How to Pitch Brands & Get What You Want
One of the topics discussed at Hispanicize 2012 was how to pitch to brands. Should it be a formal or informal pitch? What should you put in your pitch? What can you expect when brands approach you and how should you respond to them?
While at Hispanicize, I attended a session with two McDonald’s PR reps (How to Develop a Latino Blogger Business Proposal for Consumer Brands) who explained what their expectations were and how bloggers could best communicate their intentions professionally and get what they want in return.
Overall, the impression was that the ball is in our court. While brands may be approaching us with their suggestions and thoughts on how we can interact with them and share their products and services with our readers, ultimately, we are the ones in control. That is, if you expect to get the relationships that you want with brands, you need to voice your own expectations for what brand relationships with your blog should look and feel like. This is why pitching your blog is essential. Whether you approach a brand or a brand is seeking you out, it’s important that you take the lead and let brands know exactly how you intend to work with them and what kind of compensation you are expecting for your involvement.
Are you looking for a long-term or short-term relationship? Paid opportunities or traffic building links? Interactive promotions or low key advertisements? Know what you want from a brand and be specific in letting them know how they can meet your expectations for each project you work on together.
Things to keep in mind when you pitch brands
- Be true to your blog’s message and relevant to your audience. Be sure that brands that you work with align with your blog’s niche and overall mission.
- Instead of responding with a flat ‘no’ to bad pitches, recommend other bloggers for the pitches that don’t quite fit your blog. Since a PR contact may represent more than one brand, it’s important that you maintain a positive relationship with them, and helping out another blogger by passing along an interested contact is another great way to build reciprocal relationships online.
- Brands need you just as much as you need them. Don’t be afraid to let brands know what you expect in return for the services that you provide.
- Identify the brands that you most want to work with and pitch them your own proposal of how working with you could benefit them and what services or projects you feel would be a good fit for them.
- Always customize your pitch to the needs of each individual brand or organization. Be as specific as possible and tailor your pitch so that both sides benefit from the relationship.
- Be sure to lead your pitch with what you can offer to the brand. Let them know what you’re worth and how working with you can help them to further their mission or goals (ex. selling product, brand awareness, increasing their social media following, promoting an event, etc.)
- Be ready to renegotiate. When dealing with brands, it’s important to be flexible and also to realize that you have the right to ask them to make changes too. Don’t be afraid to request improvements and be willing to listen to theirs as well.
- Keep your pitches short and to-the-point. 1-2 pages is all you need in most cases, with bullet points and section headings for easy reading.
What to put in your pitch
Background (about your blog):
- Intro paragraph about your blog and related accomplishments or other details of interest to the brand your pitching.
- Audience Demographics & Reach
- Social Networks Influence (Likes, Followers, Klout Score, etc.)
- Traffic Stats
- What you hope to achieve (focus on a specific need or opportunity)
- Brief, smart, to-the-point outline (1-2 paragraphs) with ideas and strategies of how you’ll benefit the brand you’re pitching. Be creative, bold and flexible.
- A general explanation of how the idea will work and what you will need in order to complete your project and achieve the desired results.
- Let the brand know what they will be getting out of this opportunity.
- Include a cost breakdown with all the items and services that you’re expecting the brand to contribute to your project.
What are your best for how to pitch brands? Share them with us in the comments below.