One of the scariest things for new bloggers to do is ask for pay for their work. While sponsorships can be a vital source of income for a successful blogger, too many of us are terrified to ask for enough payment for what we are actually worth. Here are 4 steps to pitching a brand or client that have worked for me, especially when I was afraid to ask.
Select Your Prospect Wisely
Before pitching, there are some things you can do to set yourself up for success and improve your chances of creating a successful pitch to prospective brand clients. Choosing your prospect wisely is half the battle. Here’s how to pick the perfect brands to pitch:
#1: Work With Brands You Already Love
What are your favorite products that you would never consider buying from a competitor? Which would you recommend in a heartbeat to your closest friends? In addition to considering big brands, think about local shops and grocers that you frequent. For example, my grocery market is a regular place I shop, is available to my largest traffic source (readers in my state), and it fits perfectly with my niche.
# 2: Who Do You Know?
As you start to attend conferences and expos, you’ll begin to develop relationships with both brands and bloggers. Get samples of brands and write a great piece or do a short positive review video. Work hard to make this a successful piece without committing hours of work.
# 3: Do Your Homework
Once you have a brand in mind, research them. Learn their backstory and study their about page. What does the press say about them? What are they talking about on social media? What are they currently promoting other than seasonal items? Create creative pitch ideas around those marketing efforts that fall in line with your niche and current audience. Be sure to contact the correct person when pitching for a sponsorship. Find out by Googling, social media contacts, researching their corporate website and checking out LinkedIn. Don’t send a pitch to “info” if you can possibly help it.
# 4: Follow and Champion Them
Shout out the brand and what you like about them as much as you can. Share their shares, events and deals. Subscribe to their newsletter. Participate in their events.
# 5: Listen To Their Feedback
When you are reaching out to them, how are they reaching back? Did they thank you or compliment you? Start a discussion with them about their brand or product through email or social media. No brand is perfect and if you have a question about their product, politely ask. This is a great way to learn what they need and incorporate it into your pitch.
You Can Sell
Lots of bloggers think that that asking for money is too hard but it’s simply a matter of doing it properly and professionally. You are directly pitching prospective clients, so if they are not interested, they will simply not respond.
Lessons From a Yard Sale
Recently, my husband and I ran our first yard sale – and it was a success but only after I started engaging customers. Here’s are the selling skills I learned at my yard sale:
- Upsell Your Products I saw a customer browsing my Christian books and noticed he had not selected a Bible, which I had elsewhere so I showed him where those were. I made the sale and upselling was really easy after that. Discover what your prospect is looking for and give it to them.
- Show The Value Another woman was looking through my kids’ clothes and I told her why some of these items had been worn only once and were nearly brand new. Again, the sale was made because “new” for a low price is great value.
- Give Compelling Reasons One customer was conflicted about buying a certain book, wondering why it was for sale. I told her that I’d used it and it had served its purpose. Sold! Give your prospect a compelling reason for the sale that justifies the price.
- Know Your Product and Its Worth – Especially If It’s You I did much better than my husband at selling because my share of the products were organized and labeled, and I knew them inside and out. Only you know what you can offer a brand and why you are the perfect fit for your campaign idea. Use that in your pitch.
Set Your Pricing
The next challenge can be the hardest for many bloggers: setting a reasonable price. Here’s how:
Groundwork That Helps Before You Start Pitching
Do all your brand research. Craft a beautiful media kit in PDF format. Get your website in shape. Join a support group of bloggers for questions and encouragement. Use a guide such as “Pitch Session: The Blogger's Guide To Pitching Partnerships, Collaborations, and Sponsored Posts” by Brandi Riley which really helped me. Have sponsored projects under your belt already. If you haven’t done a sponsored post at all, it may be too soon to try pitching since you won’t have work to show your client. Get your first sponsored projects by joining groups like Tomoson.com or Social Fabric, where it might be a little easier to land projects.
Understanding and Figuring Out Value
There are lots of resources that help you to set your price. However, if you use a traffic formula but yours is low, you may come up with a price that will not be worth your effort. Quality writing, photography and social shares take work. Remember, you are not just selling a post, but advertising for the life of your blog. If someone thinks your pricing is too high, then you might not want to invest the time. Start by looking at previously paid work you have done and raise your rate a little from there. If you do freelance writing off your blog, set a higher rate than what you charge there. You can always go back and tweak your prices if you’re not getting any response but if so, step it down gradually.
Under-Promise and Over-Deliver
This old saw is still the best advice. Set a reasonable rate and tell what you will give for that rate. Once engaged, go above and beyond. For example, you can create a printable, do a short video for Instagram or write a brilliant hashtag just for this campaign. It’s also easy to over-deliver shares.
My Case Study
Here’s how I combined all of the above to successfully land my first, full priced pitch. The brand is a supermarket chain that franchises locally. I shop there every week and had recently done some work for them in exchange for product and giveaway for my readers. After the project, the company’s PR person said, “Wow, you really like our store!” Next, I made sure to share on social media when I was saving money there and using my rebate and coupon affiliate programs, to share how I saved a bundle on certain items. While I’m promoting the grocer I shop at, I’m also shrewdly using my affiliate links for brand coupon and rebate programs to earn income. One day, I managed a 25% savings on organic and allergen-free groceries. I thought this would be a great pitch to the PR rep. I wrote an email about our last project together, my enthusiasm for the brand and my creative idea for a post, which was about saving money. I even reminded her that the brand was going to be subject to stiff competition as two competitive grocery stores were coming to our area. I had recently been offered over $200 plus product from a company who wanted to work with me, so I used that as a guideline to set my value. I put my media kit on my website and waited for a response. It didn’t take long and after a brief negotiation (I agreed to take a small part of my fee in gift cards), I was awarded with a project that met their marketing plans. I’m still going to work some of my ideas into my post, but I’m thrilled that my first pitch-for-fee worked out so well. Don't be afraid to pitch. Done properly, you'll start earning income from the brands you already love.