Friday, 22 April 2016

Guide to Reaching Out to Brands




If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I work with quite a quite a lot of different brands and I’d say that around 70% of the ones I have worked with so far have been ones I have reached out to myself.

I’m definitely not an expert and I don’t think there is a definitive right or wrong way to reach out to brands, however I thought I would share with you how I do it and some tips that have helped me along the way.


Why do you reach out to brands?


I personally have been reaching out to brands for around a year now, as that was when I started organising my first ever blogger event. The way I do it has changed dramatically, however I find that it’s much more successful now, which is why I wanted to share some of what I have learnt with you. Basically, so you don’t make the same mistakes I have…

The reason I do it however, is because I am proud of my blog and how far it has come. I love introducing people to new brands and I absolutely love searching for people I might want to work with, it’s so much fun. I 100% believe that if there’s a dream brand you want to work with, or any for that matter, you should try contacting them. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose.

Who should reach out?


I’d love the answer to this to be anyone; however I think the best time to start reaching out to brands is when you feel you have something you can offer them - like a specific idea or being shared with X amount of followers. If you’ve written a couple of posts and are in your first few weeks of blogging it’s probably not ideal reaching out yet, however if you work hard and hang in there, you will reach that stage quicker than you think.

Those people looking to grow their blog, discover new and interesting brands and share the things they love with their friends and followers should definitely starting thinking about reaching out to brands.

When should you reach out?


There are no rules or numbers that determine when you should reach out, however I will say don’t do it until you have a couple of examples of brands you have collaborated with through them contacting you.

What brands do you contact?


I always contact brands that I want to work with and that are in line with my blog style, otherwise I’d feel like I am not being truthful to myself and my blog.

I think it’s important to remember that you can’t work with everyone, and you probably shouldn’t try either. There is absolutely no point in me contacting a company that sells olives and hummus because I don’t like either of those things and if I was sent something to review, I wouldn’t eat it or write about it.

I feel that a lot of people want to work with everyone and anyone that they can, even if it’s not necessarily something they write about - it’s just another “freebie” to add to the list. If you’re reaching out to brands they will be able to tell if you’re doing this.

How and where do you find contacts?


I find a lot of brands to contact through Twitter by scrolling through different hashtags, or just by scrolling through my feed. If a brand looks interesting and like something I want to research more, I screen shot it so that I remember to check them out when I have time. Other places I look include Bloglovin, LinkedIn, Instagram and by searching Google.  

When looking for the right contact for PR and Marketing I have a couple of different methods. First of all I check the website, if they don’t have it listed on their site I will email their general contact email asking who the best person to contact would be. Other places you can find PR contacts email addresses are on Twitter and LinkedIn, especially if you search hard enough.


How do you approach them?


PR’s are people just like you, so the most important thing to do is be polite. Introduce yourself and you blog and tell them what you think you have to offer. As I do a lot of research on brands beforehand I always mention what I like about the brand, whether it's something they've been doing recently, a particular campaign they've done or something personal to the brand. 

Don’t email a brand and ask for free stuff, simply pitch your idea and say you’d like to be added to their list for press releases or that you’d like to work with them on any upcoming campaigns they may have.

I add a couple of examples of work I have done that falls into a similar category, so they can see exactly what kind of content I would be producing if we were to work together in the future.

The worst a PR or brand can do is say no, but if you are someone they would be interested in working with you may find that they want to work with you straight away. If not they will more than likely get a response saying that you have been added to their list for consideration when it comes to future collaborations.

This is okay - I’ve had brands come back to me that have said this.


How do you keep track of who you have contacted?


I use a spread sheet (it’s way too much to put in my Bullet Journal) as it’s the most effective way of keeping track of the brand, your contacts name, the date you contacted them and the outcome. It’s hard work, but stops any duplication.

I haven’t reached out to a brand more than once as I haven’t felt the need to yet, however I think further down the line this list will be extremely helpful as I can catch up with those brands that have told me to reach out at a later date.

What do you do if someone doesn’t reply?


When I first started out there was nothing more worrying that a brand that didn’t respond. I have a handy Chrome extension from Hubspot called ‘Sidekick’ that shows me when people have opened my emails, so I know that people had read and completely ignored my emails and I always wondered what I had done wrong.

Now unanswered emails don’t bother me as much as I have come to realise that it’s a two way system, the brand has to be as interested in you as you are them and this sometimes isn’t the case. How many times do you ignore an email from a brand that doesn’t interest you? It’s exactly the same for them.

What are the benefits of reaching out to brands?


In my opinion there are so many benefits to reaching out to brands, including:
  • You get to work with brands that you love.
  • It encourages you to go out and look for new brands to try and share with people.
  • You learn valuable sales skills as you're effectively pitching and selling your blog with every email.
  • You build your confidence.
  • You end up with some amazing content for your blog.
  • You build strong relationships with the people behind the brand, which is never a bad thing as you never know how that relationship can develop in the future.
  • It helps make your blog a brand.

Are there any negatives to reaching out to brands?

Of course, as with anything, there are negatives to reaching out with brands however I don't let these hold me back.
  • It can be time consuming at times. It takes a lot to keep track of everything, but if you don't it will more than likely become complicated and messy. 
  • Some brands can be rude as a lot of them don't understand the benefits of working with bloggers.

What are your top tips?


1. Don't be scared. If you want something then you shouldn't let fear get in the way of you chasing it, even if it is something as small as contacting a brand you like the look of. 

2. Don't let it get you down if you don't get a response. Not every brand will want to work with you but that doesn't make you a bad blogger. You've just got to find someone who loves you as much as you love them. 

3. Don't lose track of emails. I have organised all my folders now so I can easily see what stage every email is at  very similar to a sales management process.

4. Don't try too much at once. If you end up finding a of contacts spread them out into categories and contact a few from each category at a time so your content is varied. 

5. Remember, brands get a lot of requests each day. Keep it short and sweet, they don't have time to read paragraph on paragraph about how you started your blog. 

6. Don't suggest products you want unless you're asked, unless of course you have a very specific idea and only one product fits in with the post you've planned. 

I hope my advice helped and has encouraged you to reach out to a couple of brands. If you do, I'd love to know the outcome. Let me know in the comments below. 

Lots of love, 


If you enjoyed this, you can follow me on social media to keep up to date and never miss a post! 



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6 comments

  1. This is such a brilliant post, really helpful and I'd never even think of reaching out to brands myself!
    💕 Lucy
    lucyitm.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a really helpful post.. I've never contacted a brand before but this has got me thinking that maybe I should! If you don't ask, you don't get I suppose! xxx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am SO glad you've posted this - although I'm not ready to reach out to brands yet, this is really helpful for when (hopefully) the time comes! Definitely saving it to look back on - thank you!!
    Nicky | teaandtakeaways.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a really great post - I have been reaching out to brands for about 4/5 months now and have found it's going quite well. I've taken away some helpful tips from this post though. Thank you! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love this post! Will definitely take a lot of idea from this!
    I haven't considered working with brands yet as only started in January and am pretty new to the whole life of it!
    So helpful love your blog xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awesome post! Really useful :)

    www.eboniivory.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

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