Ever got an e-mail like this?
This is PR from Brand Name. We’re looking to partner with influencers for an upcoming campaign we’re launching.
Here is more about the campaign we’d like you to help with:
We’re currently looking for beauty influencers to talk about our brand with original blog posts! We love informative, high-quality content and we’re looking for enthusiastic bloggers to help us build buzz and drive traffic to our amazing product!
We’ll be sharing selected posts across social media!
Let me know if you want to get involved!
I get e-mails like this all the time, with no hint of what they can offer me in return, other than a bit of exposure on social media. And I’m sure you’ve learnt by now that unless a brand has hundreds of thousands of followers, a Tweet to your post will be lucky to get you even 10 clicks. So that’s a load of bullshit right there.
What the e-mail doesn’t mention is how they’re going to compensate you for your time, for the advertising, for you giving them exposure to your audience, your audience that you’ve grown yourself over time.
Oh yikes, it can be awkward asking for stuff, can’t it? But you need to remember something here: THEY CONTACTED YOU FIRST.
So no need to be all awksy pants. Just be upfront and honest.
If you’re not offering free exposure at the moment (or ever), then ask for how they can compensate you.
There are many times that I’ve gone back and forth with a PR for a dozen e-mails, before getting to the nitty gritty and finding out they weren’t going to give me anything for promoting their brand.
You know what that did? It wasted my time. It wasted their time.
It also made me feel a bit of a dick when I was like, oh yes, if you’re not going to pay me then I’m not going to promote this even though we’ve spent the last couple of hours becoming BFFs.
This is why now I’m dead upfront about it and have no shame in asking the question.
And remember – just because you ask the question, doesn’t mean that if they say they have zero budget, you have to tell them to eff off. You could still work with them if you like the brand or need content – or maybe give a bit of social media promotion to them instead.
S’uupta you, innit?
So here’s how I approach it.
If it’s about a product, I simply ask if they have any samples to send out for review. If not, I ask them if they have a budget for this campaign.
I don’t make the e-mail too long, I say something like:
Thanks for getting in contact, it looks like a great campaign/brand/product/idea and I’d love to get involved. What’s the budget on this please?/Do you have any samples you can send out that I can review?
There. Send. Done.
Some don’t reply, some do reply. Some have samples and a budget, some don’t.
If they don’t have a budget, I just simply reply that I’m not currently offering free advertising of this type.
Dead quick, simple, polite and wasting as little time as possible for both parties.
It can be tempting to get proper snarky.. like.. YOU WANT ME TO WORK FOR FREE? WOULD YOU WORK FOR FREE? I’M SURE YOU’RE GETTING PAID TO SEND ME THIS EMAIL, I WORK HARD ON MY BLOG I DESERVE TO BE PAID.
But where’s that gonna get you? Nowhere. Apart from removed from their databased with no hope for future collaboration if they do ever have an opportunity that pays or offers samples.
And remember, as Dorkface says in her fabulous bullet journal: being nice is cool.