Compatibility. Similar values. Raw attraction. These are some of the factors that bring people together in lasting, loving relationships. Since we all know IFB isn't a dating site, I think you can guess where I'm going with this. Starting a relationship or suggesting a project with a brand is a lot like dating. You've got to prep. You've got to preen. You want to be as attractive as possible, while maintaining your sense of self, am I right?
Here's the other thing: When you're just sitting at home by the phone, willing it to ring, hoping some handsome, charming, perfect guy will call you and take you out for dinner and a movie – you're not in control. Pick up the phone, slide your number across the bar – and you call the shots. When you're writing the emails and making pitches to brands – it's all you! You decide who you want to work with. The result? No bad dates. No partnerships that don't make sense.
I am here to reassure you that in the same way you don't need to validate yourself by dating people just to be dating, you don't need to work with brands you don't identify with just so you can say you work with brands.
Being the stylish, particular and ravishing blogger that you are, you don't say yes everyone that comes calling, now do you? No way. You've got standards and you know there's no sense in wasting time on someone you already know you won't like. What works for someone else doesn't necessarily work for you.
So let's break this romance down a little, shall we? Here's IFB's best tips for seducing and landing the brands of your dreams.
STEP 1: GET PRETTY ( aka make yourself attractive to brands)
It can be difficult when you're just getting started (in dating and blogging), to know what to do, how to look and what to share in order to be attractive. Balance that with staying true to yourself and you've got a lot to think about. You want your design to be chic and professional; your images to be high quality and your content to be engaging and original. Without those things, brands won't be able to identify who you are – and who wants to partner up with a stranger?
- I can’t stress how important it is to have a great site, a great design, and a strong community and a following built up before you reach out to brands. You must spend the time doing these things before you reach out to brands – if you don’t, you will not be taken seriously.
From our Ask The Brand feature with Paige Denim…
- The most important thing is that the blogger feels on brand–no matter how popular a blogger is, if he or she doesn’t feel like a good fit, it won’t work. It has to feel like a natural partnership, at the end of the day. We’re big fans of a lot of people we work with because we discovered their blogs as true readers ourselves.
From our recent post, Make Yourself Irresistible To Brands:
- A brand needs to know who your audience is, so know your reader’s demographics (age, sex, location, language etc.) You can grab some of the info, like location and language from Google analytics; for the rest, take a look at your Facebook Page insights – or conduct a quick survey on your blog! Brands want this information so they know your readers are the people they want to reach.
STEP 2: ASSESS YOUR OPTIONS (aka figure you who you want to work with)
This is the part where you get to be selective. I don't do actual online dating, but my understanding is that you can tailor your potential suitors down by age, looks, occupation, location, etc. The same thing applies to narrowing down what brands you would like to work with. This part is all about you.
- Start with a huge list. High end, contemporary, local, designer – the sky is the limit. However, be realistic and honest with yourself, your wardrobe and your personal style. Think about the brands you wear all the time, the ones you lust after in department stores, the ones your audience responds to and wears as well.
- Next, do your research. Look up your dream brands to see what kinds of marketing strategies they use. Have they worked with bloggers previously? Do they have a strong social media presence? These are good indicators of brands that are likely to be receptive to you – but not the defining rule! Plenty of brands are looking to work with bloggers and don't know where to start. That's where you come in!
- From your research, narrow down your scope to a manageable list of eligible candidates.
Here's a few smart tips from a really helpful and interesting post on FashionablyMarketing.me:
- Work with brands that fit your goals. If you’re a blogger who wants to specialize in a certain area or genre, then only work with brands and retailers that fit that niche. Honestly, you can’t work with Forever 21 and then expect to work with DKNY or Chanel; it just doesn’t work. Pick what you love and focus on working within that area. Just make sure you’re focusing on something you’re going to love two, three or five years from now; you don’t want to burn out.
STEP 3: ASK FOR A DATE (aka pitch the brands)
In the same way that you wouldn't expect a date to call you up, ask you out and then pin you with the responsibility of choosing all the activities, come to brands with ideas in hand. Would you do an outfit post? A giveaway? Do you have a totally original idea to propose? Write it out, give examples, and emphasize how your proposal could benefit the brand and your blog as well.
Here's what our Make Yourself Irresistible post says:
- Brands are looking for different types of partnerships – sustainable, long-term projects, or shorter engagement for promotions or giveaways. Be willing to go either way, and bring ideas. From a brand’s view, collaboration is key when it comes to working with bloggers, they’ll want the project to really resonate with your readers, and who knows your readers better than you do? Bring them ideas – they’ll love you for it!
- For a guide to how to compose the perfect pitch, you'll want to download our exclusive Perfect Pitch Template!
Have you pitched a brand before, or do you wait for them to approach you? What's your strategy? Share your experiences with our community in the comments below.