How to Pitch Bloggers For Collaborations

How to Pitch Bloggers For Collaborations - what you need to know as a small biz owner before you reach out to bloggers. Plus a free cheat sheet with 15 collaboration ideas!

In case you missed it, a couple of weeks ago I shared tips on how to find bloggers / influencers to collaborate with and now I'm following up with the second part of the series – how to actually connect and pitch bloggers for collaborations!

Know Who You Are Pitching

There's no good excuse to reach out to someone and NOT address then by their name. Like their actual name. It's INSANE how often bloggers get emails that are like “Hi Wonderfelle World blogger” or just “Dear blog editor” or even “Dear Wonderfelle” <– No. My name is Elle and like most bloggers it's clearly noted on my homepage, about page and on my social media accounts. Take the time to find the blogger's actual name and PLEASE spell it right. This is not Starbucks, this is your marketing outreach, and if you want people to actually read your email and respond, you need to address them properly!

Do Your Homework

Many bloggers have a page or section on their blog with information regarding how they collaborate with brands. If they don't, you can take a look around their site to see – do they have ads? Do they do sponsored posts? Do they list products as c/o or gifted? Legally they are supposed to mention when products are gifted or blog posts are sponsored (paid) so these details within their blog posts will give you a clue as to whether they are already working with brands.

Before you reach out to a blogger, it's a good idea to engage with them a bit first. Like and comment on a couple of their Instagram photos or reply to some of their tweets or leave a comment on their blog. Assuming you're not representing a huge company or well known PR firm (otherwise you're probably not reading this post!), you'll want bloggers to recognize your brand/name so they are more likely to read and respond to your email when you reach out!

Optimize Your Outreach 

After you've done your homework, you have my permission to reach out ;) Unless they specify otherwise, I recommend contacting bloggers directly by email. I don't typically suggest reaching out via direct message on social media because not everyone checks their messages (especially if your message gets filtered which happens on instagram / FB when they are not already following you). Also, you will want to include relevant links in your pitch and make it easy to for them to keep track of your message, both of which are easier to do in email vs. a direct message. Beyond that, email is just more professional – and there's a reason why many bloggers have their email listed in their social bios or on their website – they want you to use it!

When it comes to your email, don't forget – your subject matters! Keep it short but include your brand name and a short phrase that will entice them to open the email. Examples could be “Collaboration with XYZ Brand” or “Invitation to partner with XYZ Brand” or “Feature in XYZ Publication” – make the point of your email clear from the start.

There's no good excuse to reach out to someone and NOT address then by their name. Like their actual name. Click To Tweet

Make The Pitch

Obviously your pitch will be different depending on what your goals are, but your email should include a few key elements:
Salutation: use their real name
Introduction: 1 sentence that explains who you are / who you represent
Personal connection: a sentence or two that demonstrates you've actually read their blog and have done your research to determine why you think they are a good fit to partner with
Get to the point: tell them the reason for your email (gifted product? sponsored post? advertising?)
What's in it for them: a successful collaboration will be beneficial for both parties – make sure you are making it clear what the benefits are for the blogger
Include the details: mention if your proposed collaboration has a timeline or any special requirements and link to any relevant pages on your website or blog so it is easy for them to find any specific information
Signature: include links to your website / social media accounts

You Should Also Know

Just because bloggers accept gifted items, that doesn't mean they accept them all. Some bloggers may choose to approve items before they agree to receive them (and hand over their address), and just because you gift a blogger that doesn't necessarily mean they will feature/review your product (unless you are paying for a sponsored post).

Speaking of sponsored posts, it's not a bad idea to have a contract for these. It doesn't have to be complicated, but having a 1 page document that outlines the terms of the sponsored post (required deliverables, due date, compensation) ensures that everyone is one the same page and expectations are clear.

If you want to collaborate with a blogger / influencer but you don't have something specific in mind, ask for their media kit. This will detail their relevant blog / social statistics as well as the ways in which they typically work with brands. If you have ideas for collaboration opportunities beyond what is stated in their media kit, don't be afraid to ask! Most bloggers are open to mutually beneficial collaborations even if they aren't specified in their media kits.

Finally, the more “popular” a blogger is, the more emails she/he probably gets – so you may not get a reply right away (or ever). Bloggers are busy so you may need to send a follow-up message, but I would give them about a week to respond before contacting them again – you don't want to be obnoxious! If you don't hear back after that, I would move on for now (you can potentially reach out again in a few months if you want) – there are plenty of bloggers out there, so don't get discouraged if you don't hear back from everyone!

 

3 Reasons No One Is Buying What You’re Selling

3 Reasons No One Is Buying What You're Selling - and what you can do to fix that!

I like to think I'm a really great consumer.

By that I mean, I'm what you call a shopaholic high converting customer.

Sephora has convinced me I need to shop to maintain VIB Rouge status, racking up Nordstrom notes is a sport, and let's not talk about how many things I've purchased thanks to Amazon 1-click / free prime 2-day shipping. But beyond these big names, I'm pretty loyal to some little brands too! For example, I have no less than 3 products from One Love Organics in my bathroom at all times and I regularly re-order Little L's krak'ems for my dog (despite the fact that she has several unopened treat bags from other brands). These guys get it when it comes to their marketing strategy so you can consider me sold. 

So what are they doing right? Lots of things. But let's talk about what they aren't doing wrong. I swear that sentence makes sense but #truelife it's 1am and sometimes things make more sense in my head than online. 

3 Reasons No One Is Buying What You're Selling

There are a ton of reasons why businesses like these are more successful than others – but in particular, these 3 are key things that lead them to getting more sales while you may be missing out!

