Advice for Bloggers: How to Pitch and Land Brand Partnerships

Blogger looking for brand partnerships
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Anyone who maintains an engaging blog knows it’s no easy feat to gain exposure with the right people. But you may be overlooking one powerful tactic to reach the audience you’re looking for.

Collaborating with your favorite brands can inspire fresh ideas and introduce your blog to new groups of potential readers. These collaborations offer advantages for both bloggers and companies, and you can use these selling points to land your dream partnerships.

The advantages of collaborating with a brand

By working together, bloggers and brands can tap into each other’s networks. You can reach not only fans of the brand, but also other bloggers who have partnered with the brand — expanding your audience and enhancing your network. By targeting brand loyalists who overlap with your audience, you’ll build your following and connect with more readers in your niche.

At 9th & Elm, we recently collaborated with Kate Heimann from Wear In LA, a popular fashion blog. While we benefited from featuring our products on her blog by scooping up a new, engaged audience, Kate gained new readers and followers when we shared her posts and photos through our social media channels.

Working with great companies will also help you establish credibility. When you have a positive track record of working with brands, other companies will be more inclined to partner with you in the future, boosting your ability to gain exposure with the audience you crave.

How to successfully land a partnership with a brand

You might see your favorite brands as out of reach, but there are plenty of ways to begin building relationships with them.

Displaying your genuine interest on social media shows you’re in it for the right reason: to promote something you actually love. Liking their Facebook pages, leaving complimentary comments on their Instagram photos, or following them on Pinterest are great starting points.

After you’ve connected through social media, send a note telling your favorite brands who you are and why you want to work with them. This process is similar to pitching guest posts to editors: You must make sure to grab their attention so your email doesn’t get lost in the sea of other inquiries.

Most companies have a designated social media manager who handles posts and interactions within the community; this is the person to contact with collaboration ideas. If you can’t find the manager’s email address via a brand’s website, reach out to customer support to be directed to the proper channel or leave a message on the brand’s Facebook page asking for information about brand collaboration.

When bloggers or social media professionals express interest in working with 9th & Elm, we encourage them to write us an email. Although we reached out to Kate after coming across her on Instagram and identifying with her style, this type of situation is rare.

In fact, Kate reached out to us later with another collaboration idea, following the traditional model I’ll outline below. What made it easy for us to agree was that we had information about her social reach — I can’t encourage bloggers enough to prepare their numbers and expectations ahead of time to make that “yes” a no-brainer.

What to include in your pitch email

To help differentiate your proposal, here are a few important elements you should include:

  • Your reasons for wanting to work with the brand: Detail why you love the brand and how it relates to your blog content to show you’ve done your research.
  • Statistics about your blog and readership: These can include your average monthly views, number of followers, the length of time you’ve been blogging, etc.
  • Details about the potential collaboration process: Would you like to give each other social media shout-outs, feature products on your blog, offer giveaways, or do something else? Let the brand know exactly what you’d like to do. This piece is key — suggest an idea rather than expecting the brand to come up with one.
  • Expected results of the partnership: Explain where you will share the content, how many times you’ll post about the brand, and what that will mean for the company. Be as detailed as possible.

Bringing up your own expectations is tricky, but it’s information that can make or break your proposal. Blogging is still a new platform for brands to wrap their heads around as a form of marketing that requires compensation. The key in bringing up “the money conversation” is to lay out exactly what kind of work the collaboration will entail (e.g., how many posts, how often, etc.), then set your price.

Bloggers should approach this conversation with confidence and a strong sense of professionalism that shows they’re in it for a business relationship, not to gain free merchandise.

Generally, it’s expected that a blogger will request compensation in one of two ways: product or a monetary compensation. While it’s common for well-known bloggers to receive both, it’s best for smaller bloggers to start with one. Once you’ve shown your value, you may propose a change in compensation.

You have a lot to offer brands, and this proposal is your chance to explain exactly how you can help them.

Nurture your relationship with a brand

Like any type of relationship, you need to stay in touch. You could send regular emails notifying them of upcoming projects or new collaboration ideas, or engage with them on social media to stay top of mind.

Taking an interest in the brand’s other projects, even if you’re not directly related or involved, also shows you value the relationship as more than a one-time business transaction.

There’s something special about the collaboration between bloggers and the brands they love. Bloggers perceive and speak about a brand in creative ways the brand’s marketing team might not consider, and that can serve as a powerful way to reach new audiences.

