One of the strategies of monetizing your blog that pays the best is creating sponsored posts for brands that you work with. While many influencer firms, such as Clever Girls and MassiveSway, connect you with opportunities you qualify for. What if you want to work with a company that fits your niche but does not offer opportunities through your existing partnerships?
This week, I had the opportunity to interview expert blogger Claudia Krusch of TrendyLatina.com about pitching brands. She has worked as a content creator and influencer with many top name brands, such as Michael Kors and is Director of the social media management firm Social Coerce. Claudia's philosophy? “I believe in honest, hard work to earn money.”
Pitching Brands Interview with Claudia Krusch
Hi Claudia, thank you for your time today. What advice can you give to bloggers who want to pitch brands they have not yet worked with?
Pitching, or better yet, co-pitching with other bloggers, a brand starts long before you reach out to them. You need to make your social media stream desirable. Brands are now looking back 2 to 3 months at your social media stream. At least one month before approaching a brand, you need to start sharing content that is in sync with their brand as well as following them. Don’t just share randomly. Set a social media strategy and then fill it with organic content that represents you.
Try to find brands that you’d spend money on anyway, not something new, so that it is organic to your lifestyle. Once you’ve set your strategy, reach out to the brands on social media. I prefer to private message brands on Twitter. Then, I tell them that I’d like to send them a media kit and discuss a partnership. If they are not following you, comment on their feed. I have not gotten a “no” so far in pitching!
Many bloggers are uncertain how to price themselves and work in exchange for one low-priced product or very low costs. What advice can you give them?
You need to value yourself! This is work – you’re not doing them a favor. You need to boost your strengths. For example, I’m very good at Instagram, so most of my work now is in that medium. I’m getting paid the same rate as I did for sponsored work, which takes much more time and effort for me than social media, which is my strength.
In addition, once you are ready to reach out and send your media kit, offer them 2 or 3 other potential blogger partners and options on what you will do for them. I’m mostly working with social media but I do offer blog post options. Brands like to have this all defined for them in advance. If you are setting up the campaign, it makes it easier for them to accept your pitch.
Also give them options on what you would like in return. Tell them, “This is what I do, can we work together?” If you’ve done the groundwork properly, I’m confident you’ll get a yes.
Are there any potential problems that bloggers can address that will help them look more favorable to brands?
Yes! I recently gave some advice to a new blogger who was struggling to get brands to work with her. I took a look at her stream and there was no strategy to her social media. There was no rhyme or reason to her posting.
As I told her, you have to define your brand. That is the starting point – without doing that, you can’t set a strategy. You have to be in sync with your brand and stay true to it. This blogger took my advice and then had the courage to reach out to brands. She landed her first review and is moving forward.
To be successful, you need all those elements to be tied together: your brand, your stream, you. Your followers need to find those elements in your everyday life. For example, my followers know what I like and that carries through my life and my stream. It’s not fake, it’s who I am.
Any mistakes they should avoid?
A lot of bloggers go looking for “stuff.” They want to get something or get compensated. That should not be your end goal. Compensation comes because you’re doing something you're truly interested in.
Think deeper when you’re doing this as a business. Brand interest will come as you are sharing what you really care about. Then you need to find the best way to blend it all together.
Key Takeaways for Pitching Brands:
- Make sure you create your own brand first.
- Develop a social media strategy that is inline with your own brand and stick to that for at least 2 months before reaching out to a brand.
- Pitch a complete campaign with options for what you can do for them and what you expect in return. Recruit other bloggers when possible.
- When pricing or asking for product, remember this is work. Value yourself!
- Don't do it for the “stuff” or for compensation. Work on things that you like and care about.
What to Charge for a Sponsored Post
As Claudia said, you need to value yourself. Sue Ann Dunlevie of SuccessfulBlogging.com has an interesting article on what to charge for blogging. Even if your page views are 5,000 unique views per month on Google Analytics, you can very likely charge between $50-100 per post. If not, learn how to get your first 1000 page views. In addition, Claudia’s advice shows the importance of a strong social media following. Learn how to grow your followers.
Once you have a rate set for your blog, you can charge slightly less to post on someone else’s blog. I say less because when it’s your blog, you’re charging for work plus advertising. Remember that a sponsored post is advertising that never leaves your blog! This is why ads do not cost as much as sponsored posts. Ads are rotating fees that can be renewed and expire, and as such, will be a much lower fee.
Don’t Forget Your Media Kit
As you can see, it’s critical to have a media kit for pitching. Design one as soon as possible. This does not have to be a painful procedure! You can make it in your word processing software. You need to include the following items:
- Your photo (the one you use on your blog and as an avatar, which should be consistent), blog name and logo.
- Your contact information, including email and phone.
- Your blog’s mission and target audience. Tell them what your brand is.
- Any accomplishments that relate to what you will be offering brands. These can be viral posts, awards, workshops, ebooks you’ve written, influencer achievements, etc.
- What you can offer a brand, for example: sponsored posts, Twitter party management, conference representative, etc. Make sure your accomplishments are in line with this.
- Brands you’ve worked with in the past.
I will leave you with my own recent story. I’ve been working in the organic food/natural health space for over a year. During this time, my family has been working with a homeopath who is also a shop owner. She kindly gave me a gift certificate for a giveaway last winter. After that, we began to discuss how I might write for her. We spoke this week and she is keen on working with me in an even bigger capacity for networking efforts and conferences. This will be my biggest project to date and it all arose organically.
So brainstorm your brand, clean up your media stream, be authentic, value yourself and start creatively considering what you can offer a brand. You have nothing to lose.