It is a myth that influencers no longer need to pitch brands for partnerships and sponsored opportunities. Despite the increasing numbers of influencer marketing platforms and blogger networks, only a small percentage of influencers are actually receiving inbound work on a regular basis. In truth, the best influencers are still reaching out to marketers and suggesting collaborations.

Pitching brands and agencies is a great way to connect directly with marketers and develop long term relationships. It also puts you in the driver’s seat as you look for the right brands to collaborate with. Here are 10 steps to the perfect brand pitch:

Step 1: Get to know the brand. Maybe this goes without saying, but if you think you are a good fit to work with a brand you should be connected to them on social. Following a brand on social not only gives you a first-hand look at what content they’re creating (which might give you ideas for pitches) but also who they are collaborating with and how they talk about their brand online.

Step 2: Create content. I am a firm believer that influencers should be paid for their work. However, if you want to demonstrate to a brand how much of a fit you are (or how authentic your love of their products is), you should have examples to showcase. Use the intel you’ve gathered from following them online to start to engage noticeably with them. Using a hashtag they own or are promoting is a great way to grab their attention.

Step 3: Do your research. Take the time to look on LinkedIn and social media to see exactly who you should be reaching out to. An email sent to [email protected] is probably going to be ignored. If you do the legwork you are likely to find someone with influencer marketing, community manager, or social media in their title. Once you have an actual person to reach out to you can write a personalized email which will get a much higher response.

Step 4: Introduce yourself. A well-written bio is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. It comes in handy when creating new social profiles,  building a media kit, networking at conferences and introducing yourself via email. A couple of quick sentences that convey who you are, what categories you create content in and where you share that content will ensure they read the rest of the email.

Step 5: Have a media kit ready. Whether it’s a 2-3 page PDF or a link to your digital profile, brands will instantly see your professionalism and take you more seriously. Media kits are a clear way to demonstrate what you are capable of creating and provide concrete examples of ways you collaborate with brands. Don’t know how to create a media kit? Here’s a step by step guide.

Step 6: Tell them why you want to work with them.  If you reach out to a brand, know how you want to collaborate with them. Perhaps that’s to join an existing campaign you can see on their Instagram page, register your interest for their next one, or request a discount code to promote their products in your feed. You should also explain how your content style and audience can benefit them. Be concise and don’t delve into unnecessary details. You want to provide a sense of what you are thinking, but ultimately leave them wanting to know more!

Step 7: Have a call to action. Want to know the simplest way to getting someone to respond to a cold email? Ask them for something specific. Something as simple as “I’d love to chat and talk about a partnership in more depth. When can we jump on a call?” lets them know exactly what you are looking for.

Step 8: Proofread and re-read your email. Nothing will make a marketer delete your email faster than a typo or major grammatical error. You are a content creator after all. Writing is a big part of what you do and this is your first introduction to someone you want to work with. Along those lines, make sure your email is professional. Don’t use slang, acronyms, or anything else that is overly informal. You are making a first impression and want it to be a good one.

Step 9: Have a killer email signature. The introduction is the first impression, the email signature is the last. Make sure it’s a good one. At a minimum, listing and linking to social channels is a must. I prefer to see icons for each platform and will click on the ones that are most relevant to me. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to learn more about you directly from your first email.

Email Signature

Step 10: Follow up but don’t stalk. Emails get lost, people go on vacation, and emergencies occur. It happens to all of us. If after 3-5 days you haven’t heard back it’s appropriate to send a polite follow-up. Reply to your first email asking if they’ve seen it and are interested in working together. Refrain from reaching out more than twice and alway stay professional. Brand strategies and campaigns are constantly changing and what types of influencers a brand is looking for is continually changing too. While you may not be a fit for an activation in the spring it doesn’t mean you won’t be a fit for something later in the year.
Pitching brands is not something that most influencers are familiar or comfortable with. Probably the biggest hurdle is your own fear of getting started. If all else fails, just send a few emails and see what kind of response you get. The more you do it the easier it becomes and this highly valuable skill will pay off as you begin to make meaningful connections with more brands.