A lot of non-bloggers ask how we, bloggers make money out of blogging. Do we really rely on just ads and drive traffic to our blog so that people can see them and click on them? Personally, I don’t want to bank on ads. Yes, you can make money out of them, but banking on them as a source of income is very risky because ads are one thing that you do not have control over. For example if an ad company pays you $1 a click on their ads this year, next year, they can easily say they’ll pay you $0.01 per click, and if you’re a small time blogger, you’ll have no say in it. Those prices can change drastically. There would be nothing you can do but to remove the ads from your site because you’re not really getting much from it.
It maybe different when you sell your own ad space on your blog. That would be something you’ll have control over. But selling ad space means that you’ll have to get the right brand to buy it. Before I narrowed down my niche I used to blog about fashion and beauty. I waited for companies and brands to come crawling to me, beg me for reviews, send me free trial products, pay me for every mention of their products, and so much more. Unfortunately, that was delusional and it was a good thing I realized it fast.
The thing is, just because you started a blog doesn’t mean you’re already an internet sensation. There are thousands of other talented bloggers out there. What makes you think a brand is going to pick you over the others? The sea is full of fish, and the problem is there is no net to catch all or most of the fish. There’s only a few hooks. So what do you do? The hook is not going to come to you. You have to go to the hook.
When I realized nothing was going to happen, I didn’t wait any longer, I went out and knocked on their doors. But not literally of course. I emailed them. Wait! Hold your horses. Don’t leave yet and go emailing brands to get them to partner with you because you have to know the hard truth. And that truth is the first brand you’re going to contact is not going to answer you back. All you’ll hear are crickets on your inbox. That is if you don’t know what you’re doing.
I went through a couple of companies before I actually landed some of them, namely BornPrettyStore (HK situated), and Wishtrend (South Korea situated). I know they are beauty and accessory companies and my niche now totally has nothing to do with that. But if you have been an avid follower of my blog you would know that I used to blog about anything, and that includes fashion and beauty. It was only recently that I narrowed down my niche. I guess I learned a thing or two from that time after all. And here I am sharing them with you.
Here are the things you need to know. This is a blogger’s campaign guide to getting the perfect brand to partner with.
You Need To Know What You Can Offer
As I’ve mentioned getting a company to partner with could mean clients to buy your ad space. Yes, they will pay you for it, but ad spaces are not the only way to get the greens out. Before you contact any brand, you should know what you want to offer. Here are a couple of things you might want to consider listing down.
Of course, this one is already mentioned. Ad spaces can vary in sizes. You can offer them in skyscrapers for the sidebar (that’s the vertical long one), leaderboard under your header (the horizontal one), blocks within your posts, or simple square ads on your sidebar. The larger the ad, the more expensive it should be. The location of your ads also vary in price. Under the header would be most expensive because it would be one of the first things your readers will see when they visit your site. You can also place ads on your footer.
Here’s a tip – placing ads on your site is good if it gets you money but too much might overwhelm your readers and it might even drown your own brand. Make sure they are toned down and prefer static ads.
When you contact a brand that offers products rather than services, ask for free trial products for you to review first, not money. That way you’ll get first hand on trying the product and your promotions won’t look so fake. It would be real and more credible because you’ve tried the products yourself. Be sure to be honest with your review. Just because the brand gave you something for free doesn’t mean you have to make the brand look good even if you think the product sucks. Always put your readers first. In the long run, these brands may not stick with you but your readers will if you provide them with honest and detailed information. Build yourself and your blog as someone trustworthy.
Social Media Promotions/ Mentions
What most bloggers forget when they work with brands is to promote them on social media several times. Sure they promote their reviews but they don’t allow the brand to be featured directly to their social media fans. When a brand works with you, they are looking to increase their sales by you driving traffic to them. So if you promote a brand on your social media platforms and does just that, the brand will likely want to work with you again. Remember that your social media platforms are an extension of your blog and a lot of times, you get more views on our social media than on your blog. Think of your blog as your house, and people come to your house but your house isn’t big enough to fit the whole neighborhood. That’s why you need to go out on the street (your social media) to reach more people. But similar to your blog ads, don’t overwhelm your followers by spamming promotions just so your partner brand can make a sale.
