I USED TO PROCRASTINATE AND BE RELUCTANT TO REACH OUT AND INTRODUCE MYSELF FOR FEAR OF REJECTION, LOOKING STUPID OR SAYING THE WRONG THINGS
One of my favourite things to write about (as you can probably tell!) is all things blogging. It’s still something that’s forever changing, throwing up new challenges and in need of perspective. I LOVE reading others thoughts about the current goings on in the blogosphere, what needs addressing and singing others praises and supporting one another. I also really enjoy sharing my current musing, how my blog and thoughts towards blogging have progressed over the years and things I’ve learnt along the way. I’ve written previously about working with brands and my advice on earning money from blogging, as well as my article about blogging being a respected career, that was featured in The Blogosphere Magazine. So I thought it was about time I talked all things outreach; something that’s been on my mind recently.
I’ve been full time blogging for over a year now (read about the highs and lows here) and within the last 4 months I’ve been particularly pro active with my outreach, because I’m definitely not Zoella and I definitely don’t expect everything to fall into my lap. When speaking to others it seems a lot of people are a little wary to reach out, shy or don’t know what to do. From someone who used to be reluctant to ask for things in fear of rejection; here’s my tips on outreaching to brands, getting those collabs in the works and how to be a pro active blogger, whether you’ve been at it for 4 years or 4 days.
Let’s get one thing out the way; Yes, there will be rejections, no’s and email replies frostier than Tilda Swinton in Narnia. You can’t let the mere thought of this put you off. I’m THE WORST for this and procrastinate for as long as possible, but then I learnt that the won’t get you anything. Don’t ask, don’t get; a forever annoying quote often whined at you by teachers, but also painfully true. Yes, lots of PR companies and brands are looking for potential bloggers/influencers (I don’t even know what we’re called anymore!) on social media and may well stumble across you and shoot you an email. But judging by the way Instagram is behaving for me at the moment, I’ve started to take things into my own hands, so if there’s a brand I want to work with, why shouldn’t I introduce myself? Just know that you might not get a reply, you might get a little bit of false hope or just be told that you’re not what they’re looking for. This is perfectly okay, you won’t be suited to everyones brand, just like you yourself might not like the clothes in a certain store. Similarly, if you use these blogging apps I talked about here, that help you make money from content creation, it can be pretty disheartening when you follow a brief religiously, only to be told they don’t like it. But such is life and for every brand that doesn’t appreciate your work or feel like it’s their right fit, there’s another waiting in the pipeline that’s going to suit you just perfectly! Take the constructive criticism on board, chase people up with a second, friendly email if you feel it may have accidentally been missed and actively look to improve.
HOW DO I START, WHO DO I CONTACT?
Reaching out to PR companies (who handle various different brands and niches) as well as individual brands is similar to them reaching out to you. You both want to build a relationship and you identify that their brands/brand suit your blog and what you’re about. There’s a few different ways to reach out, I personally introduce myself, say hi and why I think this could be a mutually beneficial relationship. (making sure to make it easily accessible to check out my socials – I usually have a standard Signature at the bottom of my emails with my Logo and any links) The other way I reach out is if I’m working on a particular project, such as a trip abroad, seasonal features or lookbooks. Explain your pitch, many PR’s I’ve spoken to have said they find it shows a lot more integrity when you pitch a specific idea to them and how their brand fits in. Tell them your reach, your social numbers and who the project will reach. Link example work, tell them why it would benefit them and why you’d like to have them on board.
Make a shortlist of brands – keep your principles and only approach people you’re passionate about, blogging, for me, should be like recommending products to your best girls. There’s no point being a sell out and endorsing things you don’t like – I spoke about being an honest blogger here, which I think is super important. Follow and interact with PR companies on Instagram and twitter, a good way to pop onto their radar. (without being obsessive, obvs!) A quick google search of PR companies, searching for specific brands PR contact and addresses will often present you with a plethora of emails. Diary Directory is a HAVEN for events, emails and everything in beauty PR. (but comes at a subscription price) Also, there is NO HARM in popping someone a friendly and polite DM on Instagram asking for a press contact, many brands contact me this way and it works the other way too. Again, it doesn’t always equal in a reply, depending on how often they check, but it’s worth a shot!
DO’S, DON’TS AND EMAIL ETIQUETTE
For the record, I can’t recommend doing outreach enough – it makes me feel good, pro-active and has opened up so many doors than if I just sat back! I would say do your research; approaching brands who are media savvy and up to date is best, especially if you see they already work with influencers. Some are still not entirely clued up on the benefits of influencer marketing and for others, it just doesn’t float their boat. (fair enough!) Have a structure for your emails, but don’t copy and paste. Make it personable, talk about why you love what they do/who they represent and why you want to be involved with them. Try and address first names if it’s not the email, but don’t panic if it’s just a general press email. Be warm, friendly but professional and be open to negotiate when it comes to partnerships. It’s always scary discussing payment (I still panic years on haha!) but not everyone will have a budget and not all campaigns or offers will suit you. Don’t promise things you can’t deliver and always leave enough time for content creation and approval for drafts.
No one wants to work with a colleague who is grumpy, moany, or demanding so make yourself a crazy, total pleasure to deal with – this is the ultimate combination for getting repeat work or having PR’s consistently approach you. Go above and beyond where you can, reply promptly, offer loads of creative ideas to a brief and how why you’d be an asset. PLEASE double check your emails, putting the wrong name, brand and copy and pasting will probably ensure you don’t ever hear back (if it was a real mistake just follow up with a quick apology!) Whether you’re getting paid in a £3 lipstick or £3,000, work with the same dedication and put your spin on everything you do. If you’re reliable and deliver great and re-usable content that is valuable to the brand, you’ll always be a PR’s go-to contact whenever they have suitable projects!
SHOP THE OUTFIT
I really hope you guys found this one helpful – I’d love to hear what you found the most interesting and what your thoughts on outreach are – have you done it, has it been a success or are you putting it off? As always I’m here for a chat – love getting to know you all!
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Photography by Ben Kapur