The truth is that most companies want to work with bloggers but they don’t know who to trust or if their investment will return any results. They may have been burned in the past by bloggers who didn’t follow through with their promises.
When you are putting together a media kit or email proposal to a company you would like to work with, you need to speak the language of that brand. Tell them what they need to know in order to make a good decision about you. And don’t be afraid. Huge stats are not the main thing they are looking for.
Also, the person getting your email is probably very busy and receives dozens of emails a day. Yours needs to stand out by grabbing attention and stating clearly and early exactly what you can do for the brand. Avoid the long introductions that focus on you. Get right to the point of how you can benefit the company. Then spell it all out later.
I’ve received general emails like this (on behalf of a client), and I admit that they do not get me excited about working with the blogger.
Hi, I’m a blogger and I want to review your XYZ on my blog. Let me know if you do that kind of thing.
blogger’s first name
So many things are wrong with an introductory email like this, but instead of focusing on details such as including your whole name and linking to your site, I’m going to focus on this research reported on ViralBlog.
According to the survey, these are the factors, in order of importance, which companies consider when evaluating blogs.
- quality of content
- relevance to the company
- personality of blogger
- comments and engagement
This list forms a perfect road map for speaking the language of a company you want to work with. If you follow these guidelines, your email will be read and probably responded to in a favorable light.
Quality of Content is the Most Important Factor
Whoever gets your email will click over to your site and evaluate the quality of the content there. What says low-quality to brand?
- a majority of posts are sponsored content
- a majority of posts are deals, coupons, or affiliate promotions
- a majority of posts are reviews and giveaways
- posts are short (less than 350 words)
- posts are riddled with spelling errors
- posts have unappealing graphics
- the sidebar is overflowing with ads and buttons
- there is no legal disclosure on what appears to be sponsored content or affiliate links
What says high-quality to a brand?
- a majority of posts are meaty (often lengthy) and provide answers, how-tos, encouragement, or help to readers
- the content is original and personal
- top content is featured in the sidebar
- images, colors, and fonts are appealing
- the blog navigation leads the reader to other valuable content on the site
Relevance to Industry is Very Important
Besides making that all-important first impression of the quality of your site, you also need to demonstrate the fit between your blog and the company you seek to work with. Although you may think this is obvious, go ahead and spell it out.
Remember that your blog has to be relevant on two levels.
- you yourself have to match the brand
- your readers have to be interested (at least potentially) in the brand
Explain both aspects in your pitch to the company. State your tagline or blogging vision/purpose if that shows your relevance to the brand. Give some demographics information as well. Who are your readers and why would they care about the brand you want to work with?
Personality of Blogger Is Also Very Important
What is your online reputation? What do your last 15 tweets say about you? Do you use social media to blast companies or vent your venom? Do your photos show you in situations that might be questionable to some companies? (Consider alcohol, clothing choices, political stances.)
Is your writing clear and positive or does it sound like a stream of consciousness therapy session? It can be hard to see how we look to outsiders, so getting feedback from others can be helpful here.
Your overall blog gives a taste of your personality, but a critical place to focus is your About page. Make sure that you have a clear photo of yourself, use your full name, and share details about who you are. No company wants to work with a mystery blogger. Read more about brand turn-offs here.
Comments and Engagement
Engagement is somewhat out of your control. You cannot make people comment or share your post. But if you are creating remarkable content, it will generate engagement on its own. So instead of begging for comments or shares from your blogging community, focus on providing that quality content from point one above.
A great tool for evaluating shares on social media is LinkTally.com. Share screenshots or stats from that tool with a company. Give them the link so they can verify your numbers. Share the link that shows what is pinned from your site so a company can evaluate your presence on Pinterest.
Don’t just say you get engagement, demonstrate it objectively.
Yes, companies want to see numbers, but they are the least important factor on this list. Include them, but don’t apologize for their being small. Share them proudly and honestly.
Google Analytics is the industry standard for blogging stats. You need to mention that your stats are coming from that measuring tool (not a stat counter, not JetPack). A screenshot is a nice way to show that you are being honest.
Have you seen great growth lately? Share those numbers! Do you have any testimonials from other companies in regards to how much traffic you sent? Share those.
Stats can be misleading. And companies already know that high numbers do not necessarily equate with engagement, clicks, or conversions.
For example, I was recently evaluating data from a campaign with twenty bloggers. As expected, the bloggers with lower traffic numbers had fewer clicks to the client’s site. However, the blogs that drove the most clicks were not from the mega-bloggers in the group. Surprisingly, it was the blogs with mid-level traffic that drove the majority of the engagement to the client’s site. Why? I think it goes back to the factors on this list. The sponsored content was on a blog with quality content and written by a blogger with a great online persona; therefore, it engendered engagement.
When you craft your pitch to a company, focus on these five areas and make sure you remember their importance. Don’t begin your email with your stats since they are not the primary factor. Instead, demonstrate the quality of your blog and your own character.
State very clearly in the opening what you are asking from the company and what you will do for them in return. Don’t make this busy person weed through four wordy paragraphs or open an attachment to see what the crux of your offer is. And worse, don’t send a generic inquiry email with no details whatsoever. It is your responsibility to offer a proposal to the company.
When you have a blog with quality content where your personality shines through and you clearly lay out a reasonable proposal where both sides benefit, most companies are eager to agree.
If you need help honing your pitch, creating a media kit, or devising a strategy for working with brands, I can help. See my special package just for bloggers.