Pitching brands as an influencer is something I’ve had to master over the last few years. Two months ago marked 3 years of me being a full time blogger and influencer and it has been quite the journey. And when it comes to pitching brands, I finally get it. But it wasn’t always that way. I give a transparent take on my journey here. I’ve done so many things wrong when it comes to pitching brands as an influencer which caused me to leave money on the table.
If you’re interested in working with brands but terrified of pitching them, don’t be. It’s all a learning process. Learn from me & my mistakes. Here are 7 things not to do when pitching brands as an influencer. And also, what to do instead.
YOU’RE SAYING NO, INSTEAD OF NEGOTIATING
I’m all about my business and getting paid for the value I offer a brand is important to me. However, I totally understand when it comes to business – especially as a full time influencer – negotiating is a BIG part of it. Just because you don’t see the number you want in the beginning doesn’t mean you should totally walk away. It’s all about having a conversation with the brand – I always encourage influencers to have a quick call with brands once correspondence has begun and there’s a deal likely to go down. Please do not contact a brand and insist on having a call with a vague “opportunity.” Getting to the point during a brand pitch is of the essence.
If you want $3k for a post and the brand counters with $2k, explain to them why you charge $3k. If it’s truly not in their budget, reduce the scope of work and see if you can meet in the middle. Sure, you may not get your initial rate, but you’ll get paid according to the work you did and work with a brand with a budget while handling business.
YOU’RE SHARING YOUR STATS, INSTEAD OF SENDING YOUR PRESS KIT
Whenever I’m in talks with a brand to do a paid campaign, they usually ALWAYS ask for my stats. Typically, they’ll ask for my press kit. Before I got my life together, I would literally just type my stats in the body of the email and send. This may seem harmless, but there are a number of reasons why this is an issue. First, you’re going to have to type out your stats in real time every single time someone asks you. Again, time is of the essence when working with brands. In most cases, when brands work with you, the correspondence is less than a week and then they usually expect the scope of work to be executed within the next week or so. I say this because when I know I have to type out a lengthy email or write something out in real time with a bunch of back and forth, I’ll delay responding. A delay in response to a brand as an influencer could result in a missed paid opportunity.
Secondly, if they asked you for a press kit and you’re replying to them with a handful of numbers, it’s sort of hard to take you seriously. Handle your business and make that press kit. Your press kit is a clean and precise way to present your numbers and show them that you know how to present things in a professional + creative way. It’s the difference between presenting your favorite meal on a trash can lid or gorgeous dinnerware. Presentation matters.
YOU’RE MAKING UP PRICES AS YOU GO ALONG WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE A RATE SHEET
Similar to your stats, you don’t want to get in the habit of just throwing out numbers when a brand asks for your rate. The issue with this is that you’ll end up overpricing yourself and talk yourself out of a partnership because you literally pulled a number out of nowhere. Be clear on why you charge what you charge. This requires you to know what your value is and how much it actually takes to create content. The other issue with this is undercharging and having to do too much for too little. Make yourself a rate sheet – just a simple PDF document with a list of what you charge for what. Versus just throwing out a number, the rate sheet allows you to present those numbers in a professional and branded way.
We all know that presentation is everything. So creating a rate sheet where your prices are presented in a branded and complete way is a sure way to be taken more seriously. And when you’re pitching a brand, that’s exactly how you want to conduct business as an influencer.
YOU’RE SAYING YES BEFORE KNOWING THE ENTIRE SCOPE OF WORK
I know it’s exciting to hear from a brand that they want to work with you. But don’t get caught up in the hype quite yet. A mistake I made early on in my blogging days was jumping the gun and signing an agreement and agreeing with a rate before even knowing the scope of work. Sure, $1500 (or whatever number you were looking for from the brand) is cool, but for what amount of work?
Before agreeing to anything, be sure to not only get a contract in place (always, always, always) but also get the scope of work written out in that agreement as well. There have been many times when a brand has tried to add more work to a campaign because there was no clear scope to begin with. It’s never a good situation even if it is paid.
YOU’RE NOT GETTING A COUNTERSIGNED AGREEMENT
By this point, most of us know as influencers that when we work with brands – no matter how amazing the opportunity is – it is imperative that there is an agreement in place. It’s just a good look to make sure that legally everyone is protected. However, when you sign an agreement that isn’t it. Before you begin tackling the scope of work, you should have the countersigned agreement. Making sure that both you and the brand have signed is so important because until they do that agreement is technically null and void.
Trust me, I get excited when I see a legal document with my name on it with a generous amount of money in the compensation portion of the agreement when it’s time to make things official. But one thing I always stress to the brand when we get to this part of the correspondence is that I do not begin work until I receive the countersigned copy of the agreement – no matter how urgent the project is.
INSTEAD OF PITCHING A SPECIFIC IDEA, YOU’RE LOOKING FOR AN “OPPORTUNITY”
Listen, it’s 2018. Most brands are working with influencers in some capacity. So while being humble and asking for an “opportunity” seems polite, it very seldom gets you a response. Brands are looking for specific ideas. Stop reaching to brands for “an opportunity to work together.” MAKE THE OPPORTUNITY for yourself by pitching an idea that won’t be turned down.
I know what you’re about to ask: “But Mattie, I want to pitch a specific idea but how do I know the brand won’t steal my idea?”
You don’t. You really just don’t. But I believe there’s a way to be specific while being succinct. And for the most part, if you do your research (which you should EVERY single time before you pitch a brand) your idea should specifically benefit them while highlighting your strengths. Tailoring the pitch so you add relevant value to the brand while doing the thing you do well is the best way to get the brand’s attention and avoiding it from being stolen.
YOU’RE SENDING THE SAME EMAIL TO EVERYONE WHICH IS AKA SPAMMING
So you’re finally confident enough to reach out to brands and you have this greeeeeeat idea. Great. What’s not so great is if you’re copying and pasting this pitch to 5 different brands. When you send out a pitch email, it should be personalized – yes, EVERY SINGLE TIME.
We’ve all been there before – you open an email in your inbox to this generic, very obviously copy and pasted message that’s very one sided and for the lack of a better word, cold. It’s not exciting and you can never get back those 60 seconds (if not longer) that it took you to read that email that you have no intention of responding to.
Don’t be that girl.
Send pitches that people want to respond to because you used their name specifically and the pitch directly speaks to a product or service they’re actively trying to make more visible or drive traffic/sales to. Call that product or service out by name. Think about how you would like someone to pitch you if you were the CEO of that brand.
Be clear, no one is becoming a top influencer because they’re copying and pasting pitches.
Pitching brands as an influencer can be quite the feat and will always be a little intimidating. After all, you’re sharing your idea with someone with the hopes they’ll think it’s good enough to let you execute and pay you for it. However, if you’re really intentional, organized and prepared you can become really good at it. Just refer back to these 7 mistakes above and avoid them like the plague.