I hit an exciting milestone last week – it was my six-year blogging anniversary! My little fashion blog that nobody used to read (except for my mom) has slowly but steadily grown. People actually read it! People who aren’t related to me!
About three years ago, I started receiving outreach from brands. As a blogger, this was super exciting: brands actually liked my blog enough that they wanted to work with me! But as someone who works in SEO, I can’t help but critique every outreach email I receive.
When doing outreach for my own clients, I always think about the outreach that I receive as a blogger. Which pitches did I like and respond to? Which did I delete without even a reply? And I use this knowledge while writing my own outreach.
Today, I’m going to show you a handful of examples of outreach I’ve received in the past few months. It runs the gamut from very, very bad to pretty damned good. And then, I’ll share what I’ve learned.
My name is _____ and I recently began working with an upscale clothing retailer who is attempting to increase their online presence.
I came across your site (what-the-frock.com) and think it would be a great fit for my client.
I am particularly interested in sponsored posts, but would love to hear what else is available. Please let me know if you have any information on your sponsored post rates.
Thanks so much! I look forward to hearing back from you!
- It’s not personalized. She could’ve taken 30 seconds to find my name – it’s only in the footer of every single post on my blog, as well as on my about page. And she used my URL instead of my blog name in the post, which is an obvious clue that this is a form email.
- She didn’t tell me upfront who the brand is. This is no good for two reasons: First, It requires an additional step in communication. If I was interested in this opportunity, I’d have to respond by asking her who the brand was, and await her reply. Second, It’s a trust issue. Does she not trust me enough to tell me what the brand is? Or is she trying to pull a bait and switch by telling me that it’s an upscale brand, only to reveal that it’s something low-quality or otherwise shady?
- It’s brief, to the point, and seems to be a relevant brand to pitch to a fashion blogger.
I was just going through few sites yesterday and came across your http://www.what-the-frock.com/ too.
I really liked the way you have presented your site. I was reading some of your content and really found them interesting and informative. So I was just wondering if I can also do something for your site. Actually I am a freelance writer and I love writing articles as a hobby on topics related to Fashion and LIfestyle.
What if I provide you with an unique article as a Guest Post. An article that will be informative for your readers. The article will be related to your website and will be apprciated by your readers.
It would be great if you can add a small BIO of mine at the end of the article with my related site’s links. I guarantee you that hte article will be 100% copy scape protected and will be of around 700 words.
Please let me know if this sound good to you, so that we can start working on your article.
- I mean, just read it! Even if I accepted unsolicited guest posts (which I don’t), why would I want one from someone who writes so poorly?
- The brand is irrelevant. A quick Google search revealed that the sender of this email worked for a credit counseling service, and all of her guest posts across the web linked back to that site. Why she thought a fashion blogger would be interested in this, I’ll never know.
- Absolutely nothing.
My name is ______ and I work for [accessory brand]. I wanted to fill you in on an amazing opportunity for bloggers like you to get involved, gain exposure, and be entered into a giveaway to win some amazing [product]!
Celebrate the season with a chance to win $1,000 worth of [brand product] (including some new items from the Spring/Summer Collection). There is also an opportunity to be chosen as a highlighted blogger on our website, blog and email campaign. This is an amazing opportunity for exposure for your personal blog!
Interested? To enter, post the attached image to your blog and make sure to link back to [brand website]! And have your readers follow the steps on the editorial. The contest lasts from [dates]. The winner will be chosen at random and posted on [date] for both the blogger contest as well as the $1,000 winner. PLEASE be sure to e-mail your post to [email address] with subject “Bloggers Opportunity” so that we have record of your entry! For each blog post you share the editorial, you will gain an additional entry into the blogger-highlighted contest. If you instagram the editorial make sure to reference [twitter account] (another entry)!
*International bloggers welcome!!!
**As a blogger you will be eligible for both winning the $1000 [product] as well as the highlighted blogger opportunity.
DON’T FORGET- AS A BLOGGER
- These are the 4 steps to complete in order to enter!
- Like [brand] on Facebook
- Follow [brand] on Twitter
- Follow [brand] on instagram
- Post above image to your blog, hyperlink to [website] & send an email with a link to your post to [email address]
- *Be sure to email every time you post it for extra entries!
- It’s soooooooooooooooooooo long. When it comes to outreach, it’s best to do the whole brevity thing (TM the Dude). Get your point across, but be concise.
- They’re asking a lot. A blog post, an email, a Facebook like, a Twitter follow, an Instagram follow, and a link, just for a chance to win a contest?
- A blog post that serves as a contest entry for me has no value to my readers.
- Once again, this email isn’t personalized.
- Not much, but at least it’s an appropriate brand to pitch to a fashion blogger.
I am just emailing to ask whether you are open to any potential text link placement? I have been looking for relevant sites to use for my client and this campaign, as well as building relationships with webmasters. Your site would be a good match and I’d like to discuss some opportunities with you.
I am actually looking to place a text link within a recent, relevant article on your site. This will link back to my clients site, and will be placed within a short sentence at the end of the article. My client is a website where you can exchange electronic products for cash, therefore I feel that this is highly relevant to your site.
If this would be possible, then please let me know and I will send you the details, including costs. I would really appreciate it if you could get back to me regarding this opportunity as soon as possible.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.
- Not to sound like a broken record, but it’s not personalized.
- It’s completely irrelevant. I have no idea how they decided that selling used electronics had anything to do with fashion.
- A random link shoehorned into an already-existing post is too spammy for my tastes.
