This is a post that I have been thinking about writing for a little while.
I am a blogger, and I also work in digital marketing as a Content Marketer. This means that I spend a lot of time sending cold-emails and winning people over via the written word. Recently on Twitter, I have noticed a lot of people talking about pitching to their favourite brands, but not being sure where to start.
I’m no expert, but I have a degree in English Literature, have probably sent hundreds of emails asking strangers for things with varying degrees of success, and I’ll give it my best shot!
Here are some steps that I take before pitching, and how I would go about writing that all-important email. I hope this helps you – and best of luck with the pitch!
1. If Possible, Don’t Go In Cold
We’re talking a little beyond finding out a name.
The traditional ideas behind cold-emailing are quantity over quantity, right? Throw enough spaghetti at the wall and some of it might stick?
Perhaps this used to work before the market became so saturated, but now, you can guarantee that depending on the size of your target, you might be one of hundreds who are emailing.
I have pitched content ideas to plenty of websites which have stated something along the lines of:
“If you are a content marketer, just don’t bother. Even if you address it to me and personalise it a bit, I will see through it and I’m not interested.”
Luckily, I love a challenge.
Jokes aside I really do appreciate their honesty and I think it is an important point to make.
If I am serious about pitching to a blog, then I will do my research. I’ll try to pin down one person in the company, and find them on social. I’ll read what they post, try to understand what their role is in the company, and use this in my pitch.
Even if they aren’t the right person to pitch to, they will know who that person is. Try, as far as possible, to get the right person, of course, but this can still be a viable route to get what you want.
2. Be Valuable to Them Before You Pitch
Now that you have a little bit of information about this person, put yourself in their shoes. What can you do for them? Because let’s be honest, we are far more likely to help someone who has helped us out first.
It doesn’t even need to be big. I have opened emails with answers for questions people have tweeted about recently, recommendations for prints for a room they have instagrammed about, or advice on a problem I have encountered on their site.
However, it must be genuine. This is important. Think, too, about the fact that we haven’t even reached the pitch yet. You have to do a lot in this one email if you want to be successful, so even your opening needs to work hard for you.
By opening like this, you are demonstrating that you have put in the groundwork, you care about the pitch and you are capable of thinking creatively.
3. Match their Style
This is a fairly quick point, but do think about the brand you are pitching to.
If I’m emailing on behalf of a financial client then the type of language I use is very different to what I would use when contacting a make-up and beauty blogger who prefers to say things as they are.
4. Think About What You Can Do For Them
Okay, we are now nearly at your actual pitch.
What are you good at? At this stage, it helps not to get too hung up on the stats. Sure, be aware of them, but any brand marketer worth their salt is going to pay attention to microbloggers as much as the big ones.
A blogger with 1000 passionate followers, who engage highly with their content, is arguably more valuable than someone with 100k+ but lower engagement levels. So give yourself a pat on the back and a confidence boost at this stage.
Now, let’s readdress that question with some sass. Are you a youtuber? What kind of a video would you pitch? Be detailed and show how you are connecting it to their brand ideals.
Here are the things that you wanna think about before you send that email:
- What is missing in their existing content strategy that you can do really well? Can you make an amazing infographic? A video? Would you model their products? What would be different about your pitch, and what is your unique selling point as a blogger?
- How easy are you making it for them to say yes? Read through the email and ask yourself, how much am I asking for, is this a reasonable request, and above all, am I being succinct?
- Are you explaining your idea in the simplest way possible?
- Have you explained why YOU can do a great job?
Nothing puts me off like a poorly written email.
If you know that you struggle a little with your grammar or spelling, then ask someone else to run it through before you send it off.
6. Cross your fingers, and then start throwing the spaghetti WITH INTENTION
Once you have written a few of these emails, you will get the hang of it.
However – one thing I will say, is don’t pitch to everyone. Yes, so someone you follow got a super cool deal with a huge makeup company, but if you’re a music blogger, or write passionately about being vegan/small business-friendly/natural looks then does this really fit?
I would say that above all, you really wanna be using your pitching process as a way to turn the lens firmly back ON YOURSELF. Is this idea going to fit your persona as a blogger, and is it going to appeal to your readers?
The biggest mistake you can make as a blogger, in my opinion, is not staying true to yourself AND YOUR READERS. Yes, you can blog about whatever you want because it’s your blog, but if you start accepting deals which make no sense to your usual angle, then why should your followers be interested?
They are here because they like you. DO NOT change yourself too much to fit in with the brand of the moment. You are awesome and there are brands out there, big and small, who will see it, no matter how many times you get rejected by any others!
7. Pitch to Brands, then FORGET ABOUT IT
Once you have sent the email, do yourself a favour and just forget about it.
Set an alert on your phone to contact them again in two weeks, and do not allow yourself to get too bogged down in the ‘no’s’ or ‘no response’s’.
If you need to vent about it, don’t do it in public. Contact a fellow, trusted blogger friend (hell, contact me if you want! I moan all the time!) and have a wee moan but just dust yourself off and get on to the next one! Blogging has taught me, amongst many other things, to have a far thicker skin.
Doubt ends more dreams than failure ever did, so be brave, put your grown-up pants on and send those emails. The possibilities are far more exciting than the chance of failing, I PROMISE!!
Please let me know how you get on, and feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments. Do you disagree with my tips? Love them? Let me know!