How to Pitch Guest Posts & Collaborations

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Something is happening in my inbox that I’ve been calling the “Limp-wrist Epidemic”. The emails, from people I’ve never or briefly met, go something like this:

“I thought if maybe you had ideas of how we could work together …” {So you want me to come up with an idea?}

“I can’t afford your coaching right now but maybe I could help you with a blog post or webinar sometime …” {What exactly would you be helping me with?}

“Maybe your clients could wear my pieces on the blog …” {Since I don’t photograph my clients for the blog, are you asking I recommend you to my clients, or offering me c/o items to wear on the blog?}

These are pitches; they want something from me which doesn’t involve money changing hands: my creativity, knowledge, or audience. Perfectly acceptable & an incredible win/win when done correctly! But there has to be a “win” on both sides. For a partnership to work, I have to get something too, which is usually strong traffic or fabulous content. Yet 90% of the pitches I receive don’t explain how it’s a win for me.

To make sure you’re in the 10%, focus on the specifics you can offer the next time you pitch.

 

Here’s a few skeleton scripts for pitching if what you can offer is traffic:

You’re a blogger:

  • “Here’s what I’d love to partner on/my idea & here’s the work you’d need to put into it”
  • “We’ll link to one another in blog posts & share on social media”

You’re a designer with a following:

  • “I’d love to have you choose a piece & when you post a shoot with it, here’s our Facebook, Instagram & blog where we’ll share your photo & link back to you”

You’re a new designer:

  • “I’d love to have you choose a piece & am asking these four bloggers to coordinate with us in posting their looks & linking to one another.”

 

And some talking points if what you can offer is content:

You’re a blogger with a guest post:

  • “I’d love to contribute to your Friday Accessories Guest Post with an “In Your Easter Bonnet” vision board similar to this one on my site …”
  • Or “I don’t see that you’ve done guest posts in the past, but if you’re open to it in the future I have 3 Tips on Pregnancy Style that would be perfect for your audience. My 3 tips are …”

You’re a blogger with community content:

What I did with #EncourageBeauty & Anna from In Honor of Design {who was already a great friend}:

  • “I have this idea & would love to partner with a graphic designer on it. I’ll write the manifesto & find the quotes, you can come up with a few simple designs to switch text within. Then we’ll link to one another all month.”

You’re a designer:

  • Offering a piece c/o seems like a common practice. But I’ve been receiving a lot of offers where I would need to send the piece back. Others will surely disagree, but for me it’s rare that a piece is going to add so much to a photo that I couldn’t get elsewhere, that trekking to the post office is going to be worth it.

If you are making this request & don’t have traffic to offer, find a way to make it a win! There are loads of things you can offer, just be sure to offer something.

 

Have you successfully pitched a collaboration or guest post? What tips do you have for others? Have you been fearful or unsuccessful in this area? What one tip did you learn here you can try next week?

[Image Credit: Shutterstock.com]

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16 Responses

  1. Jordy

    Totally agree! I just don’t get it when people expect so much of you but have nothing to offer in return! 🙂

    Reply
    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Love that, Jade. Sounds like a classic win/win!

      with grace & gumption,
      Hilary

      Reply
  2. Rachel

    “I thought if maybe you had ideas of how we could work together …” THIS is one of my two biggest pet peeves with PR emails. The other is one that seems to be rife in the UK where agencies will pitch you in the initial email without actually telling you who the client is, just that they are a ‘high profile fashion brand’ or something similar, and you actually have to ASK who they are asking you to work with and to say yes to!

    Reply
    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Rachel, my most recent example is a new website that had a very lengthy convoluted pitch & somewhere in the middle snuck in that they expected me to put up a banner ad in exchange for shopping credit on their website. All I can do in those situations is reply graciously pointing out that this isn’t common practice, etc. in hopes that it will alert them to review their email before doing another campaign. It really is just such a waste of everyone’s time & energy — their’s included! — when people don’t put thought behind their pitches & approach things with business savvy.

      Also glad to hear your UK perspective now that I’m splitting my time between NYC & London.

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

      Reply
  3. georgina

    Thank you! This is exactly what I needed. I’ll be utilizing the tips in reference to new designers. I just launched a new handbag line that caters mostly to fashion forward metropolitan women. They allow them to carry flats or pumps inconspicuously in a separate compartment while on the go!

    I’ve been somewhat hesitant about reaching out to bloggers outside of my local city b/c I wasn’t sure of the “proper” approach. But now I feel much more confident and will definitely be reaching out with a Win/Win as we prepare to unveil the new Emerald Green Hobo followed by an awesome tote (which in the works)! #excited
    Thanks again!!

    Reply
    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Oh Georgina I love that! So glad to be of help! And hey, send one of your fab pitches my way {& remind me of this article} & I’ll be happy to give you my feedback as to how you could make it even better. 🙂

      with grace & gumption,
      Hilary

      Reply
  4. M&Sandthensome

    Hey I was having trouble finding out the pr for M&S HK and noone really in the HK blogger sector knew who it was so I used my initiative, asked on M&S UK twitter and within a few days I was emailing the M&S PR for HK….was really impressed by their turnaround.

    Reply
  5. Debbie Baker Burns

    This is an excellent point. It reminds me of The Last Lecture. “Always bring something to the table.” Debbie @ ilovemylemonadelife.com

    Reply
  6. Sundal

    I’ve been contacted my companies in the past who give me products to sample and I’ve done writeups about them only if I’ve liked their products, you can check out one I did here on raw skin food’s (whom I now have a great relationship with) product line:

    http://patterns4life.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/product-review-raw-skin-foods-imperial.html

    I didn’t really get much out of the exchange except for some free products, however, perhaps a retweet. But should we be expecting more for product reviews and if so, what?

    I’m also hesitant to approach brands with a view to doing product reviews or outfit posts, as what if I don’t like the product and it doesn’t make it to press in the end?

    Reply
    • Hilary Rushford | Dean Street Society

      Sundal, in the case of collaborations & guest posts, the premise is that it’s not a monetary exchange. If you are seeking money for the types of products you noted, then that would either be as a spokesperson or perhaps a sponsored post. Those are both common scenarios, so as long as you disclose them, there’s nothing wrong with promoting a brand you’re working with. It’s the same level of transparency as noting that an item was c/o so readers know you didn’t purchase it.

      with grace & gumption, Hilary

      Reply
  7. Nissa

    This is wonderful advice! I’m soon going to be launching my shop, and I’m going to need to individuals to sponsor my give-aways. I’m not a people person so I would have no idea how approach the topic.

    Nissa

    Reply
  8. Karen Farber

    Really great tips!! I’ve been trying to find concrete information on the pitching subject for a while now, but everything I found up to this point was incredibly vague and just left me with more questions than answers!

    I just started my fashion blog, http://www.littleblackshell.com, last month and it’s getting 100-200 views a day. I think it’s a pretty solid number for having just started 3 weeks ago, however, I’m not sure if I should start trying to do collaborations with companies or other bloggers just yet. What do you think? Is it too soon, or should I start ASAP? I’ve read mixed information on this, and since this article has seriously been the most helpful on how to approach the situation, I think your answer will also be helpful on when to do so.

    I would really appreciate your input on this! & thanks so so much for sharing this wonderful post!

    Reply