- Ummmm… at least she was polite?
My name is _____. I work as the outreach manager for a health supplements company called [brand]. I stumbled across http://what-the-frock.com, and I really like how approachable your site is! Because you love providing giveaway opportunities as much as we do, I would love to send you a one month supply of [product] for your own personal review, as well as a second one for a contest/giveaway as you see fit.
[product] is wildly good for you. Take a look at some of the benefits: [link to site]
If you’re interested, I can have both bottles shipped to your doorstep ASAP! Let me know if you’re interested, or if you have any other exciting ideas for collaboration. I’d just love to work with you!
Warmest of Regards,
- Who is Whitney? I’m not Whitney.
- I do not blog, nor have I ever blogged, about health supplements or anything related to health supplements.
- I actually got this email twice in a row, from two different email addresses, and neither email address matched the name of the person who signed the email. Shady city.
- They asked for my input on other collaboration ideas.
I just wanted to introduce myself to you, My name is ____ and I am the buyer for [online fashion site] – I just want to say that I LOVE your blog, its amazing! I would love to work together in some way. What do you think? Do you have any ideas about how we can partner?
Looking forward to speaking with you,
- It’s not personalized
- The compliment seems completely phony.
- She didn’t offer any ideas, but asked me for some of mine. Sorry, lady, I’m not in charge of marketing for your website.
And finally, a few examples of good outreach.
I didn’t end up accepting the opportunity below, but I really, really wanted to. It just wasn’t the best fit for my blog, as it’s an expensive brand and I only blog about affordable fashion. It’s a solid pitch, though.
I have been a big fan of what the frock? for a while now. Love your voice and content – you have truly defined yourself as an influencer in the blogging and fashion world!
I am writing you today to invite you to check out our new [local store for a women’s fashion brand]. We are super excited about this store opening and think you will be too once you see the design and layout.
I wanted to personally invite you to visit the store to see the new design (if you haven’t already) and to take home your favorite top and bottom from our brand-new collection. After your visit, I would love if you could write about/tweet/post your trip to the store as it is something that I’m sure your fans will love to see!
Please let me know what you think and I will get you set up with a personal styling session. What is your availability like to go in?
- It’s concise and relevant. They told me exactly what they’re offering and what they’d like in return.
- It’s personalized and friendly.
How are you?
I’m writing on behalf of [affordable fashion brand] and I wanted to get in touch to see if you would be interested in being sponsored to write a post on your blog for them? I’ve been looking at your blog, I see that you’ve featured [the brand] several times already, and think you would be perfect.
We would like you to create a post in your own style about [brand] and we’ll compensate you for the time you’ve taken to do this. You can choose whatever you want as long as it fits one of the following categories:
- Leather jackets
Beyond that, you have creative freedom to do whatever you want – the only thing that we require is that we approve of the post, and that you link to [brand website]
If this sounds like something you would like to go forward with, let me know. Or, if you have any other ideas as to how you can partner with [brand], I’d love to hear them!
I look forward to hearing from you,
- They researched ahead of time and found that I’d already written about their brand several times. Good prospecting!
- Their email was clear and to the point.
- They made it clear that they’re open to hearing any partnership ideas that I may have.
I wanted to personally present you with an opportunity I have coming up for [affordable clothing brand] this month.
This opportunity promotes their deals for around $20 and under. Here are the details:
- We will provide a $50 gift card to [store]
- Shop at [brand store] for their $20 deals.
- Upload 1 photo of yourself shopping in-store to Instagram with the hashtag #[custom hashtag]
- Use items purchased at [store] to create your look (styled with your own clothes/accessories).
- Post your look on your blog.
- Promote post on Facebook/Twitter
Can you please let me know if you are interested? I would love to send you more details.
Thanks so much! Hope to work with you again soon.
- It’s direct and straightforward.
- It’s the perfect brand match for a frugal shopping blog.
When doing my own outreach, here’s what I always try to keep in mind:
- Personalize. Take the time to look up the blogger’s name, and address it directly to him or her. Use the blog name instead of the URL. Not doing so isn’t just impersonal, it’s lazy.
- Pay attention to detail. We know that you’re just copying and pasting most of your email, and that’s okay. But make sure that you update all of the personal details and that you do it correctly.
- Research. If you’re pitching a giveaway, make sure the blogger actually does giveaways. If you’re pitching a product, check to see if the blogger has ever posted about something similar. If you’re inviting the blogger to an event, make sure she lives in the area. Yes, this takes more time than just blindly sending out emails, but it will yield much better results in the end.
- Only compliment if you mean it. If you truly are a fan of the blog you’re reaching out to, then by all means let them know! But don’t give hollow compliments just to get into a blogger’s good graces. We don’t expect everyone to be long-time fans, and phony praise is pretty obvious.
- Be specific, but flexible. Don’t beat around the bush or be wishy-washy; just tell the blogger what you’d like from them and what you’re offering in return. But if the blogger has another idea about how you can work together, listen to them. We know our content and audience better than anyone else does
- Have something to offer. Most bloggers aren’t going to blog about your brand out of the kindness of their hearts. We need something in return. It doesn’t have to be monetary; it can be something that our readers would find useful, informative, or entertaining, like a coupon code, a giveaway, or some really kick-ass content.
- Be gracious. If a blogger responds with a polite “no thank you,” be polite in kind, and maybe you’ll have the opportunity to pitch them something else again.
Are there any other blogger/SEOs in the house? What have the pitches you’ve received taught you?
Want more? Check out our the Smart SEO’s Guide to Outreach.