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BlogTalk: The Art of the Pitch

by - Thursday, May 31, 2012

At BlogPodium, one of the topics that was addressed by our presenters was the idea of approaching sponsors. Have you ever thought about a product or brand that you love and thought, wouldn't it be cool to work with that company? You could sit back and hope that they find you. Or you could be a bit more proactive.

Through the planning of BlogPodium, I had to make a lot of pitches to get sponsors involved. In working with The Home Depot on our ongoing basement renovation, I made a proposal as well. I approached them. That's the first point to note... I think when we see bloggers working with sponsors, we might naturally assume that those opportunities came to them. But as I'm finding out in talking to more and more bloggers and in my own experience, the opposite is true... more often than not, the blogger is the one coming up with an idea, finding the right person to pitch the idea to, and doing the convincing. It can be a lot of effort and 'pavement pounding', but when it works and the right sponsor meets the right blogger, it can be a beneficial relationship for everyone (including the reader).

So if you're considering making a pitch to a potential sponsor, here's a few things I've found which make it easier to get to "yes":

  1. Have a clear idea. Its never good to approach a company and say "I'd like to work with you", without offering up suggestions on exactly HOW you can work together. Nicole mentioned sponsors like projects - and they really do, because projects have a defined start and end and a clear cost. Be clear in your proposal about exactly what you're asking for. I personally find its easier to get sponsorship in product (traded for blog posts or social media mentions) than it is to get sponsorship $. 
  2. Know your sponsor. If you're approaching a company to sponsor you, know something about them. Are they introducing a new line of paint that maybe you could try out and review? Or are they looking to build awareness of their seasonal products? Maybe you pitch a seasonal decorating story. Know what their objectives are and in your proposal, address how you can help  them meet those.
  3. Introduce yourself. A sponsor needs to know why they should work with you and not with any other blogger. Include the basics - what is your blog about, who are your readers, what are your statistics - but also highlight what makes you unique. Do you have a large following? Are your readers deeply engaged and leave dozens of comments when you post? Are you known for a particular weekly blog series that you run? Any one of those would demonstrate you are an authority that a sponsor should want to work with.
  4. Answer this question: What's in it for them? Outline exactly what you'd give in return for the sponsorship. Will you write "x" number of blog posts? What will the posts be about? What about tweets? Is there a possibility your project will appear on TV or in publication? All great points to mention.
  5. Be professional. The quality of your proposal and the quality of your blog convey to your potential sponsor what kind of work you will do for them. Be aware of how your blog looks. Write well, take good photos. And if your proposal is rejected, be courteous... you never know if another opportunity to work together will come up down the road.
Have you ever approached a sponsor? What has or hasn't worked for you?

Or what do you think of bloggers working with sponsors? Do you find it impacts your reading experience? I find when its done well and when the sponsor seems a good fit for the blogger (and not just a random brand) and feels authentic, then I don't mind it at all. But I'm curious to hear your thoughts so chime in!

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