October 31, 2017
When I was ready to take my blog to the level that got it monetized on a full time level, I was so clueless. Do I just cold call and email brands with an idea? Should I send them a pitch deck? How do I build relationships with them if I’ve never met them? There were so many questions and so little answers.
I did a little bit of everything – some things stuck, others didn’t. (Do NOT email people your life story. They don’t have the time to read it. Also, don’t send a random pitch to a person you’ve never emailed before. Trust me!) But the one thing that did bring paid opportunities my way was having a press kit. Even when it was just one page document with my basic info, brands took me more seriously and offered me paid projects. (In case you’re wondering, my press kit is now a 4 page PDF with all the information that proves my value at first glance.)
Here’s the thing about paid projects – they’re not all worth it. For the first few years I got paid as a style blogger and influencer, I was only being offered projects that paid in the mid to high 100’s to low 4 figures.
By the time I went full time in 2015, I started building a team and had a payroll. I couldn’t afford to take the low paying jobs anymore just for the sake of it. The trade off of my time and labor for the amount of money being offered just wasn’t worth it. But like most bloggers, I made the mistake of thinking I did because I “needed the money.” I thought more was more. And soon after a year and a half of burning myself out and my personal life crumbling, I learned that saying yes to every paid opportunity was not the way to go.
This year was my second year as a full time blogger (seventh overall), and you know what happened? I posted 50% less but made 100% more. Yes, you read that right. I posted less on my blog (and Instagram) and made the most money I’ve made in a year in my entire blogging career. Sure, I’ve been making six figures from my blog since 2015 (thanks mostly to brand partnerships AND course sales) but this was the first year I made six figures thanks to my style blog ALONE.
So what didn’t I do? I didn’t buy followers. I didn’t hire a ghostwriter. I just made the decision to start working smarter than harder. I read a lot more posts and books on blogging for profit and researched the top players of the blogging world. This encouraged me to make necessary changes that triggered noticeable results. One of the big changes I made was to tweak my press kit to make sure it proved my value to brands IMMEDIATELY. Stats alone don’t do that. Especially if you’re not a blogger with millions of followers.
During my extensive research, I reviewed what worked for me in the last two years by looking over my analytics and redid my press kit. There were 5 things that stood out to brands in my press kit and got them to offer me the money I wanted. That’s what I want to share with you today. Grab a pen and paper, because I’m about to share the 5 things every style blogger must have in their press kit. (WARNING: The next few paragraphs may get your entire press kit together.)
A BREAKDOWN OF YOUR AUDIENCE & DEMOGRAPHICS
It’s important to share who your audience is and why they’re valuable. This is especially important if you have a modest following. The more you know about your audience, the easier it is to take you seriously as a style blogger. To get the ball rolling, you should be able to answer the following questions (and then some):
What gender is the majority of your audience? What three cities are they mostly located in? How old are they? What topic or issues are they most interested in solving?
Details like these are important and let brands or collaborators alike know that your audience is worth getting in front of and that you know the ins and outs of your blog well. And because you know it so well, you know how to create content for it that gets results.
Aside from pulling stats from your analytics, survey your email list or even look at the last 20 to 30 new followers on the platform you’re most active on to get a true gauge on who is following you.
MOST RECENT BLOG & SOCIAL STATS
This seems obvious, but you should include your most recent blog and social media stats in your press kit. Even if you grow a little bit every month, be sure to update your press kit on a regular basis. I like to update mine every month. (I even make note of the months where my growth is larger than normal so I can repeat what I did. This is a great stat to add in the press kit as well.)
Blog impressions and unique monthly visitors are important to showcase to brands and collaborators because it lets them know what your blog traffic really looks like. But you can and should include other blog stats that make your value stand out.
Blog impressions are how many times your blog was actually viewed within a certain time period (week, month, year). Unique monthly visitors are how many individual people visited your blog within a certain time frame. For clarity, a single unique monthly visitor (UMV) could visit your blog 3-4 times – so your blog impressions would be 4 while your UMV would be 1. Naturally, blog impressions are always higher than UMVs.
For social media, it’s important to share the follower count of each platform you’re active on. This shows that you have a following outside of your blog on these valuable platforms. This is a great place to share engagement rates and average # comments if you’re really active on a particular platform.
To ensure you get accurate stats, be sure to use references like Google Analytics and/or the social platform Insights (Instagram) or Analytics (Facebook or Twitter) section on your account.
WHO YOU’VE WORKED WITH BEFORE
Whether you’ve been featured in your local newspaper, interviewed by another blogger (with clout and/or within your niche) or worked with a brand (no matter how big or small they are), this is certainly the place to mention that with the appropriate links. Yes, even if your feature or project was “small,” you want to include it in your press kit. Now, what should be noted here is that features or projects in this section should be relevant to what you’re trying to get press or paid for.
