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If you want to start landing brand collaborations, but you have no idea how to pitch to a brand or how to even start, this post is for you.
I’ve been in the Influencer space for over 5 years and worked with hundreds of different brands. I also have a course, The Modern Influencer, that teaches you how to grow on Instagram and land paid brand collaborations.
While I’m not the only qualified person to talk about this topic, I have a lot of experience from different perspectives to help you learn how to pitch to brands.
When I teach on this topic, the most asked question I get is, “How do I write my pitch?” or anything along those lines.
So, that’s what we’re going over today.
What To Know Before You Start Pitching to Brands
Before you start pitching, you want to ask yourself:
“Am I ready to start pitching?”
And no, I don’t mean if you have enough followers. I’ve helped some of my students with under 1,000 followers land paid brand deals.
When brands are looking for Influencers to partner with, they are looking for 3 things:
- Your parallel
- Your community
- Your experience
Your parallels are things you and a brand have in common.
Brands want to have things in common with you.
Especially if your audience is their target audience, they’re going to be more willing to slide into those DMs and pay you a little bit of cash to reach your audience.
If a brand goes to your Instagram and sees that you have a loyal community, people commenting on your posts, and you replying to those comments, they will see that as a lot of value.
Brands look for Influencers with a 3% engagement rate or more.
That’s one of the secret perks of having under 10,000 followers: you have a higher engagement rate than those over 10,000 followers!
(Hint: that could be a strategy you use when you start pitching!)
Now, when I say “experience,” I don’t mean, “how much experience do you have with brand collaborations?”
What I mean is, are you generally good at creating content?
Go take an honest look at your feed and ask yourself, “Would a brand want to pay me to make something like this?”
If the answer is no, you just need to practice a bit more.
Content creation is key!
The main part of working with a brand is that you’re creating content with them. If your profile doesn’t have content that would entice a brand, or if the quality isn’t quite there yet, that’s what you want to work on a little bit more.
Hone in on your content creation craft. Not building your followers.
2 Goals When Writing a Pitch For Brand Collaborations
Now that you know the 3 things to look for and you’re like, “Okay, Millie, I’m ready to start pitching,” you now have 2 goals for your pitches.
You can choose either-or, or you can choose both.
Here are your two goals:
- Create a connection
Create a Connection
Your goal with pitching is not to land a paid brand collaboration, believe it or not. It isn’t to get free stuff.
If that’s your goal or your intention, you are pitching from the wrong place!
Don’t get me wrong, I know that feeling of landing your first paid brand deal or getting your first free product. It’s a great feeling, feeling like you made it.
We all want free stuff or to work with our dream brands. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But if you’re pitching from that selfish mindset, you won’t be able to land honest, genuine, great brand collaborations. Brands will see right through that.
Popular companies likely get hundreds of DMs and even more emails from people asking them for free stuff. You want to stand out! You want to create a genuine email to them.
When you’re pitching, all you want to do is create a connection. Ask to get on a call, get a cup of coffee, and just connect with the person behind the screen.
If you do want to partner with them and land a collaboration, the collab is going to be one that is mutually beneficial.
Not just you getting free stuff, but you know exactly how you can benefit the brand. You want to come from a mindset of serving.
How To Craft A Pitch To Land Brand Collaborations
Now that you know the basics of what to look for and the intent of your pitch, let’s talk about how to craft your pitch. More specifically, your pitch structure.
Here’s an example of the pitch structure I use and give to my students to use (see screenshot on the right).
It’s a great general outline for you to copy/paste and customize with your own information. Feel free to screenshot and do what you gotta do.
I also have a free downloadable of different pitch templates because there are often different reasons for pitching (introductory pitches, pitches with specific intent, hotel collaborations, etc.). So download it using the link up there! Do it!
Now, let’s break down your email pitch into 6 steps
1. Writing Your Subject Line
Obviously, we’re starting with your subject line. That’s the first thing a brand is going to see before they even read your email.
You want your subject line to be simple, straightforward, and not-too-salesy.
How do you do that?
“[BRAND NAME] X [YOUR HANDLE]”
Boom. You’re done. NEXT!
2. Writing the First Line of Your Pitch
In the first line of your pitch, you want to introduce yourself.
Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? With a hyperlink on your name directing them to your Instagram (or whatever your main platform is).
Here’s an example of what I would say:
“Hey, [BRAND NAME], I’m Millie. I’m an online educator that teaches influencers how to grow their businesses from home and I’ve been an avid customer of yours for over 10 years now!”
You can see I introduced who I was, what I do, and who I do it for. I also made it personal. You want the brand to know you have a personal connection with them and that you’re not just some random person pitching them.
In this case, I was thinking of Mr. Coffee when writing the example, so that’s why I said I’ve been a customer of theirs for over 10 years. Because I have.
For you, just write what your honest experience with that brand has been.
3. Connect With The Brand You’re Pitching To
Speaking of personal connection, in the next 2-3 sentences of your pitch, you want to get even deeper into why you love the brand you’re reaching out to.
That means it’s time to do your research. Go to their website, look at their about page, and find out what non-profits they support. What do they stand for?
