5 Tips & Tricks for Reaching Out to Brands

*This is a Guest Post from Audrey Knot with Cheeky Knot Lady*

Hello sunshine! Have you ever been in a situation where you reach out to brands for collaborations, and they never reply? Or they respond saying they are not interested? It happens to all of us, and sometimes, it’s not even that they do not need an influencer, they just don’t realize what you can bring to their brand.  In the meantime, how can you pitch yourself in, if you can’t even speak with the people? With these five tips and tricks for reaching out to brands for opportunities, you will definitely have more success getting those coveted appointments!

Who can reach out to brands

Audrey here from The Cheeky Knot Lady! I know what you think; what does a travel blogger know about reaching out to brands for collaborations, product reviews, ambassadorship and what not.  Well, it turns out that not only am I a travel and lifestyle blogger, but in real life, I am a pretty successful sales rep. I know that your thinking has just shifted, and you are not more convinced on how I can really help. Let me give you a real-life example. I recently reached to the Space Agency president and got an appointment with one of his director within the next week.

Now, that being said, first lesson: anyone can reach to anybody.  You are not « just another blogger », you are a business professional who is seeking to provide value.  You are not asking for money or charity; it’s to provide insightful content.

Reaching brands for collaborations opportunities

Tip #1 : Reach for the appropriate person

First and foremost, you are not throwing a wish in the universe, you want a contract, make sure you reach for the appropriate person right from the start.  In my previous example, I reached for the president, as I needed someone influent in the company to authorize the project.  When reaching for brands, PR director, Marketing Director are generally people who will be taking that kind of decision.  You don’t want to reach to a junior employee, as they have no power, make sure your target someone who is decisional in the process.

How to find the appropriate person

Honestly, this is likely the hardest part, by far. However, this girl has more than one trick. The easiest way will be if you know someone at the company you are aiming for.  Let’s say your long-time friend Sally just got an internship opportunity at XYZ; she likely has access to the company phone list, and therefore can possibly feed you on the relevant people to reach and their phone/email information. But what if you are on your own?

LinkedIn

First and foremost, this social media saved my life more than once when trying to fill my weekly prospection record.  Most of the professionals have an account on this platform, and you should have one too.  You can search for people within a said company, and filter those results by titles.  Now, be careful with titles though, do a research that is quite broad, because companies are more and more creatives with those. What was a marketing director in 2000 is now « chief of creativity » or « social media relationship specialist », you get the picture. As a result, it might be hard to find the Marketing Director, but once you get used to Linkedin researches, you can sense who will be your contact.

Try to find 2-3 people who are worth reaching to, Marketing Director, Assistant Marketing Director, Social Media Manager… and then check their profile.  If they have been at the company for less than four months, don’t bother, they won’t feel comfortable enough to take a contractual decision.  If they have less than 400 contacts, don’t bother either, they are probably not active enough on the platform to get your message.

Once you have found your key to the company, connect with him/her. HOWEVER, this step NEEDS to be done on a computer. If you do it on your phone, you won’t get the chance to write a catchy 300 characters intro. Keep reading to learn what should be in your intro.

The News

Following LinkedIn, or even, complementing LinkedIn, one of the most crucial weapons you have, is the News.  As a matter of fact, most of the big news, releases and situations of interest are released in the News, and you should definitely take advantage of that. For instance, take this press release from Nars about their new orgasm collection. In this document, you find out the company president’s name as well as the VP global digital strategy and engagement. The latest might be a good contact. Using their name, you can then research them on LinkedIn and connect using the technique above.

Tip #2: I have the name, now what?

Undoubtedly a name is good; however, contact information is better. There is no way (or very unlikely) you can call the brand, and ask the receptionist to speak with X.  The receptionists are known as the gatekeepers by us, sales rep.  They prevent solicitors from reaching upper management.  You need to be sneaky.  This is where LinkedIn comes really handy.  If you can connect with the person on LinkedIn, you can actually get his/her contact info. 

LinkedIn Contact Info Photo

Let’s get real though, it’s not because you ask someone for a connection that they will automatically accept, this is why I like to connect with a few people at the company.  Typically, once you have the structure of one email address, they are all structured the same. For instance, if you couldn’t connect with marketing director ABC XYZ, but you could reach social media manager BLA DAH.  You can check email address, let’s say the structure is bla.dah@nars.com; I would try to write to abc.xyz@nars.com

Tip #3: make sure your email gets opened

Typically, trying reaching out to brands for collaborations via an email is the equivalent of a bottle in the ocean.  On the other hand, technology can let you know when and if your email was opened. (Always ask for reading confirmation from your email provider) As a result, if you want to make sure your contact opens your email, you need to make sure you have a catchy object. ALWAYS ask for what you want in the object.

“Should I ask for a collaboration?” No! it’s is a bit to direct.  What you want is an appointment so you can pitch yourself. 

To make sure your contact reads your email, you write the following object: “proposed phone appointment: X month hh:mm or Y month hh:mm”

Proposing a choice in the object will have two effects: first, the contact will slightly panic thinking: “have I double booked my calendar” and will automatically check his calendar to see whether or not the proposed slot is free. Second, you make your time valuable.  It’s way better to make it look like YOU have time opened on these slots, as opposed to asking for a vague appointment whenever he has time. The latest makes you a beggar. You are not a beggar; you are a valuable business partner, you time worths as much as his.

Tip #4 write an email with impact

In your journey to reaching out to brands for collaborations, you have determined the right person the reach to, you got his/her contact information, and you have written the email object.  Now, what do we write in the body?

Keep it short

You want to make sure the person gets to the end of your email, therefore, make sure to keep it short. I typically keep mine under five lines. 

Keep the light on your contact

You don’t want to elaborate on who you are, what you do.  You want to congratulate your contact for any accomplishment; hence the News research, highlight a problem that he might have and how you can help solve it.

You are providing a solution.  You are not asking for a contract; you offer a solution to one of their problem.

Example

If we refer to the previous NARS press release, here is how I would address the email.

Dear Ms. Fiero,

Congratulations for your recent Orgasm collection launch. I read the recent press release regarding your London pop-up and how it fitted your UK makeup fans based market.  I have been working with brands to expand their market in North America, and I was wondering if NARS could benefit the same advantages.  As such, I propose a quick phone meeting on the XX at hh:mm or YY at hh:mm, please let me know your preference.

I wish you a great day,

Audrey

See how it’s short, I propose value based on what I previously read and ask for closure with a phone appointment.

Tip #5 Go get them

Although you have the entire map how to reach out to brands for collaborations, once you get the appointment, it’s all on you! Make sure your blog or social media is filled with high-quality photos, prior to reaching to you, your contact might explore your platforms, therefore, make sure it reveals how amazing you are.

Audrey is the sweet gal behind The Cheeky Knot Lady.  Likely a princess in a past life; she is now a scientist who makes the most of every minute and shares her travel tips with others.  Working full-time, she understands that vacation is limited, and we all want to make the most without breaking the bank.  Glass half-full type of girl, moreover when the glass is filled with wine, she always finds positive in every situation.  Audrey is known for her sarcasm, her dark humor, and her love for the color pink.

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