How to approach brands for blog and social media collaborations

How to approach brands for blog and social media collaborations | rhianna olivia

Since I wrote my blog post about what you should be charging for sponsored blog and social media content, I’ve had a lot of interest on Twitter about the business side of my blog. What I charge for sponsored content, how to approach brands, how I monetize my blog and TONNES more.

Approaching brands is a fairly recent thing for me. It was never something I used to do – I’d just wait for opportunities to, maybe, land in my inbox and hope for the best. It was only when I found out several people I knew were going out and hunting down their own opportunities that it even entered my head to do the same.

Now, however, I try to approach brands as much as I can. If I have an idea, think I’d be a great collab for a brand or just generally want to work with someone, I’ll try get in contact with them!

Now, I’m fairly certain I’m not the first blogger to write a blog post on how to approach brands for collaborations. But I thought I’d give my two cents, let you know what I do, what I’ve learned works and doesn’t work and just some general tips for going out there and getting those collabs!

Where to find contacts

Okay, so where do you start? It may sound obvious, but the first thing you’ve got to do is find some contacts. And it’s actually easier than you think.

To start off, I tend to keep a list of brands I want to work with. These can be brands I’ve seen work with other bloggers who I think I’d collaborate well with, or brands I just love in general and would love to work with. The latter is usually the riskier one in terms of whether they work with bloggers or not, but there’s still no harm in finding out.

I usually find my contacts through a quick Google search, but with some brands it’s a little harder to find their outreach contact. Especially if they use an external PR company. This is where I search LinkedIn, enquire through a general enquiries email or ask any blogger friends who have worked with them in the past.

On that last point, though, don’t just go asking people for their PR contacts. If you’re actually friends with them/talk to them a lot, I personally don’t see an issue with it. But when I’ve never spoken to you in my life, I wouldn’t appreciate a “what’s your contact for [insert brand] please” DM on Twitter. So, just be mindful with that one.

You’ll need to get yourself a banging media kit

It’s really important you get yourself a media kit, I think. Think of it like a CV for your blog. It’s a way for brands and PRs to be able to see all your key information in one place! I did a blog post a while back about what to include in a media kit, but it’s a little outdated now. I’ll be doing a new post on it soon and until then you can see an example of mine here! I’ve changed a few little bits, but the info is generally the same. (Minus the damn bounce rate which was majorly skewed at the time due to a Google Analytics fault. Thankfully all fixed now!)

In terms of how to make a media kit, I use Adobe Illustrator to make mine. But I’m aware a lot of people don’t have the software, so if you’re looking for a free option I would definitely recommend Canva!

Don’t be scared of rejection

It’s important to remember that you could have the best blog in the world, an incredible media kit and be offering a brand/PR the absolute world, and they still might not want to work with you.

Don’t be scared of rejection.

I’d say, roughly, out of all the brands I contact I maybe only hear back/get an actual “yes we want to work with you” from a maximum of half of them. You’re putting yourself out there and it’s great, but don’t be scared of them saying no. Because it’s not the end of the world.

It’s also important to remember, even if they say no – you’re on their radar now. Just because you aren’t the right fit for them now, doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future.

Don’t just ask for free things

For the love of god do not just ask for free stuff. Don’t do it. You’ll look like a knob and they definitely will not want to work with you.

I see a lot of bloggers online saying they’re sick of being taken for granted by brands, that they want a mutually beneficial relationship. Well, it works both ways. You’ve got to offer something of use to the brand just as much as they have to offer something of use to you.

So, instead of just reeling off a list of things you’d like them to send you (even the thought of this makes me cringe), show them how you can benefit them, pitch them some content ideas, show them similar work you’ve done before. You’re asking for a relationship, not free stuff.

How to set out an email

I feel like actually writing out the email is often the hardest part. It’s hard to know if you’re “doing it right” if you don’t have anything to compare to. So, here’s how I (generally) lay out my emails to brands:

Intro: First up is introducing myself. Who I am, my blog link, what I blog about etc. I like to keep this section fairly brief.

Why I want to work with the brand: Why I love the brand, why I think we could collaborate really well etc. If you’ve already mentioned/used the brand in a post previously, now is the time to throw in a link!

Brief overview of statistics and following: I always attach my media kit to emails, but also give a (VERY) brief overview of my statistics and following in the email. Brief as in “Rhianna Olivia sees [X] unique users a month and has a combined social following of [X]. For a more comprehensive overview, please see my attached media kit.”

Pitch ideas: I think it’s important to pitch an idea or two (or more, if you have them!) to the brand in the email. As an example, if the brand isn’t necessarily your exact niche, give them a few post ideas of how you could make the brand work within your blog. I’ve done a few different types of pitches in the past, from very brief examples to a literal full pitch attached as a Word document. It definitely depends on the brand and it’s your judgement call as to what you think will work. If you’ve done any similar content in the past, throw in a link and show them if it was a particularly high-performing post.

