How to Pitch to Brands for Collaborations
I have so many meaningful, intentional collaborations in the works at the moment, and I’m so excited. Before I began blogging, I assumed that it was quite hard to snag a brand partnership. I was worried about reaching out to brands — how do I “cold call?” Will they even want to work with me? How can I make sure I can secure it?
Well, my friends, I’ve put together this blog post to answer all of those questions for you! I have had so much great luck when it’s come to securing brand collaborations. I hope that my tips and tricks will help you start building your own meaningful, intentional collaborations, as well.
1) Make sure you have social media accounts to show them (even if your site isn’t up)
Personally, I don’t think social media follower numbers matters as much as the content you’re putting out there. Be sure you have at least 9 posts before reaching out to brands for a collaboration — the last thing you want is for them to click on your Instagram link to see you’ve barely got any content for them to see at all. You may also want to consider spending some time and energy building your Instagram beforehand.
As you can imagine, while follower account isn’t the be all end all, it definitely contributes to your credibility in the eyes of a brand. Try to think like the brand: why should they send you free products or pay for a sponsored post with you? What’s in it for them? If you have 10 followers, you can imagine that this wouldn’t be an overtly strategic partnership for them — they’re not ensured your posts will reach a large audience, so it’s hard to commit to that partnership. So, try and build your numbers and reach first!
Work on your social media credibility
Plus, there are so many bots and fake accounts nowadays. Building your follower count and engagement organically is so, so important in building your credibility as a real person, as well! I’d recommend spending a few weeks or even months building up your social medias and publishing content before reaching out to brands. Start out by posting at least once a day!
2) Create professional marketing materials
Before we can even begin looking at crafting a pitch email, we need to create our branding strategy to ensure we appear professional and credible to these brands. I recommend creating a media kit to attach to your emails as a PDF file (in my opinion, much more professional than an editable Google Doc or Word Doc). Use Canva to create a media kit with the measurements of a resume; make sure your branding marries well with your aesthetic online and your site (if you’ve got one). I have a Brand Kit in Canva where I’ve uploaded all of my brand colors and fonts for easy marketing creation, and it’s super easy to do. Pick consistent colors and fonts to stick to, and think about creating a “mood board” to get your aesthetic down. You can do this on Pinterest.
Create a media kit
On your media kit, include your social media handles, your email, phone number, and growth analytics (follower count on all social media platforms). If you’ve just started out, think about including your rate of growth or other key elements you think could add to your paper persona. I love to mention my background in journalism and mass communication, as this background has particularly helped me with social media analytics, web creation, photography, videography and audio editing. Think of supplemental details that essentially add to who you appear to be on paper, much like a resume or personal statement would for a college or job application. Be consistent throughout your marketing materials to ensure you are appearing as professional as possible. Get others to proofread your documents, and save an editable copy onto your desktop so that you can update your numbers before every pitch.
3) Do heavy research on the brand
The last thing I would ever recommend you doing is copying and pasting a branding template and going for it to a million different brands. You want to appeal to these brands, right? You should be intentional and strategic about your pitch emails. This is essentially their first impression of you! Be kind, polite and ensure each pitch is personalized to the specific company.
I try to include tidbits of information that show my fondness for the brand, like if I’ve been following them for a long time on social media or if I’ve purchased from them in the past (I always include exactly what item I received — if you can, add in a branded photograph to showcase your skills in brand photography). I love to talk about their messaging and missions, as these are things that usually draw me to the brand in the first place.
DO NOT just copy and paste their “about” page back to them — be intentional and genuine about it. Do you love their marketing messages? Are you particularly fond of their aesthetic? Do you love their mission as a brand? These are all things you should include because it not only lets the brand know you’re serious about the collaboration (and it’s actually meaningful), but it also gives them an idea of how you will showcase their brand through your work.
4) Come up with a specific pitch
This is something I particularly didn’t do when I first began “cold calling/emailing.” I didn’t want to commit to the time, effort and energy that’s required when crafting a lengthy, specific pitch. I thought I’d be wasting my time, but this has exponentially improved the success of my pitches. This shows them just how committed you are to the partnership and it gives them a better idea of what they can expect from a collaboration with you. I love to include specific shoot dates I have planned out, linking the photographer’s Instagram handles. I’ll usually add in the vibe I’m going for with a shoot, as well as the location.
Planning out the Pitch
For example, this week, I have a shoot planned out with a photographer here in Phoenix. We’re going out to a desert-ish location, with big saguaros and mountains in the backgrounds. We’ve pulled photos for inspiration, with bohemian inspiration and pale pastels as the focus colors. I described this in a pitch email to a local sustainable clothing brand, suggesting specific dresses that I thought would work perfectly with the backdrop. Along with my own media kit and social media handles, I sent the brand pictures of my inspirations, and they loved the idea! They lent me some clothes to shoot in as well as a specific affiliate code, and voila. A perfect recipe for a great content collaboration.
Here’s a quick checklist I’ve created for you when it comes to a pitch email:
- Introduce yourself
- Your full name, your blog title, your blog’s mission, location and URL
- Mention that you’ve attached a media kit with social media analytics, audience demographics, etc.
- Admiration for the brand
- Mention specific aspects of their brand you feel go well with your own (mission, aesthetic, messaging, social media distribution, etc.)
- Products you’ve bought for them or how long you’ve supported the brand
- Your idea for a collaboration
- Shoot location / information (photographer’s Instagram handle or website hyperlinked)
- Aesthetic idea or vibe (example photographs)
- Specific products (full names) that you feel would work for the collaboration
- Attach your media kit and sign off with a professional signature (you can generate one here)
- Thank them for their time
Hopefully this helps you land collaborations with some brands you’ve had your eye on! Also, be sure to follow them on their social medias and engage with their content — share their posts on your stories, comment on them or even just simply ensuring you’re “liking” their content will get you far. This shows your commitment to them as a brand and your genuine affinity for their products and messaging.
Let me know how this works out for you!