Five mistakes bloggers make with brands

Today, I had a friend ask how to start a blog and get a brand to sponsor some posts. Are you wondering how to ask brands for products to review on your blogs? Looking to host a giveaway on your blog with brands?

While this blog in particular might be pretty touch and go, I do have experience with this, career-wise. Most recently, I was someone on the other end, monitoring requests from bloggers on behalf of a natural food company. Bloggers would always ask to sponsor their posts and for us to send them free products. Here are the biggest mistakes bloggers make, and how to avoid them, when asking for free stuff or sponsorship from brands.

So here’s some advice from someone who has taken, vetted and approved some requests from bloggers on the brand side. You might be able to get by with one of these mistakes, but definitely not any more than two of them! Take these into consideration before your next pitch.

mistakes bloggers make with brands (and

Mistake #1: Your blog is brand new.
Don’t reach out if you just started your blog yesterday. You’ll need a track record of consistent posts. Even if you say, “I know my blog is brand new,” it raises a huge red flag. You have to build credibility, a readership, a niche, and a voice. Know it and live it.

If you are new and are destined to review products or have something sponsored, do it yourself! Review a favorite product, then reach out to the brand with the link (especially if they’re a smaller brand and not a giant: NOT Kraft foods). Mention them on your social media accounts, too. That will show you’re interested!

Mistake #2: Send the same email to all the brands.
Don’t send the same email to everyone. You have to customize your outreach or else you probably won’t get much response. It takes just a little more effort than copy and pasting to everyone’s contact forms – and the brand will know that you actually are interested. Consider it like a cover letter, applying for a job. First paragraph is all about them. Second paragraph all about you, your blog, and your readers. Third paragraph how you’d like to work together. Remember, keep these short and sweet.

Example:

Hi there – I just wanted to reach out to whoever might be the right contact. I have been a fan of <BRAND> for <TIME PERIOD>. <insert some personalized review of the product and/or brand here – how has it impacted your life, have you shared it with others?>.

I run a blog called <name of blog>, and I focus on <your niche – crafting? healthy eating? parenting?>.I’d love for you to check it out: <website link>. My readers love <something personal, the brand might be able to connect with like: “My readers love learning about new, healthy products.” Or maybe they love entering in giveaways – make it about your audience, not just you!>. I have <Do you have strict standards for your blog and products you review that this brand fits in with? Do you have an impressive blog stat? Brands would like to get a better feel of who you are before they click over to see what you have to offer.> 

I’d love to talk more about working together <Be specific! What do you want from them? Free products to review? Hosting a twitter chat? Creating a group Pinterest board? Create a recipe with their products? Something more inventive – having a party with friends? Coupons to giveaway to readers?>. 

MISTAKE #3: Reaching out to the WRONG brand
This one goes right along with the last one. Don’t reach out to a bunch of brands with no personalization and no connection to your blog. You have a Christian parenting blog? Don’t reach out to a food company you love, because chances are, they won’t see you or your blog audience as their ideal customer. Any relationship has to be a two-way deal. That said, you don’t have to be a food blogger to reach out to a food company. Running and healthy lifestyle blog, feel free to reach out. Maybe even include some dietary issue you have, a recent comment from one of your readers, or how healthy eating is important to your readership, and how it fits to your niche. Just, make the connection, because the brand might not see it right away and write you off.

MISTAKE #4: All your posts are sponsored
Your blog can’t be all sponsored because it looks fake, not genuine and not targeted. Some brands might go for it, for your reach (so, if you’re in it just for that, be sure to include your numbers), but most are going to be wary of diving in.

MISTAKE #5: Spelling mistakes
This can be in your pitch to them or just in your blog in general. If it’s unreadable, it looks bad and lazy, and the brand isn’t going want to associate itself with you. Spell check is easy, so use it! If you’re not so great with writing, have someone else look anything over before posting or emailing. They might be able to catch something you didn’t.

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