Leave Self-Doubt Behind and Make the Pitch
When I began my blogging journey I had a lot of self-doubts. I was following several other bloggers consistently. I watched them share about all of their amazing partnerships and successes. This was a whole new world for me and I could not grasp how I was going to make it to where these other successful bloggers were.
My page views were minimal. My social media following was not the best. How was I going to get other businesses to trust and work with me? I was new. What could I bring to the table that made me stand out from others? Besides jumping into a networking community, I knew I needed to put myself out there. I needed to figure out what my focus was, think outside of the box, and contact anyone and everyone I thought would be a great fit.
Here are the steps I took (and still take today) when I make the pitch.
Know your brand.
To start you need to know your brand. Who is your audience? What do you love to share and talk about? This can evolve over time, but being clear when you are sharing on social media or to potential advertisers is important. They need to know who they are possibly going to work with. If there are other businesses and/or brands similar to you, what makes you stand out? This is something that can be done once and can update periodically, but taking the time to do this is crucial. If you are interested in doing a deep dive, I highly recommend investing in the Local Business School course created by Love Local.
Take time to do research about the business and/or organization you are pitching to. Maybe their business focuses on the outdoors, how does your brand align with that specifically? You should be able to clearly share how their working with you will make a positive impact on their business and/or organization. Think about potential questions they may ask and try to answer them with research upfront.
Make the Ask
Now is the time to write an email. Make sure you are personable. We have all received copy-and-paste emails that are very generic. No one likes to receive those and more often than not, they may think it's spam. Let your personality shine through. If you received the contact information from an acquaintance, mention it! I also love to include a potential idea. A lot of times a business and/or organization may be interested but may not have the capacity at the moment to figure out how to work together. Give specifics of what you can do and how that benefits them.
Lastly, try to keep your email short-ish and to the point. The person you are pitching to, may get overwhelmed and not read everything. Keep it short and include your media kit (which we will talk about more below).
It is okay to say 'No' - goes both directions
The last thing you want to be stuck doing is a project that does not bring you joy and does not align with your brand. Remember when I told you to take time to "know your brand"? This is another place it comes into play.
At the very beginning of my journey with Des Moines Parent, I had a few of these situations fall in my lap. I was so excited because it was an opportunity, BUT I dreaded the entire process. The whole reason I love to do what I do is it excites me and I am passionate about it. Do not say 'yes' if it's going to drag you down. More often than not if you say no, another opportunity is just around the corner.
I love a good media kit! This is a document that shines a light on you and your business, blog, organization, brand, and so on. Major things to include in a media kit are:
Social media numbers
Social media handles
Ways to contact you
About you and about your business
Different ways to work with you
Brand colors + wording (another place your branding shows up!)
I attach my media kit to all email pitches. This helps keep the body of my email short, sweet, and to the point. They can learn more about me and my brand by opening the attachment. If you have the funds to have this professionally created for you, I highly recommend it. Make sure your media kit looks super professional. It will pay for itself in the long run.
Alright, so you sent the email but it has been crickets. Whenever you send an email pitching an idea, make sure you keep track of it somewhere. I typically follow up 7-10 days later. More often than not, they respond after that second email. If they do not, push your follow-up out a bit more. I am no salesperson and I hate when people are pushy, so be genuine. My follow-up email is 1-2 sentences double checking they saw my email, asking if they had any questions, and am looking forward to hearing from them soon.
No is not a bad response
The dreaded 'No'. I remember the first few times I would see a 'no' or 'not interested at this time. It crushed me. There are a few things I have learned from this:
You will receive more 'no's' than yes, but you are not really out anything.
Take a look at their response and reasoning on why they declined. Was it because they already used their budget for that quarter? Set a reminder to ask earlier in the year next year or ask a few weeks before the next quarter.
Maybe their reasoning was that you did not provide a certain detail they were looking for. Take note and see how you can make sure to include that detail in your next pitch.
There you have it! Now, I challenge you to create a list of 10 people, businesses, and/or organizations to pitch your brand/idea. Write those emails and leave the self-doubt behind.