How to Pitch to Small Businesses and Handmade Brands

I think cross-promotion is great and I regularly collaborate* with photographers, bloggers/influencers, and even other brands. Working with other businesses is a great way for them to generate blog content, and for me to gain exposure, reach new audiences, and find new inspiration.  I generally find that these exchanges are mutually beneficial -- they get free stuff, and I get some pictures to post and get an introduction to their audience.

Here's the catch -- when you run a business, everyone wants stuff for free, and some people aren't very nice about asking for it. I wish I were in the position to give everyone free lingerie all the time. However, making and selling underwear is literally how I make my living and I can't dole out freebies as often as I like. I do work with brand reps monthly, participate in a handful of styled shoots per year, and I give back in other ways like donating proceeds to important causes to me.

Alright, let's cut to the chase -- you want me to give you something for free. Here's how to get it:

1. EMAIL ME! Pretty please, this is so important. Messaging me on facebook feels like an invasion of my personal space, and Instagram DMs come off as unprofessional. My email inbox is much more organized and I'm better equipped to respond to your inquiry if it comes in the form of a nicely worded email. You can easily find my email address on my website, facebook, and instagram pages. {hint: it's annika@marriedandbright.com}

2. USE MY NAME! It takes about 5 seconds on my website, facebook, or instagram to figure out what my first name is. {It's Annika, nice to meet you.} I understand that when sending pitch emails, you'll likely be using a template, and that's 100% fine. But, please, take the time to replace the name of the person you emailed before me, and be aware that I can see right through the opening line of "hey there!" {To another point: please don't address me by a pet name. It's likely this is our first point of contact and I don't like being called "honey," "darlin'" or your "BFF," even if I do know you.} Calling me by my name is the bare minimum in putting together a proper pitch.

3. KEEP IT SHORT! I don't need to hear the entire story of how your started your blog, or what your deepest passions are or where you went to college or if you're a vegetarian. That being said, please include the following four things:

  • who you are / what your company is. {this is the part where you have to sell yourself to me and make me interested in reading more}
  • say something specific about my brand. {don't say "I love your stuff." I really detest my beautifully designed and handcrafted lingerie being referred to as "stuff." Say, for example, "I recently saw your cat bralette on Buzzfeed, and I thought it was super cute!"}
  • tell me specifically what you are looking to do. {being broad by saying "I'd love to work with you/collaborate/post about your stuff" doesn't entice me. Say instead, "I'm putting together a post about feeling sexy post baby, and I think your high waisted undies would be a great centerpiece. I would love to photograph myself modeling them and share a link to your site. You can even use my photo on your Instagram page!"}
  • show me how it's a good deal for me. {I understand it's a good deal for you to get free stuff (there that word is again!), but what will I get back? Photos to share, a link on your blog, a pin on your pinterest board?}

4. SHOW ME THE LINKS! As part of your sign off, please include links and stats. I wanna see how many followers you have, what your engagement looks like, how many hits you get on your site, how often you post, etc etc etc. Don't make me work harder than I have to to find you on the internet. I have so much sewing to do, I'm gonna move on real quick if I can't find what I'm looking for easily.

My ideal pitch email would look like this:

Hi Annika,

My name is Mary and I'm a new mom with a blog about sustainable fashion, body positivity, and women's issues.  

I recently saw your cat bralette on Buzzfeed, and I thought it was super cute!

I'm putting together a post about feeling sexy post baby, and I think your high waisted undies would be a great centerpiece. I would love to photograph myself modeling them and share a link to your site. You can even use my photo on your Instagram page!

If you'd like to work together, the best way to reach me is to reply to this email address. For your reference my blog is idealmomblogforM&B dot com and I get 17 million hits a day on it. You can also find my instagram and pinterest pages here where you'll find I have high engagement with my readers.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon! And say hi to Bucket for me!
Best,
Mary

Okay, I felt like this was the meanest post ever. Rest assured, I love working with other people and I actively WANT to find new collaborators. It's frustrating being pitched constantly {I get at least one email/message a day asking for *free stuff*} and it makes me feel like my work isn't valuable enough for someone to at least construct a well thought out email about. I really wanna work with you!! Seriously, following these guidelines will make both our lives so much easier!