How to Write a Pitch Email
Why is it so hard for us to ask for things we want? I mean, it should be easy for us to say, "Hey you, awesome brand over there. I want to work with you so let's make this happen!"
But it's not so easy. Or is it?
Whether you want to pitch a brand for a sponsored post opportunity or pitch a peer in your niche for an epic collaboration, you need a good pitch email. You want to present yourself, your blog, and your idea in such a way that the brand or peer is salivating at the thought of working with you. (Too dramatic?)
There are two email templates you should keep on hand - a brand pitch and a collaboration pitch. And today is your lucky day because I'm not only going to help you write these pitch emails, I'm giving you the fill-in-the-blank templates to use. Because I'm awesome. You're welcome...
Before I get into the specifics of each type of pitch email, there are a few things to keep in mind. Whether sending a brand pitch or collaboration pitch, remember these things:
- Send from your regular email address, not through a platform like MailChimp or ConvertKit
- Do NOT add these brands or peers to your email list in those platforms without their permission
- Keep track of when emails were sent and schedule reminders to follow-up (more on that later)
- Always use the name of the person you're emailing, if you have it
- Always include your contact information (seems like a no-brainer but people forget)
Now let's get into those specifics, shall we?
PITCHING A BRAND
A lot of us have worked with brands through blog networks, like Social Fabric, Clever Girls, and the like. But what if you want to take matters into your own hands and work with a brand directly?
First of all, you might wonder why you would want to do that. One word: MONEY.
I know, I know...I'm an advocate of blogging for passion, not a paycheck. But if you do want to monetize (and who doesn't, am I right?), you have a better opportunity for earning more money per post when you work directly with a brand as opposed to going through a third-party network.
*Sidenote (AKA cover-my-ass policy): Networks are awesome and a really great way to earn money through sponsored posts without the hassle of dealing with brands directly. But they are not the only way to work with brands.
Ok, moving on...
If you want to work with brands directly, you're going to have to do the scary part of pitching the brand yourself. That involves a well-crafted email.
HOW TO WRITE A BRAND PITCH EMAIL
There are 6 things you must include in every pitch email to a brand:
- Your first and last name, blog name & URL, social media links, and your email address
- Your big idea – all of it. The whole shebang. Like…I mean, everything. We’ll get more into that in a minute.
- Exactly what you will do for them in terms of promotion.
- Examples of other similar posts on your blog, sponsored or not.
- Your anticipated timeline for this project.
- Your super awesome media kit.
After the brand decides to work with you, you'll need to talk money. Let the brand know your rate for this post. (VALUE YOURSELF DAMMIT!) Don't include this in your initial pitch, OK?
Let's break these things down, how 'bout it?
1. Your first and last name, blog name & URL, social media links, and your email address
Yes, Captain Obvious, you are sending an email from your email address, so obviously the receiver will have it. However, part of your email should include a "contact info" section to make things super easy for busy brand reps. They get countless emails from people wanting free product and/or money so don't assume they'll figure it out.
This is also the first item on the list because it should be at the top of your email. You want this brand rep to immediately know who you are, that you're a blogger with an online presence, and how they can see that online presence for themselves.
2. Your big idea - all of it.
I know it might be tempting to tease your idea because this big, bad brand might love it so much they'll steal it and never give you credit. But NO! They won't, promise. So give them every minute detail of what you want to do.
You want to be specific about which of their products you will use in this project, how you'll explain the project to your readers, what kinds of images and/or video you'll include in the post, if you'll have more than one post for this project, etc.
3. Your promotional plan.
BIG DEAL. So, at this point in your email, you've told them who you are and what you want. Now it's time to tell them what you'll do for them.
*TIP* If you have a crap following on one particular social media platform, (A) don't include it in Item #1 and (B) don't list it as one of your promotional methods for this project. Got it? Mmm...k.
You need to let this brand know which social media platforms you'll promote on, how many times, and at what frequency. You also need to let them know if you intend to promote them in your email newsletter. Mention if you'd be willing to share any of their brand's promotions, like a coupon or sale, or a new product they want to promote heavily. Will you include their social media links? (The answer to that riddle is always 'yes'.)
Also be sure to mention that you will create custom bitly links for all of their social media links in your post so you can track the click-through rate for each one. Let them know you'll follow up with them at some designated time frame after the post goes live to give them statistics like pageviews, comments, social media shares, and clicks on those bitly links.
