How to Reach Out and Collaborate with Brands as a Blogger

One question I get a lot is : 
“how do you reach out to brands and create collaborations?” 

As a microinfluencer,
I’ve been able to work with Zulily, American Eagle Outfitters, Nordstrom (TheThread Blog), the Seahawks Pro Shop, Shop Tobi, Lauren by Ralph Lauren and
more. So I’m here to share the process of collaboration with brands.

Before I launch into the methods
of reaching out to brands,  
let’s first ask yourself these three question.

American Eagle Outfitters Collaboration | Miriam Subbiah Photography

1. Do you have original, high quality content?

Whether its fashion, beauty, or
lifestyle, are you sharing quality photos, videos, or well written content? If
you aren’t consistently producing high quality content on your social media
channels or your blog, this should be your focus before pitching yourself to
brands.

Being consistent is different to everyone. Whether you publish a blog
post once a week or twice a month, or post on Instagram every day – you have to
be present. When a brand reaches out to you, they want their products and
services to be presented in a feasible time frame and in the best light. 

2. Have you establish a following?

For a blog, are you driving over
100 daily visitors? For Instagram, do you have over 1,000+ followers? A
following paves the way to influence. And your influence is what’s going to
appeal to brands. 

3. Is your audience engaged?

In both platforms, are you
followers commenting, liking, or resharing your photos or posts? The best way
to raise engagement is to be engaged yourself. Are you liking and commenting
other Instagram accounts or blogs? Are brands already tweeting you back?

*By the way, some brands weigh
having more followers than a higher engagement rate. While some brands don’t
look at size of following and look at a high engagement rate. It’s important to
have all three things because it strengthens your personal brand and shows
other brands than you can also represent their products or services.  


How to decide which brands do you reach out:

Third Love Bra Collaboration | Holly Phan Photography

1. What do you write or make videos about?

The
best way I do this is I focus on the type of content I want to create. I
mainly write about fashion, career, and lifestyle post. So I mainly
work with clothing companies because they fit in with all three. But
I’ve also worth with skincare products, food, and spas because they fit
the lifestyle section on Emma’s Edition.


2. Make a list

After
you’ve decided what spaces you’re going to create content in, make a
list of companies you’d like to work with. I recommend thinking about
what type of products or services your audience usually engages with or
you think would appeal to them. 

 Lauren by Ralph Lauren | Miriam Subbiah Photography



How to pitch to brands and land collaborations in three ways:

1. You reach out directly to brands via email or direct message on
Instagram.


How to find the right email address to reach a brand:

If there is a brand you want to
work with, go to their website and look for an email address to directly reach
the brand. Under the “Contact Us” section, I would look for either a press,
partnership, or general email address. 

If you can’t find the right email
address, I would go to Instagram and hit “email” on their account. An email box
should open and you can find an email address there.

How to email a brand for a collaboration:

  • Here is what you need to include
    in the email pitch for the brand:

  • Who you are, what your blog is + what you blog
    about
  • What you love about the brand and why you are
    reaching out to them today
  • Include your media kit, a link to your blog,
    and Instagram. A media kit has your social media channels, number of followers,
    and stats about your blog. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend going
    to Etsy and buying a premade media kit.

  •  Examples of previous brand collaborations or
    any related work that shows you’re a good fit for working with the brand. Here
    is an example email I would send:

Subject Line: Requesting to
Collaborate with (Brand)

Message:

Hi (Brand),

My name is Emma Cortes and I’m a
Seattle Lifestyle/Fashion blogger. My blog Emma’s Edition is focused around
fashion, career, and life tips. You can also find me on Instagram @emmasedition. I love
(brands) products and have been wearing (brand) for years. I’m reaching out
today in hopes of working with (brand) for a vacation look book.

Here are a few examples of some past brand
collaborations:

5
Tips to End Summer in Style with Nordstrom
| Nordstrom – The Thread Blog

6
Tips to Find Great Clothes at Thrift Stores
| Value Village

The
New American Girl
| American Eagle Outfitters

If (brand) is interested in working together, please
feel free to reach out to me at emmasedition@emmasedition.com.
Attached is my media kit for your reference.

Sincerely,

Emma Cortes

*For instagram, you can’t attach a media kit. I would recommend sending a shortened version of your email*

2. The brands or their PR companies reach out to you.

Believe it or not, most of my
major campaigns are when brands reach out to me. These companies found me (I’m
assuming) through Instagram or my blog. I’m not a massive blogger (sitting
comfortably at 12,000+ followers). I truly believe my consistent content – blog
post and high quality photos that attracted these incredible companies and
collaborations. 

3. By referral

Some of my collaborations come by
some of my blogger friends referring me to the brand. I also do the same for my
other blogger friends. Brands have come to me and ask if there are any other
bloggers they’d recommend for their brand.
If I believe a friend would be a
great fit for the campaign, I’m not afraid to tell the brand to consider my
friend

Some people were surprised to
find out that I let other brands know of other bloggers who reach out to. Some
people asked me if I was afraid that referring other bloggers would take away
from my brand’s collaborations. I believe in community over competition. I also absolutely believe that if a brand wants to
work with you – because of who you are and the high quality content you
produce, they will work with you.

