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How to Pitch Brands When You Have Low Traffic

Posted By Laney Galligan 29th of July 2016 Blogging for Dollars 0 Comments

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A common question from new bloggers is “How big do I have to be before I can start working with brands?”

It’s a question that reveals how often emphasis is put on audience size when it comes to marketing spend in the influencer space.

There are definitely ways you can change this emphasis to work for, rather than against you. It’s important to understand that audience size is a carryover from traditional advertising and media buying – the more eyeballs the better!

Digital marketing makes it easier and cheaper to reach more eyeballs than ever before (hello Facebook ads). It’s no wonder people are fed up with and becoming blind to advertising messages. We now prefer, more than ever, ‘word of mouth’ recommendations from people we know and trust to help us filter and make decisions on how we act and what we purchase.  

I just received an email this morning informing me of the rise in the search term ‘influencer marketing’ – quite the spike in the last 12 months!

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This is great news for you if you’re an influencer. Note the search term is for ‘influencer marketing’, not ‘massive website marketing’ or ‘how to market to fake Instagram followers’.

So, when it comes to your strategy for approaching brands when you have low traffic, worry less about the size of your audience and start focusing on the impact of your influence on that audience. It’s your influence you need to emphasise to the brands you want to work with. If you need to figure out if you’ve got influence, check out The 4 Rs that Show a Brand your Blog is Influential.

Here are 4 strategies you can use to approach the brands you want to work with when you have low traffic.

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Focus on your influence rather than your reach

Ask yourself, what is the brand buying – eyeballs or actions? Sometimes it’s a mix of the two, but ultimately brands are working with influencers because of their ability to effect change in the opinions or actions of their audience.

Your job is to emphasise, where you can, the impact of your influence – not how many people might see something, but how many people bought or did something because of it. In your case it might not be many people, so another thing to consider is how much did they spend? There’s a big difference in influencing a $5 spend vs a $50,000 spend.

I once did a sponsored car review after borrowing the car for a week. I had less than 10,000 unique visitors to my blog per month. I was paid $150 and given a gift card towards a family excursion in the car. I created a blog post with a video on YouTube which received over 10,000 views, but more importantly had two people contact me and say my review helped them with the decision to buy the car. So approx $80,000 in car sales for $150 blog post on a small blog (not all of whom were the target market). So next time I want to work with a car brand it’s the $80,000 figure that’s the important one – not the 10,000 readers.

Tip: Focus on the metrics that tell the most relevant story and emphasises the impact of your influence

 

Prove You’re a Good Match

If you’re going to approach a brand, make sure you’re a true advocate of the brand. Your credibility is more valuable in word of mouth marketing than the size of your audience. It doesn’t matter if you have 100,000 instagram followers if they call you out for promoting a brand that doesn’t fit.

When brands offer influencers products to review, they’ve usually already done their homework and are happy that it’s a good idea to give you something. Just because brands offer influencers products for review, it doesn’t mean influencers should solicit products for review without also doing their homework and proving why working with them is a good opportunity for the brand.

Here’s a simple approach to proving you’re a good fit for a brand

  • Proactively post about them (yes, for free!)
  • Share their content with your audience on social media
  • Screenshot proof of engagement and influence from the above activities (very important!)

Doing the above helps you build a case for working with you. Backing it up with the metrics that emphasise your influence and target audience fit will be far more convincing than just sending them a media kit focusing on Unique Visitors or followers. They will be more interested in an influencer who shows why they’re a good fit than someone who won’t post about them unless they’re paid to.

Tip: If the reach numbers alone are not telling the story, get proof that you can generate interest and engagement around their brand.

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Focus on the relevance, not the size of your audience

Relevance is one of the more important factors of your ability to influence your audience to the benefit of a brand. The blogger with 250,000 readers will not always be the best choice for every opportunity. The total size of your audience is less important than the total number of the brand’s target customers in your audience.

Gather information about your audience demographics, the reasons they follow you, the problems they need solutions for. Also consider how well placed you are to help the brand achieve its objectives.

A smaller, well matched influencer may have more men aged 21-35 living in Sydney who love boating, than a larger sports influencer with a predominantly international audience.

Tip: Get specific and find the brands you love that want to target your specific niche rather than reach a mass market

Don’t ask for more than you are offering

Actually, to begin with, don’t ask for anything at all! The point being that the beginning of a relationship with a brand you’d love to work with shouldn’t be a straight out ask for product or money. Interact with them on social media first or track down a contact and just introduce yourself and let them know you’re just starting out and would love to be on their radar for any opportunities they have.

When you do send them a proposition, be realistic and offer them good value. Your job is to make it easy for them to do the math on their return on investment. A quick check is to divide the amount you’re asking for by the price of the product/service and checking to see if it’s realistic you could influence that many people to buy. Of course there are other factors and it’s not always all about getting a purchase right away, but it’s a good sense check.

If you don’t feel you can offer much in they way or influence or reach on your own channels, offer to create something the brand can share on their own channels. More often than not a brand will have a larger audience than you, but it’s authentic content they need to connect with them. Maybe they need recipes – let them know your fee for developing recipes for them!
When you’re just starting out or have low traffic, a sound approach is to do whatever you can to prove your worth. Having a blog or social media following doesn’t entitle you to anything. No matter the size of your audience you should always be prepared to prove your relevance and benefit to a brand.

