This post contains affiliate links*
One reader asks:
For Ask Rachel, I was wondering how you got involved with companies and products for sponsored posts and ads like Walmart for your Instagram and blog posts?
Thanks so much for your question! I think as bloggers it can feel confusing when trying to connect with brands for collaborations. Below I am going to break down four ways to connect with brands for sponsored posts. At the end of the post, I share how to get a one-on-one “pick my brain” session with me for FREE!
How To Connect With Brands For Sponsored Posts:
1) Blog Networks.
Blog networks are a great place when starting out. Basically you join them and the network acts as the middleman between you and the brand. You submit pitches for their open campaigns and then get a notice if you’ve been selected. Some networks require you to have a certain number of followers or page views, and those usually pay better.
Networks will save you time when working with brands. However, you’ll ultimately make less money as they take their cut of the budget.
* A lot of bloggers I talk to set their rates comparable to what networks offer for campaigns – DON’T DO THIS! Typically, networks will take around 50% of the allotted budget for their work as the middleman. Meaning brands were actually willing to pay you double the number you’re seeing! Personally, when I first started out, I set my rates at $250 which is what most networks paid out… little did I know brands were actually willing to pay $500 (hence why it’s better to work with them directly).
Some networks I love include: Clever Girls, Social Fabric, and Pollinate. – but there are tons out there, so explore to find ones you like!
2) They Contact Me.
Have a media kit ready to send off for press inquiries at a moments notice! Also make sure it’s easy for brands to contact you through your site. I would also recommend having a contract ready to send brands to sign when moving forward with the agreement; it simply keeps things clear down the road. Be professional and punctual with your responses.
Okay, truth, I am typically the one doing the referring… Not too many bloggers are keen on this which I am super surprised about. Maybe it’s the coach/therapist in me, but I believe in making appropriate referrals when I can’t serve someone. Several companies have reached out to me for campaigns which didn’t work out for one reason or another and I offered to introduce them to fellow bloggers that might better serve them. If you’re a good blogger, you won’t work with brands on campaigns that don’t align. Use those moments as an opportunity to build a relationship with the PR person. Make his/her life easier by referring them to someone whose audience would better align. Not only will you get brownie points for helping them, hopefully other bloggers will keep you in mind and return the favor.
4) Pitch them.
Working directly with brands is the key to making real money as a blogger. Aside from the money, it’s also a major key in maintaining your authenticity and credibility with your audience! There are two major resources I recommend if you’re thinking about pitching brands or working with them directly: BossPitch (currently closed for enrollment) and Slightly Savvy Summer Camp (currently OPEN for enrollment)!
Since Summer Camp is currently open, let’s start with that one. Summer Camp was started by a Katherine from Slightly Savvy. She’s worked in PR managing influencer campaigns for global brands. She also started a blog fairly recently, so she gets it from both perspectives. Seriously, just read one of her posts on working with brands and you will see just how valuable her insights are! She decided to launch “Summer Camp” to get some insider “fireside” chats if you will, about what PR people are really looking for from bloggers! Over the course of 5 days, she is interviewing other PR professionals to answer our questions as influencers and how we can position ourselves as the dream blogger to work with! Since it’s her first time launching the program, she’s made it crazy affordable too (only $125!!).
BossPitch (currently closed, but you can enter your email below and get an update when it opens!):
Truth, before taking BossPitch, I never pitched a single brand. I thought I was too small to work with brands directly, and felt self conscious. I would constantly write down brands I wanted to work with, then just stare blankly at my computer screen when it came time to take action.
Through BossPitch, I realized I was leaving money on the table! With a newfound confidence, I increased my rates. Based on the difference (of my increased rates), the course more than paid for itself after just two campaigns! In other words, my rates were high enough that I didn’t “double them” right off the bat, but I was able to pay for the course in less than two campaigns based off the difference from what I did increase them to!
I continue to see the investment pay off. In fact, in just a couple of months I more than doubled my rates; which were already 4x higher than friends who had been blogging for over 4 years! I’ve also gotten over $5,000 in furniture for my new house and continue to work on some big deals. Here’s a little video testimonial I put together for the course (sorry in advance for my frazzled look and rough edits, I was working on a deadline and kept getting really excited about the course that I would go on long tangents ?):
If you sign up for BossPitch using my affiliate code, then you will also get a 60 minute one-on-one session with me for free!
PLUS one piece of your writing workshopped! So that can either be a blog post, your about page, pitches, whatever! I’ll go through it with a fine tooth comb and give you all my comments, thoughts, and suggestions!
This session can be used to talk about pitching, or ANYTHING blog/business related! Whether you want to talk about pitching, a blog audit, graphic design, content strategy, social media strategy, or a little bit of everything! That’s right, a $275 value, 60 minute “pick my brain” session for FREE.
BossPitch’s doors are now CLOSED! Sign up by click here to receive an email update when the course re-launches and be the first to know about special bonuses and offers from me!
I’ve linked the my exact dress from Heartloom (first) as well as some cheaper options(affiliate links):