When you do offer this kind of promotion, it’s best that you have already built a significant number of following on social media so you can show these numbers to the brand to convince them to say yes to you and you blog.
There’s another platform where you can promote your partner brand and that is to your email subscribers. It’s easy to click a like button, and easy to click a follow button, but proving your email to someone you don’t know in person isn’t really that easy. So it’s most likely that your email subscribers are those who trust you better than those who follow you on your social media. That means, they are also the most likely buyers of whatever product you are promoting or trying to sell. So don’t forget to promote or mention your partner brand on your newsletters.
The same with promoting on social media, you should also have a significant amount of subscribers when you offer this kind of promotion. Media kits really come in handy when you do have a large number of following. Though I wouldn’t bank much on the numbers, I’d bank more on the loyalty of the followers.
Related Post: Why Blogging Is The Best Strategy For Business
Choosing The Brand To Contact
There’s a reason why most companies you’ll contact might not send back a reply. One of those reasons is that they might find your blog niche as something that’s not totally related or relevant to theirs. Your goals might not align to their brand goals. Your brand might not be totally in sync with their brand. So before you send out any emails to anyone, here’s what you have to do.
Make a brand list
List down all the brand names with their URL, and contact information. A lot of brands with websites have their own contact page so it won’t be that hard for you to get that information. Don’t go straight to the affiliate section. Being an affiliate isn’t really partnering with a brand. Make sure you get the contact email address of the brand you want to work with. You can use Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet to do this. Create a column for each item. Also include what type of company each brand is. Be more specific, rather than writing cliche genres like fashion brand you can add more detail to it like “Elegant long dresses for events”. You can also add another column for your comments, and anything else you’d like to add to your list. Make it as detailed as possible.
Here’s a tip – List down as many as you want. In fact make sure your list is at least 100 brands. Finding them might be hard when you don’t know what you’re doing. You might have about 5 in your head now, but 100 is a little too improbable. You can come up with your list by looking at the brands other bloggers have been promoting on their blog or website. They can be found on the sidebars as ads. You’ll get better results with these brands when you contact them because they are already open to working with bloggers. Another thing you can do is to use the most powerful search engine out there, which is Google. Just simply type the specific genre of the brand you want to work with. You can try searching “List of trending fashion brands” or “Top online fashion stores”. This way you’ll get more results for brands that are potential to work with.
Review The List
After you list down the brands that you are interested to work in, it’s time for you to review them. Go over them one by one and create another column for each brand. This new column is your traffic signal. You can color the cells on this column with green, orange, or red. Green is for brands that you have the highest probability of working with. That means if this brand visits your blog, they will immediately say yes because they will see that you are perfect for each other. Orange is for brands with lesser probability of working with you. Remember that not all brands you love is the perfect ones for you. Sometimes, they are just not going to love you back. So it’s important for you to note that every detail you know and can find about these brand in order for you to be able to review them in a much deeper level for you to know if they are perfect for you or not. And of course the red is for those brands that are a no go. Don’t delete these brands from your list yet. There might come a time when you are going to need to refocus your blog and then suddenly, the brands that are on red will turn green
Here’s a tip – After listing down all the details of the brands you want to work with on your list. Make a list of details about yourself and your blog brand, too. Be specific. Write down your target audience, your blog goal, your hobbies, your likes and dislikes, and more. Then get a friend, someone you really trust, to review these details for you and to match you with the perfect brand on your list. Let him or her do the coloring for your traffic lights.
Composing Your Pitch
When you finally get a couple of brands with the green light on your list, you’re now ready to contact them. But note that composing your email can result in only two things. You can either land the biggest brand for your campaign or you can ruin your name with these brands that they’ll put you in a banned list and the next time you contact them, you may get rejected or ignored. When composing your email, there are a couple of things you need to note because your email might not even get opened. Each part of your email should be carefully written and thought of.