ONE: You haven't defined your target market

I'm constantly reminding my clients that if you're trying to sell to everyone, you're not attracting anyone. You are not Amazon. If you haven't heard it a million times already, you need to define your niche. “Women” is not specific enough. “Women ages 20-65” is not specific enough. “Women ages 20-35 who have children” is not specific enough. Defining (and researching!) your target market is marketing 101, so if you're serious about growing your biz or blog, JUST DO IT already!

Defining (and researching!) your target market is marketing 101, so if you're serious about growing your biz or blog, JUST DO IT already!Click To Tweet

TWO: No one knows who you are

Build it and they will come? Yeah, that's not a thing. Your product or service or blog or personality could be the best thing ever, but if no one knows you exist – then it doesn't really matter. A marketing strategy isn't just “posting on social media” or “sending products to bloggers” – you need to be clear on the who/what/where/when/whys of your marketing activities. What are you trying to accomplish – driving traffic to your website? Growing your email list? Building community through social media? Probably some combination / all of the above. You need to be clear on your business goals so you can tailor your marketing activities to achieve those goals. Otherwise you're wasting time – and really, no one needs to waste time. Marketing is an ongoing process that needs to be refined and repeated. And refined and repeated again. If you're not putting yourself out there consistently – to the right people – you won't see sales. I'm not going to tell you that numbers don't matter (they do), but having 500 targeted, engaged followers is better than having 5,000 followers who never want to buy what you're selling.

THREE: You're not communicating your value

People are selfish <– that's the truth. You have to give them a reason to buy what YOU are selling. What's in it for them? Just being “pretty” or “affordable” or “fun” isn't enough. Your product or service needs to provide real value to people's lives AND you need to be able to communicate that value. I think some entrepreneurs are predisposed to thinking that their products / services are really awesome and so other people will think they are really awesome too. And then they'll buy them… right? Eh. Maybe. But honestly, it doesn't matter how awesome YOU think your products are… what matters is what your (potential) customers think. Ask yourself how are you are making their lives easier? How are you solving a problem? How are you giving them something that they REALLY want?

If none of these resonates with you – high five! (Yes, that's my dog, giving you a virtual high five).

Top Ten Tools I Use for Business Every Day

10 tools I use to run my online business - from website hosting to marketing management and more - I couldn't live without these tools!

I'm always curious about what tools other entrepreneurs use to get shit done. Sometimes it can seem borderline magical how bloggers/ small-biz owners can wear so many hats, but it's safe to say without some tech tools in place there would be a lot more crying (and a lot more wine)! Personally, these are 10 tools I use for business everyday and can't live without:

Siteground – I run my website on WordPress and originally started with a different hosting company (and had a ton of issues) until I switched to Siteground a couple of years ago. I've had no complaints since switching to Siteground and their customer service is always super helpful when I have questions!

Acuity – This tool makes it SUPER easy for my consulting clients to schedule appointments, complete questionnaires, and pay for their sessions all at the same time. I use Acuity’s “Emerging Entrepreneur” (basic) plan which is just $10/month (there’s a 14 day free trial if you want to give it a try)!

Google Apps – For professional looking email and other Google services like Google drive / calendar, I can't live without Google Apps! (P.S. you can get 20% off Google Apps with code 6GWWCDPAWYJAME or 3RL9DQJKNGH7DE when you sign up here!

ConvertKit – For email marketing, I'm obsessed with ConvertKit. I switched from MailChimp earlier this year and IMMEADIATELY saw an increase in open rates. Beyond that, ConvertKit's automation and segmentation capabilities are so much better. ConvertKit also has a number of different forms (example at the end of this post) and landing page templates (example here) that are really easy to set up if you aren't using a separate program / plugin to collect emails and deliver lead magnets.

Adobe Photoshop: I use Photoshop CC to create all of my blog graphics, to create content upgrades, to create email graphics, and to edit photos. It's only $10/month and I literally use it every single day!

Dropbox: I store all my files (SO MANY PHOTOS) via Dropbox so they don't take up space on my computers. This way they're easy to access, easy to share, and I never have to worry about my computer slowing down! Dropbox also makes it easy to share files between people, so it's great if you regularly work with a team or subcontractors. The basic version is free, but I upgraded to the pro plan (1 TB of storage) for $99/year or $9.99/month.

Asana  I switched to Asana (from Trello) for project management a couple of months ago and LOVE it. It's perfect for keeping projects organized and on track – plus the version I use is free! You can plan projects, assign tasks, set due dates and manage collaborations with ease!

Tailwind – For Pinterest scheduling / analytics, Tailwind is amazing. I love that you can schedule pins to multiple boards at the same time and the analytics are so helpful in determining which pins / boards are performing well (or not). I’ve seen a HUGE increase in referral traffic (and email subscribers!) from Pinterest since I started using Tailwind. Highly recommend – you can schedule up to 100 pins for free, plus get a free month when you sign up here!

BoardBooster – I actually use 2 tools for Pinterest – Tailwind is great for new pins / pinning to group boards, but I love BoardBooster‘s looping feature for recycling old content. I loop around 20 pins per day which saves a lot of time for just $10/month! Get 100 free pins when you sign up here!

SmarterQueue is great for scheduling Twitter + Facebook because it saves so much time. Instead of publishing your social media updates just once or having to reschedule them when you want to share again, SmarterQueue saves them in a library that you can build over time and automatically re-share. Read why I think SmarterQueue is the best social media scheduler for evergreen content in this blog post and get a 30 day free trial via this link!

I seriously use all 10 of these tools every. single. day. I'd recommend them all, but I'd love to know – what tools are essential to running your blog or business?

*These are the business and blogging tools that I actually use and recommend – so yes, some of them are affiliate links :)