 Shop Tobi Collaboration | Miriam Subbiah Photography


The Details of the Blog Collaboration

Now that you’ve reached out to the brand, hopefully have gotten a response, it’s important to discuss a few things:

1. To work for free, or not work for free: that is the
question.

Let me first say that it’s tough to ask to be paid. But it’s
also tough to schedule a photographer, style an outfit, pick a shoot location,
and write an original 200-500 word post on a product. 

How much to charge is
completely dependent on you.

How much is your time worth? How much do you pay
for photography? And how are you portraying the products or services in your
original way? Here are a few things to think about in terms of price:

Consider your time: 

I would recommend thinking about how much time it takes you
to create an entire sponsored campaign – from writing Instagram captions,
paying for photography, to writing a blog post. Take this hourly rate and
multiply by the hours
it takes you to produce the content and you get a rough
estimate on how much to charge. 

Size of Audience + Blog Stats: 

 I would also factor in how many page views, sessions, and
unique visitors you drive a month to your blog. If you’re driving over 4,000
sessions or 4,000 unique visitors to your blog and you have over 10,000 followers
on Instagram, you should charge. However, remember I’m not the blogging law
maker – this is just what I know from experience. 

Ask a Blogger Friend: 

Lastly, I highly recommend getting with your blogger friends
and ask them their opinions of your pricing structure. This was incredibly
helpful for me this past year. My friends first helped validated that I should
charge
and expressed their opinions about whether I was over or under charging.

When to work for free:

If you absolutely love the brand and are beyond excited to
be a part of their campaign, sometimes it is worth it to accept the gifted
product. You can also use your work from that brand collaboration to build up
your blog and pitch to future brand collaborations.

2. Ask the brand how they intend to use the content. 

While going back and forth about collaboration details, ask
the brand how they intend to use the photos shared on social media and your
blog. Do you they plan to use this for their social channels? Do they plan to
use this for email campaigns or their website? This is important to disclose because
brands can use your images on marketing materials without compensating you. 

Companies spend marketing budgets on hiring photographs,
models, and designing sets. They use these images for email campaigns, social
media, stores, etc. Those models are being paid because brands make money off
these marketing materials. 

Usually, I make sure that my content is only for social
media purposes because I can be tagged on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and
Pinterest. 

 



Personally, my blogging journey has been slow and steady. 

I’ve
always balanced blogging with college and working full time. I’m not driving
100,000 page views to my blog a month, but I do produce quality and consistent
content. I’ve accepted way too many gifted campaigns… but as of this year, I’m
charging brands.

And as I start my master’s program at the University of
Washington, continue to work full time for the Boeing Company, and blog – I have
to charge brands to make my time worth it. My bandwidth is more limited and I want to continue to make quality content for Emma’s Edition. 

Please remember that everyone is at a different
place in
their life – in their careers, blogs, and instagrams.
Brand
collaborations come
with time. Paid brand collaborations come with quality content,
experience, an engaged audience, and blog stats. No one is racing you to
get the most collaborations, your blogging journey is your own.

What was the most helpful part of this post? Is there
something you want explained more? What’s your advice when it comes to getting
brand collaborations?

Pin this post:

 Thank you for reading!

Love,
Emma

Photos: Holly Phan

14 Comments

  1. September 26, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    Pinned! Honestly this is the BEST blog post on this topic I've seen. It's honest, detailed and generally has great advice. I reach out to brands all the time and these are really great reminders!

  2. September 27, 2017 / 2:05 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences Emma! Always love reading your content!

  3. September 27, 2017 / 3:14 am

    This is seriously the best article I've read on this topic! So many people need to read this! Thank you for sharing xo

  4. September 27, 2017 / 10:04 am

    Love this so much. Your posts are always so informative.

  5. September 27, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Your post contained so much useful information! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. September 27, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    So helpful!!! Thanks for this, definitely going to use these tips.

  7. September 27, 2017 / 4:12 pm

    Loved this post Emma! I always feel lost when thinking about this part of blogging because I don’t have a huge following and never knew how to properly go about it! I got a big campaign a while ago that I was SO excited about and ended up not doing my best work for them because of my super busy schedule. I keep on thinking that no one will ever want to collaborate again because of the mistakes I made in that collaboration but as long as I work hard and try my best to come up with quality content I will gain confidence to try again! Loved the post!
    xx Victoria
    http://www.strungingold.com

  8. September 27, 2017 / 4:42 pm

    This was very helpful and answered the questions I wasn't even sure how to ask!

  9. September 27, 2017 / 8:12 pm

    This is an amazing post Emma, so many good details. AFter 3 years of blogging I am honestly still struggling with pitching…and in all the courses Ive taken..none of them explained as well as you have here! Write an ebook..fab info!

    Valerie

  10. September 28, 2017 / 5:57 am

    Great tips & so helpful to see your pitch letter for ideas!

  11. September 28, 2017 / 7:31 am

    I REALLY appreciate this entire post. I just reached 2000 followers and I've began to receive some outreach from brands, but I haven't reached out to them and that was my next step, so THANK YOU.

  12. September 30, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    I'm a freelance writer so this is super helpful! I want to write better pitches. I always feel like I don't represent myself as well as I should,and need to iron in on what I'm doing wrong.

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