As a style blogger, you want to feature the style focused honorable mentions. If you were in the local newspaper for saving a cat, while very nice of you, this is not the place to mention it. If you wrote a self published book on closet organization and a blogger in the style niche wrote about it, this is certainly where you want to highlight that.
People want to collaborate with people who have been known to successfully work with or recognized by others. It’s just the psychology of humans – especially in business. If you want to make your style blog your business, then this is a very necessary part of your press kit. Take time to create a strategy on getting this part of the press kit filled with good stuff (vs. fluff).
When you’re first starting out, it’ll be important for you to make those opportunities happen. But remember you have to create content that’s worth mentioning or collaborating with on a consistent — not just once in a while – basis. Once you have press or collaborations that can be included in your press kit, simply include a logo or screenshot of the publication or project you were a part of.
A LIST OF THE DELIVERABLES YOU OFFER
It’s important to list out what you offer as a style blogger to brands and collaborators. Your offerings are deliverables. (If you’re not clear on what a deliverable is, read the 7 terms every influencer should know when pitching brands.)
Just so we’re clear, a list of deliverables doesn’t equal a price list. I’ll say it again for my cousins in the back: A LIST OF DELIVERABLES ISN’T THE SAME AS A PRICE LIST.
Do not include pricing here. Nowhere in your press kit should there be pricing included. That’s what a rate sheet is for.
Deliverables can be anything from “sponsored blog posts,” “Instagram story product placement,” to “email newsletter inclusion.” Whatever content/offering you do well that gets results is what you should include as a deliverable.
Now you may be thinking: Mattie, it sounds like deliverables are just content, right? WRONG.
Deliverables are content that you know how to create, execute and deliver in a package worth paying for. In short, it’s content worth paying for. Just because you know how to create a blog post, doesn’t mean you should be paid for it. If you know how to create a blog post that gets clicks and comments, then you should be paid for that.
Make a list of all the most popular content you’ve ever created – if it’s lengthy, limit it to 10 posts/instances. What kind of results did it deliver? How would you categorize each post? If you saw this content, would you pay for it? This list of posts has potential to be deliverables. Start with the top 3 and move forward from there.
This part of your press kit is to simply inform what you offer at a premium (aka not for free). It’s not an estimate or a pitch. The list of deliverables is simply included for the sake of awareness, so brands and collaborators don’t assume that you don’t do X, Y and Z.
A BRIEF YET INTERESTING STORY
Here’s where a lot of bloggers drop the ball – they either write their entire life story or don’t include anything about themselves at all. Both are huge mistakes.
People don’t work with blogs, brands or companies. They work with people. This is the opportunity to humanize yourself and tell the story of why you started this blog and where you’d like to take it.
Now, that doesn’t mean you need to include your entire blogging journey from begin to end. Include who you are, where you’re based and the purpose of your blog. And to humanize it, share a fun fact about you and the blog. But that should do it. Don’t try to over impress with accolades – that’s the point of the press kit, not the story. Create the exciting movie trailer version of your blog’s story. Make it interesting, relatable and leaving whoever reads it wanting more.
This should be the first page of your press kit (after the cover). It’s important to introduce yourself via your bio before showing them stats and deliverables. Your bio warms them up and links the rest of the information in your press kit to an actual person they read about.
And again, I can’t stress this enough, don’t try to make your story sound picture perfect or overly impressive. The aim should be human (“a cat lover who loves fast fashion”) and/or relatable (“after working the 9 to 5 she hated for 3 years, I decided to make my blog my business”). See, human and relatable pull you into the story.
When I tweaked and added these 5 things to my press kit, the opportunities went from $xxx to $XXXX on a consistent basis. Of course, I had the blog content to back up what I shared in my press kit. But had I not made these changes in my press kit, I may have been on the same monotonous money path I was two years ago.
To be honest, these are not changes I made overnight. But the good thing is, they didn’t have to be. Your press kit is a fluid document that should always be changing and getting better. But even if you have only a little bit to offer, still make your press kit. Don’t wait until you’re “official” to do it.
Hopefully after this post, you’re excited to work on your press kit as well. To help you create the best press kit possible, I’ve created the Style Blogger Press Kit Guide to help you clarify exactly what to put in your press kit! Get the workbook by signing up with your email below.
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And no, nothing here on this site is rocket science. Just glimpses of my everyday life - what I eat, what I wear, the products I use, how I work and how I take care of myself. If that’s your sort of thing - you know, life - then this is totally the place for you.