Enjoy the benefits of brand partnerships

In the case of 9th & Elm, seeing our products through the scope of Kate’s personal style was a joy. We eagerly shared her photos on our social media platforms, and Kate did the same.

Thanks to those posts, Kate earned 100 new followers. In addition, showcasing our brand as a sponsor helped boost her credibility with others and snagged her collaboration opportunities with several Etsy shop owners.

On our side, we connected with a valuable media source who provided positive press, showcased new photos of our products, and offered a new avenue for marketing them.

Partnering with a brand could give your blog the edge and exposure it needs to truly take off. Don’t let the size of brands intimidate you. If the opportunity makes sense, they’ll see the value in working with you.

Bloggers, have you partnered with a brand? If not, is this something you’d like to try?

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Clay Bethune is a successful entrepreneur and co-founder of 9th & Elm. Clay has been an entrepreneur for more than 15 years and has started and sold many businesses in various industries.... .

9th & Elm | @claybethune

Natalie Sisson

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Comments

  1. This is exactly what I’m trying to accomplish at the moment. My blog is about writing and creativity, including the craft of writing, fiction and memoir excerpts, photographs and spiritual (in a broad sense) themes. I know, I know, it’s an eclectic mix, but that’s me! I’d like to write guest posts for some of the popular creative writing blogs. Your suggestions are welcome.

  2. This is such timely and helpful advice for me. Thank you!

  3. Great post. I have one question. How “established” do you think a blog should be before you start trying to work on stuff like this?

    For example, my writing blog is just over a month old, so I still don’t have anywhere near the traffic required to approach any brands at this point, but what would you say is a good a ballpark number for unique monthly visitors before you can start approaching potential partners?

    Thanks!

  4. I was just talking to a client of mine about how we can get her working with brand sponsorships this summer. And this post is an AWESOME resource! I especially love the “expected results” part. I’ve worked on sponsorship campaigns with brands in the past, and they always appreciate you tracking and measuring the results. Great stuff here!

    • That client was me:-) Thanks for sharing this Carrie and for writing this Clay – perfect timing for me!! Fingers crossed that my big pitch will be received (and that it will be the first of many!).

  5. Thank you for this detailed and informative post. As a newbie blogger, it always helps to get tips from professional bloggers who know the industry and the market ways well.

  6. I’m so glad the partnership worked out so well for you both! I’m interested in partnering with brands and will be approaching a few soon, just happy to see it’s worked out well in this instance. Gives me a bit of confidence.

  7. Great article – thank you!
    As a start up business and month old Instagram account this helps us understand the collaboration process. We’ve had a few collab requests from bloggers but very little detail about their expectations.

  8. Incredible advice. I wish I’d read this a few months ago before before I approached a few brands.
    I will retry with this advice now my blog has a new look and clearer direction.
    Having a baby threw me off track and ate up alot of my free time. But it’s free time is creeping back into my life with a baby routine.
    Thank you so much for writing this

  9. Thank you for sharing the helpful advice. I am from http://contentrally.com, a guest post blog place to read, write and support stories or ideas that matter to you. Content Rally wrapped around an online publication where you can publish your own intellectuals. It is a publishing platform designed to make great stories by content creators. This is your era, your place to be online. So come forward share your views, thoughts and ideas via Content Rally.

  10. Great article! Although I’ve been blogging for awhile, I still feel “new” to it and constantly trying to improve my blog as well as narrow down what I want to blog and review about. This article gives me plenty to go on and gives tons of necessary info.

    Thanks!

  11. Great article! it, thank you for sharing…

  12. Diane Loreto says:

    Hello, i am planning to start my own blog soon. Is it possible to pitch collaborations, or do partnerships even though I am just starting?

  13. Thanks so much for this article, very helpful. I wonder if you could advise whether the pitch process would be any different if you are focusing mainly on Instagram? I have a blog but my main following is Instagram – would I just say this? Also, if you are only after product compensation, how would the best way to say this be?
    Thank you!!
    Cassie

  14. Thanks for this great post

  15. I am a new blogger writing about fashion, beauty and lifestyle. This is such informative stuff here definitely going to apply these on my blog https://thewonderdiariesblog.wordpress.com/

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  1. […] blogger-brand collaborations, which led us to post this piece. You can see the full post on TheWriteLife.com, where you will also find quite a number of helpful pieces if you are also a blogger or freelance […]

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