at your disposal as a blogger is a cracking media kit. This is a short and snappy document that pulls together all your key information in one place, allowing any brands or PRs that want to work with you to discover why you’re so fab without having to spend an hour researching. It should include your bio, any key achievements, your stats and following, examples of previous campaigns and any opportunities (and associated costs) that you offer; make it pretty and ensure there’s a picture of you included, so they know exactly who they’re speaking to and can put a face to a blog name.

PITCHING DON’TS
1. Don’t be a d*ck. I’ve seen so many emails from bloggers over the years that have demanded XYZ or assumed they were entitled to something just because they want it; think of everything from the other person’s perspective.
2. Don’t assume you have something more to offer than the blogger next door. You need to have an audience (that’s more than your best mate and mum,) influence, great content and a proven track record – so work on creating a portfolio of content and growing an audience before you start pitching.
3. Don’t send an email from your phone. And make sure it doesn’t look like a copy-paste job. It tells the brand you’re approaching everyone in the quickest way possible, and doesn’t exactly flatter their egos.
4. Don’t be disheartened if they say no. It may not be right this time, but there’s no harm in trying and it’s all experience. Thank them warmly and move on to the next thing on your list.

Pitching is an art form and one you can only perfect after practice. It’s worth giving it a go and approaching some of your favourite brands, or if you have some cracking ideas, but don’t feel disappointed if it doesn’t pay off; you’re just stretching those muscles and getting your groove on ready for that ultimate career-defining pitch.

Are you a blogger that’s scared of pitching or has nailed some awesome campaigns after a great email? Are you a brand or PR that would love to hear from bloggers, or have you any additional thoughts or ideas that could help? I’d love to hear from you…

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14 Comments

  1. Joanne Mallon
    January 22, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    I guess so much of it comes down to doing your research and being clear on what you have to offer and why you're a good fit for this brand – none of which was done by the blogger involved in the recent drama.

    • Hayley Hall
      January 23, 2018 / 9:18 am

      Agreed. She unfortunately sent off an ill-thought through email on her phone, even though she had something of value to offer. She undermined her own worth IMO!

  2. Lucy Cole
    January 22, 2018 / 1:54 pm

    This is such a useful post! I've pitched to brands before but definitely haven't done it as well as I could have. It's something i'll be working on from now on!xxLucy | http://www.lucy-cole.co.uk

    • Hayley Hall
      January 23, 2018 / 9:18 am

      Glad it was helpful!

  3. Jenny
    January 22, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Such a helpful post Hayley. It's always nice to read posts like this that give great advice xJenny | LuxeStyle

    • Hayley Hall
      January 23, 2018 / 9:18 am

      I'm glad!

  4. Erin Russell
    January 22, 2018 / 9:08 pm

    I love how helpful this post is lovely! It is something I need to work on so help is always appreciated 🙂 Erin || MakeErinOver

    • Hayley Hall
      January 23, 2018 / 9:18 am

      Hope it helps you in the future!

  5. Vivian Yuen
    January 23, 2018 / 2:43 am

    After the whole hotel blogger debacle this was refreshing to read. I've always found that professionalism is key~ Vivian | LIVE IN LOVEIG | @viviyunn_~

    • Hayley Hall
      January 23, 2018 / 9:19 am

      Thanks Vivian. Just be professional, clear and offer up real reasons why a collab with you is a great idea. Simples.

  6. Mrs Tubbs
    January 23, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    After last week’s big old drama this is so refreshing, sensible and grounded. Thank you. Be professional and business-like, choose your potential collaborators with care and be clear about the benefits of working together. It sounds so simple but last week showed how easy it is to get it completely wrong. I was amazed how little people understood how blogging works and about working with businesses – including bloggers! I kept reading that asking for stuff for free was how people on social media made a living and how bloggers shouldn’t be treated like ordinary people because they weren’t. Just … no. Hope all is well 🙂

  7. La dame chat
    January 30, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    I told myself this year I will start pitching but I believe what holding me back is the lack of viewers (?) comparing myself to other bloggers where they have more engaging audience.Michelle| http://www.brokebutflawless.com

  8. Kirsty - What Kirsty Did Next
    February 2, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    This is such great advice, Hayley! I really need to start pitching to brands so this is both timely and useful. Thank you!

  9. CAIRNS TRIPLETS
    March 6, 2018 / 6:10 pm

    I’mCurrently in the process of creating an eyelash brand which I’m really proud of at the moment. Would really love your feedback! The dream would be to get it into boots or Superdrug! Would love to email you 🙂 the Instagram page is @FabuLASHUK_ on Instagram if you wanted to have a look at my packaging- not yet all finished but should have my samples in the next few weeks 🙂

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