If you’re considering pitching to brands or have been reaching out to companies for a while with the hope of forming a sponsored partnership with little success then read on to see how you can improve your elevator pitch. These are my top dos and don’ts when pitching to brands. Are you making these vital mistakes when offering your services?
There is nothing more rewarding as a freelancer or content creator than landing your first brand collaboration or getting the opportunity to work with your dream brand! As somebody who has a lot of experience working both as a content creator/blogger/vlogger, as well as owning my own brand and managing influencer collaborations, I’ve got a pretty good idea on what makes a successful partnership. Although these tips are aimed more towards influencers, bloggers and content creators, you may also want to take some of these points into consideration when applying for a new job position. I’ve been running my own businesses and hiring team members for over 14 years. During that time, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and subsequently recruiting some very impressive talent. On the other hand, I’ve also had to sift through many unsuccessful applications and cover letters. You might be completely unaware that you’re making these mistakes when reaching out to secure brand sponsorships. If so, I’ve listed some helpful advice on how to reword your pitch in order to increase your chances of getting a positive response.
What You Should and Shouldn’t Do When Pitching to Brands
DON’T: Address the recipient in a generic way
Try not to address the recipient in a general way, such as starting your email with a simple “Hi”, “Hello” or Dear Sir/Madam”. These emails can look spammy and if the person’s name is clearly visible all over their website, it will make you look careless for missing this essential detail prior to pitching.
DO: Spend the extra time trying to research the name of the person you’re contacting
In the world of the internet, it’s easy to find the name and contact details for individuals working in each department of a company through a simple Google search, via the brand’s website or even on LinkedIn. Spending the extra time finding the correct contact person shows that you’re professional and not just reaching out a brand in the hope of landing a paid deal. Also, if you’re unable to do something as simple as finding and spelling the contact person’s name correctly when it’s splashed all over their website, the brand will lose faith in your abilities to perform the simplest of tasks and you won’t be considered a favourable candidate.
DON’T: Make your pitch all about you!
There is nothing more off-putting for a brand owner than hearing how you, as the content creator, will benefit from working together with no mention of what we (the brand) are getting out of this. I’ve received so many of these kinds of pitches and not only do we never work with those applicants, we also don’t prioritise responding to them either.
So, for example, we’ve received job proposals from candidates wanting to work for Minnirella Magazine, which offers a full-time salary, flexible working opportunities, access to cool press trips, glamorous events, free products, trips abroad and interview opportunities with affluential public figures. Ideally, we’d be looking for candidates who love magazines, have read our magazine and can offer us both editorial experience and the willingness to add value to our company. When individuals reach out and tell us that they don’t read or buy magazines, they’ve never read our magazine but would really enjoy going on free trips abroad, film premieres and launch events – you can probably see why this kind of applicant wouldn’t appeal to us.
DO: Show the brand how they will benefit from working with you
At Minnirella, we know that whether we’re hiring for a position within the fashion brand or magazine, or working with influencers, we know that we’re offering a great package to prospective applicants. We offer travel and free trips to cool events. We offer a well paid and flexible work-from-home position opportunity. Our products are high quality, affordable luxury pieces that are loved by all of our customers. Brands know what they’re offering, so don’t repeat this information in your pitch by focusing on what we’re offering you. What sets successful and unsuccessful influencers and job applicants apart is what you can offer us!
DON’T: Work with brands or pitch for sponsorships that don’t fit your niche or audience
I’ve known of so many cases when the reputations and engagement of both brands and influencers have plummeted because of unauthentic advertorial partnerships. So if you’ve become known for conveying a specific message to your followers and then work with a brand that doesn’t align with that message, you could risk losing your audience’s trust, which can be difficult to fix. This can also be damaging for the brand when their followers see that they’ve partnered with an influencer that isn’t a good fit for their brand.
We’ve had influencers wanting to work with us in exchange for payment and/or the most expensive item in our store, (perhaps a £250 bag) despite openly promoting across their platforms that they’re all about budget, high-street fashion and have a well known shopping series entitled: “Budget outfits for £10 or less!” There is nothing wrong with their style of content but clearly, it doesn’t match our brand’s values or product range and we wouldn’t be a good fit with their audience. What’s more is that the influencer’s audience will wonder why they’re following an account that is all about budget-friendly fashion and then see a promotional post for £200+ handbags. It would be the same if you are a luxury, high-end influencer and then start promoting high-street fashion and bargain beauty – if it’s not something you typically promote then don’t do it.
DO: Stick to authentic brand partnerships and work with brands you genuinely enjoy
In the beginning, it can be tempting to work with any brand that offers you free products or payment in return for exposure. However, if you’re serious about your long-term goals and success as a content creator, it’s better to only promote brands and products that fit your niche, audience and that you actually support. Respect your audience and don’t try to push a product that you wouldn’t genuinely recommend if you weren’t being paid to do so.
DON’T: Join social media engagement pods to fake genuine engagement!
When presenting your media kit and stats to potential brands, it’s easy to get hung up on follower count and engagement. Although factors such as social media algorithms can be frustrating when they’re not working in your favour, do not succumb to joining Instagram pods and other engagement groups. It is so easy to spot when an influencer is part of an Instagram pod or engagement group for any other platform, so just don’t do it. If you highlight the fact that you’re getting good engagement on social media and are found out to be part of an Instagram pod or similar, you will quickly gain a bad and untrustworthy reputation. Don’t forget that it’s a small world and word soon get round!
DO: Pitch your channels with the best, most authentic engagement
There is room for all kinds of content creators, from those who focus primarily on owned media, such as their blogs and mailing lists, to those who have found best results on social media. If you get outstanding engagement and conversion rates on your blog and from your newsletter then focus on highlighting these in your media kit. If you have a blog that you’ve abandoned but have built a loyal following on social media with good, authentic engagement then show off the benefits of using this platform to create content for a brand.
I hope you found that helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!