Wondering how to get sponsored posts? I’m breaking down how to pitch brands as an influencer, including a brand collaboration email sample!
Pitching brands for sponsored posts as an influencer can be super overwhelming but today I’m breaking down my step by step process.
Over the years I have worked on both the brand side (at an agency selecting influencers for collaborations) and on the influencer side (here on my site) – so I have a lot of experience with sponsored content. As of today, The Clean Eating Couple LLC has done just above $40,000 in sponsored content work in 2020 alone. This does not include another estimated $15,000 in sponsored content for Q4 of 2020.
Sponsored content can be an extremely lucrative revenue stream if it’s done correctly. When done wrong, you could be selling out and making pennies for hours of work.
The first thing that comes up when pitching brands is.. when can I start? Or how big does my site have to be.
When you should start pitching brands?
Right now. Any site of any size can do sponsored posts and pitch brands.
Read that again. Whether you have 5 followers or 5 million followers – your audience has value, and you can do sponsored posts.
Can you be charging $1,000+ for a sponsored post if only 100 people/month are reading your site? No, you can’t – but those 100 visitors are worth something to someone.
We won’t be discussing price in this blog post – that’s a whole different topic! This is a great resource if you need help with pricing.
My point is – regardless of your size, you should be open to doing sponsored posts.
Ok, you’re convinced… now how do you go about getting sponsored content?
How to get brand contact info:
There are two ways of going about doing sponsored content. You can go through a network – which I’ll outline later in the post, or you can go directly to the brand. If you can go directly to the brand, you’ll make more money as it’s removing the middle man. Networks definitely have their place and can be helpful – but for now, let’s talk about getting brand contacts.
There are a few ways to get brands’ contact information. I’ve outlined them below.
Trade Shows – Attending shows like Expo East/West and Fancy Food Show are an amazing way to meet brands. Hundreds of brands attend these trade shows and set up their booths with the hopes of connecting with people.
Unfortunately, all of these shows have been canceled for 2020 but I highly recommend joining their PR out reach list/newsletter so you can get your ticket for next year. As a blogger or influencer, you are often able to get a free ticket.
Post an IG story, tag them, and DM them. This is my favorite method for starting a conversation for a brand. If you love ABC canned tomatoes, post 1-2 Instagram stories cooking with them. Tag the brand and talk about how much you love them.
Almost every time you tag a brand, they will respond. When they do – reply to them and say something like “We love ABC tomatoes and cook with them all the time! Do you have an email from someone on your marketing team? I’d love to reach out and see if we can collaborate” Most of the time they’ll reply with an email.
If you’ve never talked about a brand before or tagged them on social media – it’s going to be really hard for them to believe that you ‘love’ their brand as much as you’re claiming to. I’m not saying you should work for free or constantly talk about a brand without being compensated – but it’s a great way to show the brand that you actually do like and use their product.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a really valuable tool, that I will be honest and say I don’t use enough. You can search for title (try brand manager, social media, digital marketing, etc) + the company name (example ABC Tomatoes Social Media). See who pops up, find out the format of the company emails (example: firstname.lastname@example.org ) and go ahead and send them a note.
Cold DM’s: You could just message brands on Instagram that you like without even tagging them.. but this likely won’t be as well received.
Before you reach out to brands, make a spreadsheet to track your contacts and get your media kit ready.
You need to have some form of tracking your contacts because otherwise, you will forget and not know when you last reached out/who you were talking to/when to follow up.
I would add all the brands you currently use or brands you see working with other creators that you want to work with to this sheet. Fill out the contact info as you go.
You’ll also want a media kit. A media kit outlines who you are, what you do, and all your stats. If you don’t have a media kit, I highly recommend Grace & Vine Studios. They have awesome drag + drop templates! You can also check out this podcast on how to design a media kit.
How to write a pitch email:
There are 3 key things I include in a pitch email. I’ve included a sample for you below, but here is what every email should include.
Paragraph 1: Intro/Your Reason for Reaching Out
Paragraph 2: Who you are/What you Do (2-3 sentences about your audience/content focus. Your ‘elevator pitch’)
Paragraph 3: End with a question so they have something to answer to. Example: ‘Are you working with influencers’ (if you don’t know the answer) OR ‘I’ve seen you working with influencers and would love to collaborate with you on a sponsored recipe post. I think my audience would like (xyz idea.. Maybe ‘a healthy dinner featuring your sauce’)’
Brand collaboration email sample:
Here is a sample of the email I send to brands.
Hope you are doing well! I got your contact info from XYZ source. I’m reaching out because I absolutely loved XYZ product and wanted to reach out to see if there was we could collaborate!
I wanted to introduce myself to you – I’m Liz, insert your title here+your site. I share talk about what you share on your site/who your audience is in a short sentence. This is your elevator pitch.
I’m currently working on an example of how you want to partner with them (ex: healthy. crockpot recipes) and I think XYZ product would be the perfect fit for the post.
End with a question: Do you work with influencers? I saw that you’re working with influencer XYZ, are you looking for other content creators to work with? I’d love to work with you on a sponsored post – is this something you’d be interested in?
How to follow up:
I follow up 4 days after sending my email, and then I’ll follow up every 7-10 days until I get a response. I have followed up with brands for up to a year before getting through or negotiating a post.
Don’t just forget about someone because they said no. You can always re-pitch at a different/more relevant time – you never know!
Sponsored Post/ Blogger Networks you can join:
Networks can be a good starting place if you’re looking to take a step into sponsored posts. We always recommend going directly to a brand but here are some of the networks we have been a part of/done sponsored posts with: Activate, TapInfluence, Clever, MassiveSway, IZEA, Acorn Influence, Social Fabric, Mavrck, Blog Meets Brand