To celebrate speaking at BlogHer Food in October, I’m sending you some interviews with food bloggers for the next few weeks! This week I’m chatting with Rachel Matthews of A Southern Fairytale about how she got started food blogging and how she has come to work with brands.
Listen to Episode 63 – How to Work with Brands
Connect with Rachel from A Southern Fairytale
Her first relationship with a brand came from leaving a comment on another blog.
Comments are not what they were a few years back, but connecting with other people in your niche and being social, public, and putting yourself out there can lead to any number of collaborations. When you are a writer or blogger, the danger can be staying in your own little space and comfort zone, waiting for people to come to you, rather than giving back, going back, and connecting with other people in their spaces.
The key to long term success is forming relationships, not just one-offs.
While there is nothing wrong working with someone one time, forming a more lasting relationship with a brand (or collaborator) helps your own brand and enriches your content. It establishes authenticity when you stick with one brand rather than hopping around from brand to brand, relationship to relationship. (Especially if they are competing!)
Want to connect with brands? Rachel breaks down how this works today.
You can use connecting companies like Collective Bias (aka Social Fabric), SITS Girls, Izea, Influence Central, or many other companies that help bloggers partner with brands. This can sometimes introduce you to a brand and save you the work of having to go out and make pitches directly to the company. They also don’t allow for the type of relationship that Rachel mentions as so key to her success. They might be a good place to start OR, if it makes more sense for you, where you want to stay.
Rachel’s Top Tips for Getting Started with a Brand Ambassadorship
- Make sure you are trying to establish a relationship with a brand or product you already authentically use.
- Get to know the brand, talk and interact on social media long before you reach out. (Check out my post on connecting with influencers for more!) Create the relationship and then when you do reach out for a pitch or asking to start a conversation, you are on their radar.
- Consider coming with your own ideas already in the pitch.
- Make sure your voice in sponsored content or working with a brand is the same voice you use consistently through the brand.
- Meet sponsors at a conference or local event and then actually follow up. (The conference itself is probably not the best place to pitch!) This shows them that you are a professional and are taking this seriously.
Rachel rocks her elevator pitch on the spot and explains how she developed it.
When it comes to crafting an elevator pitch, it should be something that flows naturally off your tongue using your own words and style. You can practice it and hone it, but make sure that it feels authentic and natural and conversational. Consider recording it and listening back on your phone or computer. Whatever it takes to make it completely ingrained so that when someone asks, it comes across professionally, clearly, but in your unique voice. Get feedback from a friend or reader that is familiar with your blog and brand. Crafting your elevator pitch can also help you firm up your sense of self and who you are.
Food bloggers have learned how to write recipes better and have become better at photography & styling.
When you go back and look at the early posts from most food bloggers that have been around for a while, you will see big changes in how recipes are written and how photography has evolved.
Other helpful links:
How to Pitch Brands – Boss Girl Creative
How to Work with Brands as a Blogger – Melyssa Griffin