Bloggers wear a lot of hats, and I don’t think we get enough credit for it.
For starters, if you still write blog posts or produce video content (and aren’t just on Instagram), you’re an editor. Heck, I also have to be a developer whenever things on my website go awry. We’re the art director, model, stylist, MUA and sometimes even the photographers for our photo shoots. We also do less glamorous things like bookkeeping and reviewing contracts daily. In short, usually, we’re doing about 7 or 8 jobs at any given time (it’s what makes every day pretty exciting!)
But the hardest “job” a blogger has, IMO? The marketing and PR. In order to make some of our partnership dreams come true, we have to pitch brands to get on their radar.
I might have had a head start in the pitching department since I majored in Public Relations in college, but I don’t think it’s something that comes naturally to most people. When I was first starting to partner with brands in 2012, I had to rely on what I learned at VCU to get me through. Fast forward to 2019, and there are hundreds of resources available to help you nail the perfect pitch.
Despite all these available resources, I still have friends that come to me and say their pitch fell on deaf ears. Before sending out a pitch, try to avoid making these blogging mistakes.
3 Blogging Mistakes
Mistake #1: Not Sharing Your Audience Demographics
If you want to work with brands, you’re going to want to get an accurate idea of who your audience is.
Analytics are going to be your best friend here: I frequently check my Google Analytics and Instagram Analytics to get an idea of the basics: what my audience’s age, gender, and location are. I know that my audience is mostly female, between the ages of 25-34, and 35% of my audience lives in the Mid-Atlantic. Knowing this info not only helps me pitch brands, but it also helps me create relevant content for my audience as well.
I also like to poll my audience regularly to learn even more about them and their lifestyle (Instagram Stories are a great way to do this.) I’ve dug deeper and asked if my followers were married and/or had children, what types of careers they have, what retailers they frequently shop at, etc. Once you get to know your audience, you can develop a unique angle for your story.
Mistake #2: Not Pitching Far Enough in Advance
I am 100% guilty of this one, but sometimes it takes a long time for companies to get approval for a collaboration. If you have a time-sensitive project (ex. wanting to collaborate for an event, a seasonal topic, or for travel), the farther out in advance you pitch, the better.
If you have a time-sensitive pitch, I would try to pitch a minimum of 2 months before your event/trip/post live date, if not longer. However, I wouldn’t pitch more than six months in advance: some companies don’t have their budgets set that far in advance.
Mistake #3: Not Listing Out What You Could Do for the Brand
What do brands want to see in a pitch? How can you help them? You have to convince a brand that a partnership would be mutually beneficial.
Now is the time to think of your strengths: I mainly pitch travel, and there are thousands of Instagrammers out there with more followers than I do who can take beautiful photos at a hotel. I’m not going to land a partnership by only offering Instagram posts in exchange for a stay — my blog gives me a unique edge. My website is regularly updated, and all of my travel guides are SEO-optimized. Some of my blog posts have even landed on the first page of Google, which is invaluable to a brand.
In my case, if I create a package deal that involves both blog and social posts, and go into detail about my Google rank, a brand is more likely to partner with me. However, what works for me might not work for you: maybe you do have a ton of Instagram followers, and an IGTV Video would perform well. Perhaps you get a ton of engagement on Facebook and want to throw in a few posts here and there. Maybe you’re a solid photographer and want to offer additional photos for a brand to use on social media. Whatever deliverable you can provide the brand that’s a step above the typical Instagrammer out there will help you stand out.
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What blogging mistakes have you made while pitching?
Photos by Tom McGovern