Sign off: I sign off emails thanking them for their time, asking to be considered for any future collaboration opportunities and mention I’m open to any questions on anything mentioned in the email. A quick “I look forward to working with you”/”I look forward to hearing from you” never goes amiss, either!

Remember to not keep emails TOO long – that’s essentially what your media kit is for, after all. You don’t want someone opening an email, thinking “woah that’s very long, I’ll read it later” or “woah, that’s long, cba with that”. Keep them short and to the point!

 

Extra tips

This goes for any brand collaboration, whether they’ve contacted you or you contacted them. Be aware of your terms if there’s payment involved. It may be worth drawing up a little terms of payment contract, just in case there’s an issue with late payment – that way you have something to fall back on if someone isn’t paying you on time. Although, I do have it on good understanding that as long as payment terms/amounts are in writing somewhere in an email thread, you should be fine.

Try keep up a relationship with a brand! When I work with a brand on sponsored content, it’s always a brand I love and would genuinely use whether they were paying me or not. I find this helps when trying to create a genuine relationship with a brand. And, sometimes, the brand isn’t necessarily interested in a full-blown “relationship” (e.g. PR lists – I have very little contact with some of the brands whos PR lists I’m a part of) which is fine. On the flipside, some of the PR contacts I’ve made are people I’d now consider to be friends!

Remember, not EVERYTHING you do has to be paid. Or at least, I don’t think so anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a brand on sponsored content, then never mentioned them ever again without getting paid. Sponsored content is great, but if you genuinely love something – talk about it as much as you want. Equally, a large amount of my brand collaborations aren’t paid, except for some products/samples as payment. You’ve got to make a judgement call about whether you want to take part in a collaboration for “free” or not.

I’ve had a few people ask what brands are looking for in terms of the “size” of the blogger, so I thought I’d add this bit in. After speaking to several of my PR friends, I can confirm there is unfortunately no magic number. I mean, obviously someone isn’t going to pay you £1,000 for a post if you have 2 readers a month. But every campaign is different and has different requirements. There’s no ideal, one-size-fits-all approach, so no matter your size definitely put yourself out there! Even if they say you aren’t what they’re looking for right now, they may keep you in mind for future things.


Man, this post is beastly! Apologies for how many words there ended up being! If you have any questions/feel like I missed something out, let me know either in the comments or on Twitter! And if you have any other post requests along the same lines, please do let me know!

Now get out there, be brave and get yourself some banging collabs!

Follow:
Share:
  • Ellie Miller

    Yes! finally someone that puts it so easily!!!! x
    elle x
    http://www.abloggersbeauty.com

  • This is a fantastic post, so helpful! I really like that you’ve included what to say in an email when approaching brands, because this is something I struggle with a lot due to my anxiety. Thankyou for sharing it :) x

    Sarah | Raiin Monkey

  • Tim

    This post is really useful. Thanks!

  • Such a helpful post, thank you for this!

    Lucie | Forever September

  • This is super helpful, I think I’m going to reach out to dream brands now!
    Bee xxx

  • This was so helpful thanks for sharing your tips!

    http://www.jessicablu.com

  • Madiha ~ MeVsTheOdds

    This is super helpful! Thank you! Will be coming back to this when I grow my website a little more! x
    http://www.mevstheodds.com

  • I’ll definitely be coming back to this post for tips, thanks for this! X
    Love Vicki ♡ victoriajanex

  • Brooklyn

    I love a good tips post like this one. Super helpful! Thanks :)

    http://www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

  • Love this – great tips! I’ve reached out to a few brands and have been pleasantly surprised by (most) of the responses. I think it shows initiative and drive, which people like. Will definitely use some of these tips in the future xx

  • Thanks for this, a really helpful post! I think I’ll start emailing some brands :)

    aliterarycocktail.com

  • Such a helpful blog post – thanks for sharing these tips! I will definitely be putting these into practice in the future. x http://www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

  • This is SO helpful! Come at just the right time as well, thanks so much! x

    madiwilliams.com

  • This was such a comprehensive post. I think it’s super important for bloggers to talk about this side of blogging…it’s something that’s often considered taboo and shrouded in mystery! Approaching brands can seem daunting at first but it’s really not too bad and sometimes it pays off! I definitely think it’s important to stay grounded and remember that it’s a two-way relationship. I never thought to pitch a full example of content as an idea before (I tend to stick to the brief examples and suggestions) so that was a really informative insight for how to approach those who may not fit my niche but fit the direction I want to take my blog in.
    Thanks for this post, you’re smashing it right now girl!
    xx
    Tasmin | http://www.grandiosedays.com

  • Fantastic post and so helpful for those who feel a little bewildered by the world of brands – I’ve never been one for approaching brands … I though I was to small a blogger for that but I’m starting to think that be the way to go!