That will help establish that personal connection.
Continuing my example (with Mr. Coffee), I would say,
“When I went off to college, my parents gave me a coffee machine to use in my dorm, and I still use it to this day. (We’re going 10 years strong!) I recently did a poll on my Stories asking my followers if they’re coffee lovers or tea lovers. These were their results.
[insert either a link to your stats or a screenshot of your stats]”
In this example, I’m not only making the personal connection, but I’m also tying in my audience’s interest in that brand.
I touch on 3 main points for this section of my pitch:
- Creating a personal connection
- They’re a brand I use and love
- I’m connecting them to my business, my brand, and my audience
Where I say “result,” I’m going to hyperlink the results for them to see.
4. Highlight Your Best Assets
Next, you’re going to list out a few stats about yourself.
This is where you highlight your best assets.
That doesn’t mean you have to share your follower number. If you’re not confident in your follower number, you can highlight your engagement rate instead.
List a few things that you are really confident in.
Here’s an example of what you could write:
“Here are a few quick stats about me:
- I have a [XX]% engagement rate
- I have an average of [XX] views per IG Story
- I have [X,XXX] email list subscribers”
See? You’re just highlighting a few facts about you and your audience. And again, that is just an example.
If you think your experience could be an asset to them, then include that saying something like, “I’ve been a professional photographer for 5 years,” or whatever is relevant to you.
From here, you can either wrap up the email or pitch them a specific idea.
If you don’t have a specific idea, then skip to step 6. If you do have an idea already in mind, then let’s get into how to pitch your specific idea.
5. Writing A Pitch For A Specific Collab Idea
After you say your stats, you can say something along these lines (make it relevant to the brand you’re pitching. I’m continuing my pretend Mr. Coffee pitch):
“I saw you recently released your [iced coffee maker] and wanted to know if you needed help marketing that product. As you can see, my audience are huge coffee lovers and I’d love to partner with you in promoting your new product.
Is this something you’d be interested in? Would love to hop on a call!
Follow your joy,
It’s as simple as that.
6. Writing A Pitch Without A Specific Idea
If you don’t have a specific collab idea in mind and you just want to partner with the brand, you can say something like,
“Would love to see if there’s an opportunity for us to partner together, whether now or in the future. Do you have time to hop on a call to discuss your marketing goals for this year?
Follow your joy,
Now if you’re like, “Millie, I do not want to hop on a call,” don’t worry. Most of the time, they won’t hop on a call. They’ll say something like, “We’re actually busy, but we can email instead!”
The fact that you’re willing to hop on a call to going to make you stand out above and beyond everybody else.
Final Reminders When Pitching To Brands For Collaborations
Believe it or not, the conversion rate of pitching is lower than catching.
What do I mean?
Catching is when a brand reaches out to you saying they want to collab. It’s almost a done deal from there, all you need to do is negotiate. Obviously, those conversations are more likely to convert into an actual partnership.
With pitching, especially cold pitching, the conversion of them actually saying “yes” is not as high up there.
You’re not going to land every pitch that you send. That’s the reality for everyone.
Don’t Be Afraid of Rejection
Do not be scared of hearing “no.” Don’t be scared of getting ghosted.
This happens to me all the time. Even when I reach out to my favorite brands and send up to 3 follow-up emails, I still get ignored.
I even get rejected all the time!
I’ve been subscribed to them for two years and get a new book every month. It’s great.
I’ve talked about them on my Stories before and I’ve even “converted” some people to Book of the Month lovers!
So, I’ve pitched to them and they’ve turned me down multiple times because my audience isn’t in alignment with their audience.
And that’s totally fine! They have every right to say no because it’s true. A majority of my audience isn’t looking to read fictional books. And that’s just that.
(Yes, this whole spiel about how much I love Book of the Month isn’t sponsored at all. No affiliate link. Nothing. I just love them. Maybe there’s hope for the future🤞.)
It’s Not Just About Your Follower Count
This is a perfect example of being okay with hearing, “no,” and of what brands are really looking for.
Book of the Month looks for BookTubers (YouTubers who talk about books, have a book club with their viewers, etc.) and even partners with YouTubers with less than 10,000 subscribers.
This just shows that follow count or subscriber count does not matter! They strategically choose to collab with those people and not with me, despite me having “more subscribers.”
It’s about your audience.
Brands want to connect with your audience. They want to partner with people with similar passions as them.
More Resources On Pitching to Brands
If you want to learn more about pitching to brands, I have a Brand Collaborations playlist on my YouTube Channel you can binge right now. You can also read through more of my blog posts if you’d like!
If you’re serious about making bank and becoming a full-time Influencer, making multiple figures, and landing multiple brand deals, then I highly recommend you take my Instagram Course.
In my course, I dive deep into landing brand collaborations as an Influencer. It’s everything from branding, to growing on Instagram, to monetizing Instagram. From affiliate marketing to brand collaborations, etc.
If you’re serious about it, check it out.
Until then, feel free to leave a comment on any thoughts or questions you have on pitching to brands. I’m more than happy to answer them.
Follow your joy!