Business of Blogging: How to get your E-mail read
Luke is ONE MONTH old
I’ve put off writing this post for awhile. I’m concerned about it coming off wrong for some reason. But, I decided to just write it and hope it’s helpful for you if you are a business owner wanting to work with a blogger!
Given survey’s I’ve done in the past, I’ve learned that quite a few of my readers here are bloggers as well! I miss the dynamics of blog conferences, and discussing the business of blogging with other bloggers, so I thought I’d incorporate a post or two every once in awhile here on the blog.
Over the few years I’ve been blogging, I’ve been pitched different opportunities. From sponsored posts, to social media mentions, to simply accepting a product with zero strings attached in the hopes that I like it and share about it organically, there are a lot of different ways to work with influential bloggers, and I’ve seen it done really well and not so well.
My angle, with this post, is to help you with your initial pitch e-mail to a blogger to begin a collaborative relationship. This is the first impression you make so it’s important that it’s done right.
Which blogger(s) should you reach out to?
Reach out to a blogger you think fits your style and brand, instead of just the blogger with the biggest following. If YOU think the blogger would actually carry your zip pouch based on the style you’ve seen her post about on her site, then SHE will be more likely to agree. If you sell neon orange zip pouches, and you’ve never seen her post about anything brightly colored or neon, maybe look for a different blogger. Your goal should be to find someone that really loves your product, and would naturally tell her friends about it.
Understand what kind of relationship you want to get into.
From a bloggers perspective, I take every single one of my partnerships very seriously. I give them great thought, and determine whether or not they fit in with my lifestyle, aesthetic and would be something I naturally write about/share about anyway. Blog readers can be extremely sensitive about feeling like they are “sold to”, so a partnership with you (business owner) would *hopefully* be something the blogger takes quite seriously. I’ve declined lucrative collaboration proposals, that even fall within my lifestyle, because I didn’t feel like it was something I would naturally write about.
So, when a blogger says “yes” to you about working together, they are saying “yes” to more than just accepting a monetary payment or free product. They are saying “yes” to aligning with your brand, agreeing to promote your product(s) that they believe in, and exchanging valuable space on their blog in order to highlight your business.
Know the value of what a blogger brings to the table.
This is kind of just an extension of what I wrote above, but if you understand the value a blogger can bring, you can better establish the parameters of your working relationship to a place where you both benefit.
So, let’s get into that initial pitch email. Here are some basic suggestions to follow:
1. Address the blogger by name in the subject line + email. You would not believe how many mass e-mails I get that start with “hey blogger!” or “hey smallthingsblog.com”! It’s an instant turn off and usually that e-mail doesn’t get read.
2. Include images of your brand/product/business. I’m always surprised to read e-mails offering a product without a single link or image included! As evidenced by the huge success of Pinterest, images speak volumes! Always include an image or two of the exact product you’d like to collaborate on, or a general sampling of what your business offers!
3. Use bullet points near the top of your message. E-mail is the bane of most bloggers’ existence. We get thrown onto mass e-mail lists without warning, so the spammy e-mails create a lot of congestion in the inbox. If I open up an e-mail that looks like a pitch or collaboration, I want to skim the high points, see an image of the product/brand, and then determine whether or not I want to commit a few minutes to reading through it and checking out the brand.
4. Explain, briefly, why you want to work with that specific blogger. “We love your hair tutorials, so we think our hair accessories would integrate perfectly in with your content!” is the sort of thing a blogger wants to see. It makes it personal, intentional, and gives the blogger an answer to “why should I work with this brand?”
5. Consider offering an “ideal” timeline. If left too open-ended, the blogger may mark your e-mail as unread, and get to it in a few weeks. But, if you are looking to promote a certain item prior to a holiday, for example, clarify that in the e-mail so even if you get declined, you’ll know where the blogger stands. “We’d love to work with you” is more likely to get pushed to the back burner than “We’d love for you to wear our jewelry right before Valentine’s Day!”
All that being said, sometimes even the most perfect seeming partnerships come at the wrong time, for either end of the spectrum. So, if you get declined initially, try again in a few months with a fresh idea. If you never hear back from the blogger, I don’t think a follow up e-mail is too much of a burden, but only follow up once.
Again, like I said at the beginning, I hope this helps you if you are reaching out to bloggers! The timing of this post is maybe not ideal, considering I’m on maternity leave, but I hope this sparks a healthy discussion in the comments below! Questions directed to me may not get answered in a timely manner.