    Emma | HarmonyBlaze.co.uk

  • Charlotte

    This post is ridiculously helpful and I cannot stress that enough!! All your tips, ideas and examples are exactly what I need to help me boost my confidence in finding the time to email a few people and see what’s about. I also need to create a media kit asap. I’ve added this post to my bookmarks so that I can continually look back on it for reference (I hope you don’t mind haha)! Great post!
    Charlotte / Charlotte’s Picks

  • This is so helpful! I love your blogging/social media posts, I always learn something new. I’ve always been a bit scared of approaching brands but I might give it a go now x

    alicered.co.uk

  • Nadia

    Straight to the point and perfectly laid out, hon! Loved this post and all the tips listed. Couldn’t agree more with so many points, especially regarding the non-paid collabs. More often than not the relationship you build with the brand has got so much more potential behind it + if it’s a company you’re passionate about <3 Getting in touch isn't as difficult as we tend to think sometimes and being rejected is okay as well. I remember how much I was hurt when this one brand replied to me saying I wasn't yet at the level they required and they were quite rude, tbh. I replied with a thank you and remained civil. Since then I got a privilege to work with some ahhhmazing businesses which topped the one that rejected me on so many levels :) It's also so good to have those lovely PR contacts you pretty much consider friends because you're not just on their database and getting all the benefits of it, but you're also chatting away about holiday destinations and sharing where you enjoyed your Saturday night meal :D
    Excuse the essay of a comment, hon :)
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com

  • Courtney Hardy

    This post is very useful. I never included my media kit in my emails that I send, but I am going to start using it. I don’t know what I was thinking to have a media kit, but not send it to brands.
    http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

  • This is such a useful post – thank you! Think it’s time I set up a media kit and put myself out there!xx

    Lucy | lucy-cole.co.uk

  • Such a helpful post Rhianna! I definitely want to start approaching brands at some point rather than waiting for them to find me, so this will be really useful information x

    Jenny | LuxeStyle

  • Thank you so much! This post is just what I have been looking for! I’ve been wanting to approach brands for sometime now as I finally feel ready to but I just never knew how to or whether I was doing it right! This post has really helped as I can see that what I’ve been doing has been right and given me some helpful tips to improve my technique in approaching brands! Thank you!
    Robyn // http://www.midnightandlace.co.uk

  • Zara McIntosh

    This is such a handy post for all bloggers! I’ve been writing up a few draft emails and I’ve taken all of this on board. The only thing I’m still stuck with is how to address the person im emailing in the best way considering I don’t know their name? Would love if you had any suggestions?
    Zara xx

    • To be honest, I usually know their name (or at least their surname) because of their email address. But if it’s a general email, I tend to just address it with “Hi”, haha! x

  • So useful, thank you Rhianna! Really solid tips in there. It’s also a nice reminder that not every piece of content has to be sponsored, if you genuinely like a brand and want to share that with your readers, then you should go ahead and do just that, irrespective of financial gain. After all, this is the kind of content that’s going to make your blog posts native and trustworthy – which just so happens to be priceless when it comes down to return visits and audience loyalty. Very insightful, thank you! X

    http://www.lareesecraig.com/

  • Definitely one of those cases where more words is better because it means we get more useful information! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Ysabelle Graham-Smith

    this is so useful!
    Thank you so much for sharing <3

  • This is so handy and useful! I’ve still not reached out to brands yet as I am scared more than anything. But rejection can be good sometimes. Thanks for sharing this xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

  • Laura Torninoja

    This is SO useful, thank you so much for writing this and being such a helpful and lovely human being! Def saving for future reference xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • These are some great tips, I am always ensure when it comes to collabs with brands.

    Beauty Candy Loves

  • Ellie’s Bits of Beauty

    Ah I’ve been waiting for this post and it definitely lived up to expectations, so good! I struggle most with how to set out the initial email when I want to put myself out there so this has really helped! Thank you for sharing

    Ellie x

    elliesbitsofbeauty.wordpress.com

  • Thank You so much for this Rhianna! I’m so new to working with brands and this post has everything in it! I love your media kit, it looks absolutely amazing and thanks for all the tips about what to write in the email and how to find contacts!

    JosieVictoriaa // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

  • Ellie

    Really good insightful post, with some really good tips!
    I think I need to bite the bullet and get in touch with some brands myself :) xxx

    http://www.eleanorgraceful.com/

  • Thanks so much for sharing Rhianna, very helpful as I find it quite tricky to approach brands myself but feel I can now a bit more confidently!

    Alice May Snell ♡

  • This is such a great post thank you, do you know what brands want in terms of figures regarding social media following, monthly views etc…? Frankie x

    http://www.joieandthevivre.com

    • Thanks so much Frankie! I’m glad you found it useful! I’ve added a little extra paragraph at the bottom to give my advice on this but, in short, there is no magic number! So put yourself out there whatever your size xxx