Aside from your email address or your name, the subject line is one of the very first things that the staff of the brand that receives your email is going to see. It will determine if this person at the other end will want to open it, tag it as spam, or move it straight to trash. So your subject line should be something catchy that they can’t resist to open. Here’s two things you don’t want to put in your subject line. One is your promotion, and the other is your sales pitch. This is one of the fastest ways to get your message to the trash bin. Keep in mind that the brand you are contacting doesn’t know you. So if you offer them something to buy, they won’t like it. Why would they buy from the likes of you? Harsh but true. Instead of writing something that seems to the brand as another sales pitch, give a subject line that points out what you can do for them (Don’t include any prices yet). Try something like, “I can double your profit.” It is quite a commitment, and if you do give out something like this, you better make sure that you can deliver on it. For small time bloggers, you can try something like, “I want to promote [name of brand] for free.” Yes, for free. Like I said earlier, if it’s your first time contacting a brand to partner with you, don’t ask for money straight out, you can simply ask for a free sample product for your review.
Personalize your greetings by using the actual name of the person you are contacting, not the brand. Their names are usually used as the email address. If the email address is a group email, you can simply say, “Hi.”
The body of your message should contain at least three paragraphs. The first paragraph should contain an introduction of yourself and what you do. The second paragraph can be interchanged with the first one. It should contain what you think of their brand and maybe how you found them. Try not to be too generic by saying, “I love your brand!” Be specific. Like say something about their newly released makeup with colors of red and brown, which are your favorite. See how that sounded? It makes it more personal. If you have been an avid follower of their brand and have already done a few reviews on their products, which you’ve bought for personal use, you can share the published post links with them. This shows that you are really interested in what they produce and not just in what they can pay you. The third paragraph contains your real initiative. You don’t really have to declare all that you can offer them. A simple, “I’d like to work with you and promote your brand on my blog,” will work just fine. You can also state why you are the perfect match for them. When they do reply and show interest, that’s when you can give them the services that you offer–reviews, social media promotions, ads, and more.
Here’s a tip – Make sure to keep your Media Kit handy. Check out this post by Melyssa on Why and How to Create a Media Kit.
What You Need To Keep In Mind
Once you’ve indicated to the brand what you’ll be offering them and they are in agreement, you need to make sure you can deliver on what you offered. Your name as the blogger is at stake. You also need to make it great not just good. Your reviews shouldn’t be generic with all the “I love it!” and stuff. it should be detailed and very informative to your readers. Also, just providing them what you offered should not be enough, put in a little something extra to surprise them. When you do this, you’re sure to have a next collaboration with that brand, and if they really love what you do for them, maybe it’s time for you to start thinking about charging them for money, especially if your work has really provided their brand an impact for their business.
Your Work Is Not Just For The Brand
Keep in mind that you, firstly, are a blogger, and a blogger is always focused on it’s audience. When you do work with a brand as a blogger make sure that your audience will benefit from it, too. Be honest with your reviews and always put your readers first. Don’t lie to them just to keep your partner brand. If they really aren’t that good then maybe it’s time for you to start looking for a new one. You’ve got a long list, you know.
After The Collaboration
Always keep a note to yourself that your collaborations are not one time deals. It’s not a hit and run situation. When you promote them on you’re blog, it’s kind of permanent, unless you decide to delete that post you’ve published for your review. Be sure to send them a thank you email and be sincere about it. Tell them how much you’ve enjoyed working or collaborating with them. Let them know that you are looking forward to a next collaboration, too. Woo them like you are a suitor asking for more dates. That’s how you get them to get engaged and maybe even get married… if you know what I mean.
First And Foremost
Finally before you actually start doing any of the steps above, this should be the first thing you need to do on your blog. Create an active following with the right audience. The audience that you build should be potential lovers and fanatics of your blog or your own brand. The rest will go along with it. If you love a brand, then they’ll love it, too.
I hope you found this post helpful. So now get out there and be the blogger you’ve always wanted to be. Make some money out of your blog! Make your partner brands and your readers happy.
PS. Here’s another post you might want to check out if you want other ways to work with brands. These are online groups or communities for bloggers where you can find the perfect brand to partner with.