Cold Pitching Do's and Don'ts
As an influencer, there will always come time when you need to pitch a brand that you've never interacted with before. These are called "cold pitches". Cold pitches can be some of the hardest sells you're going to make, but if you're going to do them, we've outlined some do's and don'ts to help your cold pitches be more successful.
Your pitch is a first impression to a brand, it's a chance for you to open doors to make money and build lasting relationships. The creator industry is built on relationships, so this is your chance to showcase your openness to work and being a long standing partner.
The Do's of Cold Pitches
ONE: Do your research
This is a crucial step before you even begin to dream up a partnership because you want to know how your channel can add value to them. Pitch research is as complicated as you want it to be, but normally what we do is some simple IG Feed stalking by scrolling back a year to see what kind of content they produced in the time period you want to work with the brand. So if you are pitching them for a project that kicks off in May of 2023, you'll want to see what they did in 2022 to gauge: who they worked with, what kind of content were they working on (paid and unpaid), and what performed best. We look at both what they posted and who tagged them to find paid brand partners. Now you can take this information to see how your content fits into their future. We go into further detail on Pitch Research in our Pitch Strategy Guide here.
TWO: Start with a soft intro before the ask
If you've never had a relationship with this brand before, start with a soft introduction that covers who you are, why it matters to them, and your fandom of the brand. This is the time to let them know you'd love to be considered for future opportunities to work together and TEASE THEM with some relevant content angles that get them salivating at the chance to tap into your audience. This is your opportunity to create "Friendly FOMO". We have a template for a soft intro that get's response in our Pitch Strategy Guide here.
THREE: Pitch with enough time for them to add you to their budget
While brands do have set budgets for campaigns, they typically allocate it all weeks before the campaign kicks off. So if you're looking for work RIGHT NOW you may have missed the opportunity to work with them if you haven't pitched early enough. Every brand situation is a little different, but we have a timeline for you to reference when to pitch in our Pitch Strategy Guide here.
FOUR: Make sure they open your emails
What's the point of having a great cold pitch if they don't even open your email? Writing a killer subject line is step one to landing the job. Most people use the format "Blog name x Brand name Month Collaboration" which is easy for email searching, but terrible for hooking someone to open. You always want to invoke curiosity to get someone to open an email, use a branded phrase in the subject line, or convey exclusivity and grandeur. We have lots of hooky subject line openers plus a strategy on how to track if someone has opened your email in our Pitch Subject Line guide here.
The Dont's of Cold Pitches
ONE: Don't copy and paste pitches between brands
Faux-pas number one- you've got a stale pitch template that you are copying and pasting between tons of different brands. Brand managers will open an email and read the first sentence to realize you've used a generic template that doesn't invoke curiosity about who you are as a creator or why it matters to them. In our Pitch Strategy Guide we're sharing the pitch formula brands love to read so that you can craft your own pitches in less time. We do have example templates too, but they're set up for you to highly customize and employ the pitch formula to highlight the research you've done.
TWO: You send 20 half-assed pitches out to as many people as you can
Pitching is not a numbers game. A successful pitch is researched, timed right, and conveys your fandom authentically. You can send out 20 pitches per day with your template which will take you about an hour+, or you can send that same hour researching and crafting one to two emails that resonates with the brand and shows that you really care about being a partner with them.
THREE: Your subject line has a curiosity opener but doesn't have data to support it
No FAKE NEWS here. If you're telling a brand that you directed over 30,000 clicks to a single product through LikeToKnowIt, you better include the screenshot to back that up. Marketers who have been fooled by creators put on their skeptical hat for all future pitches that include data claims and won't believe it until they see the screenshot to support it. So it's always best to send that data over to back up your claims.
FOUR: You don't follow them even though "you're a huge fan"
Sorry Charlie, but I'm not spending $1,000 or giving you $300 in product if you don't even have the decency to back up your "fandom" with a follow on my accounts. This just screams inauthentic and bad brand partner.
The key to a good pitch is: be clear, be authentic, do your research, support the data you claim, and be mindful that "no response" doesn't always mean "no", or "no" right now, doesn't mean "no" forever. Refine and retry your pitch again.
If you need help crafting the perfect pitch, our pitch strategy guide and pitch subject line bundle is perfect for you. Even Diana of @vegansbaby said "The Pitch Strategy Guide is super valuable! As someone who thought I knew about pitching and working with brands, this was very insightful and definitely will result in me changing my approach."
And when you're looking for brand contacts to reach out to, join our membership to access 100's of brand contacts so you can spend less time pitching, and more time creating.