After I published my blog post about, ‘How much money do travel bloggers make?‘ One reader, Angela, wanted to know more about how I approach brands to work together and some insider tips on the perfect pitch. Well, you guys, I love you all and am more than happy to share with you whatever I can. So, today I’m letting you in on how I approach brands.
Approaching brands is important because you can’t just sit back and wait for work to come to you all the time. You’ve got to be proactive and confident talking to big brands. The more you pitch, the more work you’re going to get, which means more content and growth for your blog. So it’s crucial you know how to do it right.
I’m not saying my way is perfect or the only way to do it, it’s just a system I’ve developed over time and feel comfortable with. Sometimes it works, sometimes I strike out and slink away with my tail between legs. If you have any other questions you’d like to ask me about my blogging world, share them with me in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do about turning them into helpful blog posts for you.
Work out what you want
Before you approach a brand, work out what it is you want and who you want it from. It’s important to make sure what you want aligns with who you are and what you offer. For example, there’s no point approaching a super-luxury hotel if your blog is about budget travel. The chances of them saying yes are about the same as me growing wings and learning to fly. It ain’t happening.
Get a really clear idea in your mind of what you want. If it’s a hotel, what type of hotel do you want it to be, how many nights do you want to stay there, what type of room would you like to stay in. Be razor-sharp on what you need and what you want. Find a few brands who fit your profile perfectly. The better fit they are for what you do and what you want, the easier it’s going to be to pitch to them.
Work out what you can offer them
Take the time to make a list of exactly what you’re willing to offer the brand. You need to be able to tell them the number of blog posts you would create and what they will be about as well as any additional coverage you will offer, like social media posts. Write these things down! How many posts can they expect from you on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter each day? How will you promote the written content you create? Will you give them a set number of high-res images after the trip is over? Be creative, what else can you offer?
Remember, the brand needs to feel like they are getting something really great out of this or they aren’t going to agree to it. It’s important that you sell yourself, but don’t undervalue what you do. Creating all this content takes a lot of time and effort, so only offer as much as you’re comfortable with. You should feel like they’re getting a great deal from you and vice versa.
If I’m approaching a brand, I don’t usually ask them to pay me. I explain that in more detail here, in my ‘How much money do travel bloggers make?’ post.
Find someone to contact
Most big brands will have a PR team who look after this type of thing, so you really want to track that person down directly. If a google search doesn’t help you, check the brand’s website for a ‘Contact Us’ section. You’re looking for a media contact, not the general email address. The media contact will have a better idea who bloggers are and will be more likely to read and respond to your email.
Write your pitch email
Don’t panic, but it’s time to write your pitch email! Eep! This is the bit you’re most likely to freak out about, so just keep it cool, calm and collected. You want your email to come across as friendly and professional, not serial-killerish and cold. Imagine you’re meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, that’s the kind of tone you want to take.
Your pitch email should include, a:
- succinct introduction with a link to your website,
- a short opening sentence or two, telling them what you want to do,
- sentence or two outlining why your blog is awesome,
- a brief outline of what you can offer them,
- description of what you want from them, and
- thank you, an invitation to contact you and polite sign-off.
Here’s an example of something you could write. Let’s say you want to stay at the Hotel Megatron and the media contact is Bumble Bee.
Hi Bumble Bee,
My name’s Optimus Prime and I run travel and lifestyle blog, Transformers Travel.
I’m planning a trip to Cybertron in August and was hoping to talk to you about possibly working together to promote Hotel Megatron.
Transformers Travel is the top travel blog for Transformers living on Earth, battling Decepticons. Last year we won Best Blog in the Galaxy and regularly work with tourism boards, like Visit Mars and Tourism Saturn, to promote travel within the Universe. Our website receives 50,000 unique monthly visitors and we have a subscriber base of 30,000. Our readers are primarily American-based Autobots aged 400 to 500.
In return for two nights at Hotel Megatron, I’d be able to offer coverage on TransformersTravel.com and our social media channels. I’d create a written blog post about the hotel, promoted on Facebook and Twitter. During the stay, I’d post a minimum of 3 images per day on Instagram, 1 update per day on Facebook and 4 posts per day on Twitter. I can use @ tags and hashtags supplied by the hotel.
I’ve attached my Media Kit, outlining visitor statistics for Transformers Travel, and my Hotel Review Promotion Packages, which gives you more detail on what you can expect.
If you have any questions or would like to talk more, please let me know.
Thanks, Bumble Bee, have a great day.
Note: If you all copy and paste this, changing the names and details, we’re all going to get found out eventually. So, don’t do that. Use it as a guide only, mmmkay!
Media Kits and Promotion Packages
Yep, you’re going to need both of these things. But, wait, what the heck are they?!
A Media Kit is a two or three-page document which captures your blog in one, easy snap. It should include a brief introduction about you and your blog, examples of who you’ve worked with and, if possible, testimonials from these people. It must include your blog statistics, like unique monthly visitors, views per month and all your social media statistics, like, subscribers, followers etc. It should also include an overview of your audience, where they’re from, age group, gender etc.
Promotion Packages are also really helpful and make things clear from the get-go for you and the brand. Mine include three or four packages I offer brands, like ‘Written Review and Social Media Coverage,’ ‘Vlog and Social Media Coverage,’ and ‘Written Review, Vlog and Social Media Coverage.’ I detail, clearly, what each one includes and the cost. At the end of the document I list my terms and conditions, things like, ‘Minimum 2-night stay, Review will be written in my honest, authentic voice etc.’
Both documents should be in PDF format, not some clunky, clumsy word document. It’s very important both documents are on-brand and consistent with the rest of what you do. Don’t use weird fonts and clip art. Keep it simple and classy. Be succinct and state true facts, don’t get creative with your numbers.
Okay, so you’ve written your email and attached your fancy documents. You’ve been really clear about what you want and what they will get from you. Now, take the time to proofread your email and make sure you’re happy with it. Don’t over-think it, just proofread it. Then, hit send.
There’s no guarantee you’ll hear back from the hotel, there’s no guarantee they’ll agree to what you want. I’ve gotten heaps of rejections, I still do! It’s just what happens, unfortunately. So, send all your sweet little emails out there and hope for the best. If you get rejected or don’t hear back, just let it go, don’t let it bother you.
If you do hear back from them, congratulations! You’ve just done something wonderful and you deserve to celebrate! From this point forward, it’s important you continue to be very, very clear and confident about what you will do for them. From time-to-time brands try to sneak in extra things to get more out of you, if you feel like you’re being undervalued or taken advantage of, don’t be afraid to say no. You have to value yourself appropriately, not just for yourself, but for everyone else in this industry.
Need some more tips? Watch this…
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.