Reviews are an incredible way to monetize your site, social, or channel.
The problem is spending money to get products to review.
This is a huge cost especially when you’re first starting. You could begin with what’s around the place, but you’ll run out fast. Plus, what you have may not be what your audience wants to see.
Did you know you could pitch brands and get free products to review?
Many are open to the idea.
This is one part of influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is when brands tap popular, influential personalities to promote products to their audience and followers. It’s usually done through sponsored posts. The message bypasses traditional channels while resonating in ways advertising and marketing cannot replicate – the trust factor.
You see this a lot on Instagram.
Or on mom blogs.
Or in YouTube videos.
These personalities aren’t going out of their way, buying the thing, and making the video. They’re leveraging their authority and influence to get brands coming to them!
You, too, can get in on this action – we’ll show you how.
How to Collaborate with Brands and Businesses
There are really only two things to remember when pitching for free stuff to blog about:
- Be confident
- Don’t get hung-up
A brand will spend thousands – sometimes millions – of dollars on individual advertising and marketing campaign. They’ll drop thousands for a local ad in a small-town newspaper without batting an eye.
Don’t be afraid of working with brands because you’re “unknown”.
The fact you have a site, social accounts, and maybe a video channel is enough to get their attention. If you get decent traffic and built a community then you’ve got an opportunity for collaboration.
Likewise, don’t throw out your principles or waste time working with troublesome brands.
There are thousands of brands wanting to tap into influencer marketing. Move on if they’re hesitant or give you the run-around because there are always more willing to collaborate.
With that in mind – let’s get to it.
What You Need Before Pitching Brands
The prior was the mentality, let’s get to the specifics:
- Niche: Your niche authority (what you talk about) needs clarity because you’re not pitching every brand. You want to pitch brands within your niche. This increases the chance they’ll entertain the idea, and it ensures their products reach the right audience if they agree.
- Traffic: You should probably wait until your site is receiving about 10,000+ visitors a month to really make a mark. Your social media accounts should have a couple hundred and show regular activity. Your YouTube channel should have a couple hundred subs, too. It’s not exact but brands want to get in front of lots of engaged followers.
- Options: Everyone is looking to pitch brands to do blog post reviews. Bring something different offering them podcasting, video, infographics, or a different media type. This gives your pitch extra value since it’s distributed across several channels and mediums.
- Integrity: Consider how well your audience trusts your judgment and recommendations. Also, how true you’ll stick to principles and integrity. Brands want positive mentions but understand authenticity. Don’t sell out to brands and lose your fans.
- Media Kit (Optional): This gets passed around and wouldn’t hurt. But, your ‘about me’ and social media accounts probably take care of this aspect. The media kit is if they need headshots, community details, stats, etc.
Brands are looking for exposure.
They also want to be the brand in front of your audience.
This means you may want to shift away from advertising at least while you’re in pitch-mode. Or, use those traffic and ad stats as leverage when pitching brands. Stats speak louder than promises.
There’s obviously the technical – channels and platforms – so build them:
- Start a website or blog
- Create a Facebook page
- Know how to do social marketing
- Explore a YouTube channel
Got ‘em? Good.
The Step-by-Step to Pitching Brands for Freebies
Would you send some random tons of stuff? Of course not.
Don’t expect brands to do it either.
Try a few tricks to ease into it:
Step 1: Research Competitors and Ads
Use BuzzSumo to find popular bloggers, social users, and YouTube channels in your niche. Use SpyFu to discover what brands advertise for specific products, services, or keywords. Compile the brands into a list with contact details.
Step 2: Create a Rapport
Get on the brand’s radar:
- Tweet or send a message
- Share their content on social
- Write a review if you own their product
A lot of brands monitor social and online mentions putting you on their radar. This step is all about creating an initial rapport (talking back and forth), building a proto-relationship.
Step 3: Narrow the Product Selection
Take the list you created with BuzzSumo and SpyFu to choose a couple products.
You want to make this as easy-as-possible without costing a lot. They’re not going to send their flagship product, remember? Start small to test the waters and show your value.
Step 4: Send the Pitch
There are a couple ways of doing this but the three easiest are:
We say LinkedIn because it’s professional and where many deals are brokered. You bypass everyone and get to chat with the marketing people. Or, directly with a business owner.
Twitter is great either calling them out in public or sending DMs. Brands are always monitoring their social for customer service – use this opportunity to get info or do the pitch.
Email might get read – try something basic:
Hi [Person – Find them on LinkedIn or About Us],
My name is [Your Name].
I run the blog [Your Blog] and active on [Social Channel(s), YouTube, ETC.].
I’d love to talk about your brand and its products on my site and social media accounts. Would there be a way I could receive a review copy or sample to review? I have [Traffic Stats / Community Numbers] excited to learn about the [Specific Product].
I look forward to our collaboration.
Step 5: Follow Up
Don’t wait for them to get in touch if a few days pass.
Send a follow-up email, tweet, or ping to see if they’re interested.
If they do respond:
- Send the necessary contact details
- Follow through with the review
- Promote it like crazy to your followers
If they don’t respond:
- Move on to the next brand
- Refine your pitch and method
- Repeat until you land a collab
Congrats. You’ve got a collaboration!
Remember to read the terms & conditions – and include your disclaimers whenever you’re doing these collaborations and sponsorships.
Platforms to Find Collaboration and Sponsorships
Feeling introverted and want a third-party negotiating the collaboration?
Try one of the following influencer marketing platforms:
These platforms connect brands to creators brokering deals.
The channels have high standards – often commanding thousands of followers – so try pitching if you’ve yet to hit those marks. Otherwise, have at them and see what comes through. Remember, too, they’ll take a cut, and some have strict disclosures.
Get the Collaborations Going
Use your authority and influence, and land a few, sweet collaborations and free products. This is an awesome way to jumpstart your online money making and affiliate marketing.
What’s the worst that could happen when pitching brands? A no.
There’s a huge upside if they say yes, though.