Have you had good experiences with brands despite having smaller traffic? What are your tips for those just starting out?

About Laney Galligan

Laney Galligan is General Manager of ProBlogger and the founder and director of Agents of Influence, a service helping online creatives understand, build and leverage their influence. When she’s not helping people earning a living from their passion (or on Slack with the PB team), you’ll find her on the roller derby track or spinning a hula hoop.

  • Thanks for the great post Laney. but i am bit confused about the influencers. if i want to write a review that help people to buy something then how to reach out those influencers. It is good to reach out your target influencers through social media or through blogging?

    • If you do a blog then is it better to have a paid company to manage the social media side.

      • Laney Galligan

        It can be nice to have someone else deal with brands on your behalf, but sometimes you’re the best person for the job. No one will represent the value of your blog as well as you can, once you understand what it is you have to offer. Agents are great for attracting opportunities for you though.

    • Laney Galligan

      Hi Manju – if you’re talking about how to reach out to influencers whom you want to review something for you, then connecting with them on social media or comments can help you establish a relationship with them. I wouldn’t outright ask them to review something – get to know them and their content. Share their content on your platforms. In terms of finding influencers – try and see who is already talking about your product (or a related topic) using Google and hashtags on social media. I hope that helps.

  • Hi Laney,

    I’ve met a few too many bloggers who adopt the “pay or hit the road” attitude when dealing with brands. Not good. Because building relationships through helping, assisting and earning trust is the way to pitch and build lucrative bonds with brands.

    Some just send a packet and 1 line response, being unwilling to budge an inch. Even big time bloggers aren’t above building relationships with good matches. Gotta move out of the lack/limitation mindset on only working with paying brands because it repels tremendous opportunities and even bigger pay days down the road. Look beyond today. See where you can be 6 or 12 months in the future if you’re humble, helpful and appreciative.

    Some call it being picky but I’m at the point of clarity where I only build bonds with brands 100% aligned with my blog and core message. And even though I don’t have a massive audience my readers are engaged.

    A few months back I landed a $500 sponsored post from a client promoting a Balinese hotel chain. Said client saw my posts covering Bali – I’ve lived there for over a year, on and off – and was compelled to learn more. On making the offer he was tickled pink when I mentioned a small Balinese village I regularly drove through on motorbike right by the 4 star luxury resort he was working with.

    The power of connection, of bonding, of familiarity, and of clarity strikes again.

    Note; I released on many other brands which pitched me before landing this gig. Some were close but not quite matches while others were out in left field, a complete 180 from Blogging From Paradise, and the amount of money offered did not even enter my mind.

    Excellent post Laney.

    Thanks much for sharing.

    Ryan

    • Laney Galligan

      Thanks for your comment Ryan. Relationships are King in this scenario and those are formed on respect for yourself, your audience and the client and always looking for that ‘win trifecta’.

  • Ideally, maybe… but in reality size matters! 10,000 readers or 10,000 unique visitors per month is the very minimum when you can start monetising your blog via sponsored content. As influential and niche as you are if you have 500 followers on Instagram and 1,000 blog views every month, chances that you get any sponsored projects are close to zero.

    • Laney Galligan

      It’s all relative Maria. I’ve seen smaller blogs successfully monetise by partnering with smaller brands. Not all brands have big budgets. With small numbers you’ll have to be more proactive as the jobs are not going to come to you, but it’s still possible in my experience.

  • Hope

    Great post & great comments on this post!
    I am a new, small brand looking to reach to influencers. I don’t have a large budget, and I find that even to find engagement from the influencers isn’t as easy.
    What do you reckon one does in such a situation, Laney?
    Thanks!

    • Laney Galligan

      Hi Hope. As a new, small brand I’d be looking for new, small influencers who will be more in line with your budget. I do recommend a focus on relationship building though, before asking them to work with you. Comment on their blogs and social posts, share their content on social media, show you are genuinely interested – as yourself, not just as your company. This will also give you the opportunity to see how they engage with their community and get a feel if they’re the right influencer for you to partner with. That way, when you do approach them to say you have a company/product and are interested in working with them, they’ll know you’re being genuine and may be more open to ideas within your budget. You can grow bigger together :)

  • Hi

    Thanks for the valuable info. I started my blog last here and its all about tech related review based blog. A Few months back on wards am started getting emails from other startups asking can you review about their services or products. So am thinking of collecting such startup and planning to email them directly about my services. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any sites whcih discloses the details of new startup launchings and all. Do you know any ?

    Hopefully

    Arjun

    • Laney Galligan

      I’m not a start up expert, but a quick Google and I found launchingnext.com which has an email alert list for new start ups. Good luck.

  • Great post & great comments on this post!
    Google brought me here right before I was crafting a pitch to send to a organization. I was interested in working with.
    Thank you for the tips!

  • Hi. I love the sponsored post example you put. It really explained the difference between influencer marketing and reach. A blog may get hundreds of thousands of visitors but may not have an audience that converts well. A great click through rate with zero conversions isn’t going to get us anywhere. Very insightful.

  • If you are an expert in one niche and you have the solution to really difficult problems then you can create a great impact on your audience. Even low traffic can get to ample amount of good work and most of the times brands approach you for your expert advice.

  • Being an influential in a particular niche is a big advantage in creating a brand. It may take a while to be well known in a particular niche but once established, it takes eternity to manuovre legit visitors.

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