4. Examples of similar work.
You want these brands to know that you're worth what you're charging for this post, so provide links to at least one or two similar blog posts. You don't need to necessarily provide links to other sponsored content, but if you have something like that, it would be a good idea to share it, as long as it's not a competing brand.
For example, you wouldn't pitch Behr paints with a link to a Sherwin-Williams post. Don't do that.
5. The timeline.
Let's be clear - brand reps get gobs of emails. If they've made it this far in your pitch email, it means they genuinely like your idea. Now it's time to put them into action by setting a timeline.
Let the brand know that you will follow-up by a certain date if you have not heard from them. You also want to be crystal clear about the length of time it will take to complete this project, particularly if you can't begin until you receive product and payment from them.
Also be clear if this is a time-sensitive type of project, like a seasonal post that needs to be published by November 1st for the Christmas rush.
6. Your media kit.
Finally, you want to include your media kit so you can show them visually all the things you mentioned in your email. I'm not going to get into this because I wrote an entire blog post on it, so click HERE to learn how to put one together for yourself.
Let them know you're not doing all of this work for free. Be sure to be respectful of your own time and quality of work, so don't sell yourself short.
If you know this project will take a few days to complete - including making the thing, photographing the thing, editing the photos of the thing, writing the post, scheduling the social shares, and doing all the other things you mentioned in Item #3 - incorporate that into your price.
Don't be scared. Be confident in your abilities.
Are you stressed out yet? I know it seems like a lot, and it is, if we're being honest. But it's all very important. You essentially get one shot to lay it all on the table for these brands, so you gotta make it count.
Because I want you to land these brand opportunities, I'm doing you a solid and giving you a template that is essentially a fill-in-the-blank Mad Libs style brand pitch email template. Click the image below to get yours fo' FREE! (Hey current subscribers, this is already in the Resource library for you, so no need to sign up again!)
Now go out there and make that money baby!
AFTER THE PITCH
I'm a spreadsheet junkie, so of course I'm going to tell you to use a spreadsheet to keep track of a few things regarding your pitch emails. Whether you prefer a spreadsheet or plain piece of paper, you need to make note of these things:
- When you sent the pitch email
- To whom you sent it, including their name & email address
- When you will follow-up, which you also shared in your pitch email
- Responses received & the date you received them
I want to talk specifically about the responses and offer up a little bit of encouragement. There's a good chance you'll hear a "no" or nothing at all. Sometimes that "no" is followed up by an explanation, which is helpful, but you can't count on that.
Rather than feeling defeated, create a folder in your inbox for these brand partnerships that didn't happen, then set a reminder on your calendar to try again with the same brand in six months. Chances are, your blog and social media stats will be a bit higher, you'll have a few more sponsored posts under your belt, and the brand may be in a completely different position when you pitch again.
Keep in mind that brands have an allotted budget for things like sponsored posts, so if you pitch them mid-year, they may already be close to their budget allowance. Pitching them closer to the end of the year for something you can do in the new year might be better because they'll have a fresh new budget to start with!
PITCHING A COLLAB
What? You thought we were done? No way, friend! I told you we were doing TWO pitch emails today. That big ol' pile of awesome up there was only the first one!
Pitching a peer for a collaboration idea is a totally different can of worms than pitching a brand, and not nearly as scary. Wait. I take that back. It can be equally as scary if you don't know the person you're pitching very well, but it's someone you really admire and respect. Think: meeting your fave celeb and being tongue-tied. It's scary like that.
But the good news is, the majority of bloggers and online creatives are super nice people, they don't bite, and they love collaborations (or collabs, as I'll refer to them from here on out - because lazy).
Collabs are awesome opportunities for you to connect with other bloggers in your niche, and the value of cross-promotion is huge! You get your blog in front of new readers, and so does your collab partner(s).
Not sure what types of collabs you can put together? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- A round-up blog post featuring related posts from other blogs in your niche, like THIS ONE that my friend Julie puts together each month
- A round-up Q&A post like THIS ONE that my girl Krista put together, asking several bloggers the same question then showcasing all of their responses
- An interview post like THIS ONE that features one blogger and covers a specific topic
- A co-hosted webinar like THIS ONE I'm co-hosting TOMORROW about (guess what?) monetizing your blog
- A podcast with guest hosts, like Blog Fuel that launches on June 22nd!
