A couple weeks back, we had a really popular thread going on in our Facebook group on the topic of…can you guess?
Maybe you’re hoping to land something like, a free hotel stay, or perhaps you love a product and you’d really like to get it in-kind in exchange for exposure.
Honestly, it’s a lot more daunting than it sounds! Think of it this way–no brand is going to be upset about the possibility to get some free publicity! The answer to an unasked question is always no 😉
So, how exactly do you go about this? How do you craft a cold email that gives you the BEST possible chance of receiving a “yes”?
Well, that’s what we’re talking about today! Let’s jump in.
First, some tips to keep in mind:
Keep your email as clear and concise as you can. Write it once, and then go back and remove as much “fluff” as you can, while still making sense. It doesn’t need to be overly formal. Keep the tone warm and casual, but professional.
Approach your pitch from the brands point of view. How can you make it so enticing for them that they have to say yes? Make it easier for them to say “yes” than “no.”
Try to find a contact if possible–I’ve found that getting ahold of a specific person warrants a much quicker response than just, “PR@brand.com.” Which brings me to my next point.
How to find the right contact:
This can often be the trickiest part of pitching a brand, is finding the right person to reach out to. Here are some tricks that I typically use:
- Go to the brand’s website and see if there is a “press” section. They will often have a press contact listed on the latest press release.
- Message the brand on Instagram and mention that you’d like to get in touch regarding a possible collaboration–the social contact is often on the PR team, but if not, they will definitely have the email address of the right person to get ahold of.
- If all else fails, email or chat customer service and ask for a marketing or PR contact, explaining that you’re a blogger who is interested in getting in touch for a collaboration.
- If you belong to a network like RewardStyle, try asking your rep if they work with the brand, and if they would be willing to facilitate a conversation regarding a partnership.
What to write in your pitch email:
- Briefly introduce yourself, and don’t beat around the bush. Include a link to your blog and instagram, lay out your statistics (if you feel that they’re a selling point) and attach your media kit, if you have one. Treat this as you would initiating a job interview!
- Include links to a few recent blog posts so they can easily get an idea of the quality of your work. If possible, link to the same type of posts that you’ll be offering them should they wish to move forward. (I.E. If you’re pitching a beauty brand, link some beauty posts. If pitching a travel brand, link your travel guides.)
- Lay out what you’re going to offer, and if possible, include the monetary value of that exchange. (See below). Make them an offer that is equivalent or higher value to what you are asking from them. (Of course, this will all depend on your pricing, if you’re just starting out and aren’t able to charge more than the equivalent, consider leaving this option off.) This is more important if you’re asking for higher value items, such as a hotel, and is more optional if you’re simply asking for say, a $100 product for free. Rule of thumb: The more you’re asking for, the more you should offer.
- Sweeten the deal. For example, I often offer to send the brand all the photos I take for their own use on social media. Having content to post is often a pain point of many brands, so this is a really high value for them and something that will definitely entice them to say no. (This saves them a LOT of money in the long run, because paying a photographer for the same thing is expensive!)
Example scenario #1: Asking for a free hotel stay
I hope you’re having a great week so far! My name is Jess and I write the Chicago-based blog, blankityblankblog.com. (You can see some recent posts of mine here, and here!) I’m reaching out as I’m currently planning a trip on August 26th-29th to Miami, and I’m looking to partner with a hotel in the area during our stay.
I came across your photos on Instagram and absolutely love your stunning decor–we have very similar aesthetics! Your coffee shop would make the cutest photo shoot location and those rain showers look like a dream! I was wondering if you would be open to a trade in exchange for coverage on my site and social channels (approx. 10,000 in readership).
In exchange for a complimentary stay, I would be able to offer both a dedicated hotel review with original photography (valued at $500), as well as a mention in a separate city guide post. (Valued at $200). Both would include social amplification and tagging across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (valued at $100). I’m also happy to pass along all photos taken on-site for you to use on your own social channels, if that is of interest.
Please let me know if this is something you’d be interested in moving forward with–I’m also open to other ideas you may have as well–let me know if you’d rather jump on the phone to discuss!
Thanks so much and I hope to hear back from you soon.
Example Scenario #2: Asking for Product
I hope your week is off to a great start! My name is Jess and and I write the Chicago-based blog, blankityblankblog.com. (You can see some recent posts of mine here, and here.)
Reaching out because I’m currently in planning mode for the 4th quarter and I’m working on quite a few upcoming beauty posts. In particular, I’ve been dying to try out [X beauty brand’s] facial oil and would be interested in doing a review on my site (typically valued at $300). My readers have been asking for a Q&A post on facial oils so I thought this would make for a great, organic partnership! Is that something that you would be open to?
Please let me know your thoughts–would love to team up together!