Tuesday, 27 September 2016

How to Contact a Brand/PR as a Smaller Blogger


A while ago I wrote this post sharing my tips for working alongside brands as a blogger.

Quite a few of you were keen to know how to go about approaching a brand, I guess a simple, "hey" might not quite cut it but really it needn't be too complicated.

As someone who has dabbled into the world of PR I wanted to share a little bit of what I have learnt and share my insight from the other side - the dark side.

Joke.

Honestly brands aren't anywhere near as scary as you may think.

If you collab with a brand you will most likely be comminicating with a junior account manager who just wants to make up numbers and reach stats, not the big daddy who is sitting in their own swanky office judging you for every dodgy blog photo or silly typo you've ever made.

When I worked in PR I was put in charge of seeking out bloggers for several different clients who we could send out products to as well as inviting a select few to events, I spent hours every day emailing, calling and writing to bloggers so I can hopefully offer a little isight but most importantly I want to give YOU the confidence to go out there and get yourself noticed. 

First things first - you won't ever be easy to find.

This is so important, you won't just pop up on their screen when they are searching for bloggers to reach out to and unless you are in Gorkana then it is incredibly hard for a brand to actually find you (even if you do have your email in your bio). Unless you are the big guns in the blogging world and are instantly already known on their database then you kinda have to go to them.

I would usually email around 35/40 bloggers a day and would probably hear back from around 15 or 16 by the end of the week. This is why when I say that brands like it when you go to them, I am really not joking.

Who to Email.

Maybe don't start with the biggest company in London but search for some smaller companies, even if you don't have a brand in mind that you specifically want to work with it never does any harm to ask to be put on their database to be considered in the future. Although please ensure that you have researched their company, it is always nice to receive an email from a blogger who genuinely shows passion for a client, it is reassuring to know they aren't just in it for the freebie, after all PR's want to know that you will probably share some coverage once you have received the product, not just because you want a lovely gift.

Here are some PR companies that I know are often more than happy to send out products to smaller bloggers:

- Essence PR (primarily beauty)
- Taste PR (food and drink)
- Push PR (jewellery and beauty)

In regards to who to you should approach, it is always best to email the general press enquires department, a suitable email address should be easy to find via their website.
I find that emailing a PR company who represent a number of different brands is probably your best bet, generic 'blogger collaboration' emails will usually get forwarded to a suitable member of the team who can get back to you.

What To Include.

- A simple few sentences opening the email describing your blog style, whether it's mainly beauty, food, travel, fashion or something else entirely, if you don't fit the type of clients then it's probably not worth even trying.
- Your social media links! So important, the last thing I wanted to ever have to do was go through google to find your social media, not becasue I couldn't be bothered but because people who work in PR are incredibly busy! They also receive about 50, 8779 emails a day so don't be alarmed if you don't receive a reply really quickly.
- Your rates if you do want to charge - As a smaller blogger myself I have no interest in earning anything from my blog right now, I just want to expand it but if you do want to charge for your time then that is completely fine just please state that in your email as most smaller companies simply don't have it in the budget to pay smaller bloggers and it will save a number of emails going back and forth for both parties.
- Mention what they will get in return, if you are happy to tweet, share on Instagram and write a post then say so, the more coverage you can give them the more inclined they will be to work with you.
- End the email with a simple 'thank you' and 'hope to hear from you soon'.

Some Extra Little Pointers 

- Be chatty, be relatable and don't be a robot! Mundane business like emails may be preferred by some people but I always loved a much more friendly tone.
- Please also ensure you have an email address that is either your name or has you blog name featured in it, something like discochick98@hotmail.com is as sassy af but honestly when trying to reply to you there is a good chance I have lost the email amongst my million of others and I just wanna be able to find you easily.
- Don't keep on sending follow up emails, another a few days later won't hurt as a friendly reminder, you should receive a reply either way but keeping on sending emails will just get a little irritating.
- If you don't hear back then dont be defeated, there are a billion PR companies out there and if they can't be bothered to reply to you then they aren't worth your time anyway, as long as you have been polite and lovely then you can hold your head up high.
- Please don't feel embarrassed, I would have never dismissed a blogger just because they didn't have a few thousand or even a few hundred followers on Twitter or if they used their iphone to take blog photos. Every blogger has to start somewhere!

An example of an email that always went down well.

See, it's as simple as that! I used to receive about 2/3 of these style emails a day either directly or forwarded on from my boss, I loved them as they made my job just that little bit easier and if you are passionate, have a decent following and a clean layout then you stand a very good chance of being noticed.

I hope this has given you the push you needed to maybe go out and there and reach out to brands. I can't promise that it will get you anywhere but in my experience it is very much worth a go.

Good luck! 
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If you want more PR/Blogger Tips then check out my post on my 8 Blogger Tips from a PR's Perspective.