And there are tons more, so be creative!
PREPARING FOR YOUR COLLAB
Before you start pitching potential collaborators, you need to get a few things lined up first.
#1 - Flesh out your big idea.
Get it all out. Brainstorm until you fine tune exactly what it is you are creating and how collaborators will be part of it. Determine if this is something they will get paid for, like a co-hosted course or paid workshop, and how much they'll get paid, like a percentage of each sale or one lump sum.
Write it out in detail. You'll be sending this to potential collaborators with your pitch email.
#2 - Make your dream guest list.
I prefer using a spreadsheet for this. Make a list of everyone you'd love to have participate in this collab. Add a column for their email list, another for the date on which you will contact them, and another for the follow-up date. You can also add any notes, like their website URL, topics you want to cover, etc.
#3 - Set the time frame.
If this is a bigger project, like my Blog Fuel podcast, set a launch date. Determine how much time you'll need to prepare to actually make this launch date a reality and be sure to give each potential collaborator enough time to receive and process your idea, get back to you, and do the work involved.
Now you're ready for the pitch.
HOW TO WRITE A COLLAB PITCH EMAIL
There are 6 things you'll need to include in a collab pitch email, some of which are similar to the brand pitch email:
- Your first and last name, blog name & URL, and your email address
- Your big idea – all of it. Yes, really.
- Why you want them to be part of this project
- Expected timeline including anticipated launch/publish date
- How you'll promote it & them
- Your expectations of them
Alright, let's dive in.
1. Your name, email, blah, blah, blah...
You get this by now, right? If not, scroll back up to the brand pitch email and read Item #1.
2. Your big idea
Yep. That big, detailed idea you wrote down in your prep phase is what you'll send to a potential collaborator. They will not steal your idea. (If they do, you wouldn't want to work with them anyway because they suck.)
You need to give them enough detail about this collab so they'll know exactly what they're getting into, and they can accurately gauge if it will fit into their current project availability, if it fits their niche and their readership, and if it will serve them in some way - financially or otherwise.
3. Why you're reaching out to them
The bottom line: You need to stroke their ego a bit. Let them know you respect them in this industry, or you love their work. Whatever it is that made you think of them when listing potential collaborators, tell them. But be honest!!!
4. Expected timeline
You need to make it very clear when you need whatever it is you need from them. Provide the launch or publish date for this project. If you need images or links from them, give them a deadline. Keep in mind that a tight turnaround time might mean they'll have to pass, so be sure to give them a realistic amount of time to complete the tasks you need them to complete.
[bctt tweet="I'm learning how to pitch my next epic collab plus I've got a FREE email template!" username="sweetteagrace"]
5. Promotional methods
Let your collaborator know how you'll promote them - specifically what social media channels and how often. Also make it clear, if this is something on your blog, that you'll add links to their social media channels and website in your post.
In the case of a co-hosted webinar, mention if you intend to send them a list of email addresses for the registrants after the webinar so they can add them to their email list. (Yes, you should do this.)
6. Your expectations of them
Yes, they have to do something for you, too. It's only fair. Outline what you expect from them: before the collab, during the collab, and after the collab. Be sure to let them know if they need to write a blog post, create a graphic, send a head shot, share on their social media channels and/or to their email list.
If it's a cohosted webinar, let them know they need to promote it just as they would their own webinar. Also mention if they need to prepare any slides or if you'll do that.
Isn't it exciting? Your next collab is going to be epic! To make it easy, as promised, I've got a collab pitch email template that you can use so click the image below to get it. (Hey current subscribers, this is already in the Resource library for you, so no need to sign up again!)
AFTER THE PITCH
Very similarly to what you do after the pitch to a brand, you need to keep track of your collab pitches as well. Keep track of the date you send the pitch, who you send it to, when you'll follow-up, and what the response was.
Also be sure to keep track of the deadlines you set in your pitch email for anything you need from your collaborator. Check off when you receive these things and when you'll need to reach out to remind them.
If a potential collaborator says they can't work with you right now but maybe in six months, set a reminder to follow-up in six months with another fabulous idea.
You're now prepared to make those connections, create brand partnerships and put together epic collabs!