Photo from Stock That Rocks
September marks the beginning of the biggest spending time of the year…the holidays. In 2016, over $796 billion was spent by American consumers on holiday shopping, and brands spent $1.8 billion in just the three week period of November 21 – December 11 in advertising.
Each holiday season, influencer marketing gets more and more mainstream with brands doing holiday campaigns. In September, marketing and PR teams are sitting in conference rooms, drinking their pumpkin spice lattes, and figuring out where their marketing dollars are going to go this holiday season.
Working in PR myself, I have to do this same thing every year. Every year, we strategize down to the penny where all of our holiday budget will go – social media advertising, more traditional display ads, and blogger partnerships.
So, here are some strategies for getting ahead of the game and planning out your pitches to brands for the holiday season!
How to Pitch to Brands for Holiday Campaigns
A lot of times, the early blogger gets the worm.
It’s so much better to get to the top of brands’ lists as one of the first people to pitch yourself, versus emailing in the middle of November, wondering how you can work together on a Christmas campaign.
If you pitch yourself to a brand in November, chances are, the marketing dollars have already been set aside, influencers have already been notified, and product has already been sent out.
Pitching yourself as early as September might seem a little bit early, but get your pitch out that first or second week of October, and you’re probably in a really golden spot.
If that seems early to you, it’s because there is a LOT for a brand to do between now and Thanksgiving or Christmas – make sure every blogger receives the right product, schedule calls if need be to discuss messaging, approve sponsored content drafts, go through any edits with the blogger, approve photography, etc.
"Get your pitch out that first or second week of October, and you're probably in a really golden spot."
Brands start working on sponsored content now to make sure there’s plenty of time to adjust, edit, and work with the blogger until the post is ready.
Pro tip: Start your research now. Make a list of 10 brands you would want to work with, and start finding general contact emails for those brands. Then, start drafting your pitches. Create two or three different templates to send to your 10 dream brands to see which email strategy works best.
Figure Out Your Pricing Strategy
For the holidays, it’s a smart idea to adjust your pricing structure for sponsored content. A lot of bloggers don’t do this, and they just keep their pricing the same throughout the year, but there’s a few ways to capitalize on the holiday season to reach your goals and help brands you love reach theirs, too.
You can stick with your normal pricing and do the same amount of work you would normally do for a brand.
You can lower your pricing and try to take advantage of doing multiple brand collaborations in a shorter time period. Lowering your prices a bit for the holidays can also get your foot in the door for a brand maybe normally you wouldn’t have been able to work with. Then, you can over-perform and over-deliver on the holiday campaign, and establish a solid working relationship with that brand for the new year!
You could also try raising your prices for the holidays. Brands might be willing to pay for this since their budget has increased, too. Also, they want more brand awareness and more brand exposure, so they might be willing to add on an extra 20 or 50 influencers they normally wouldn’t have.
Whatever you decide to do with your pricing strategy for holiday campaigns, make sure it’s lining up with your goals for your blog right now and in 2018!
Pro tip: Keep in mind that especially for Black Friday and Christmas deals, brand really want/need that traffic and those sales.
Speak Their Language
A lot of brands start getting hit up for free product around this time of year, and bloggers give a vague promise that, if they like the product, they’ll throw it in a gift guide. Gift guides can be a dime a dozen, and sometimes, this isn’t really that valuable for a brand, so this email pitch will just get deleted or ignored.
If you’re going to pitch yourself, be specific in the value that you’re bringing to a brand. If you want ask for free product, make sure you have a solid, valuable plan for that product. This is where reaching out with a media kit containing your blog stats comes in handy!
Also, brands appreciate blogger’s creativity. It’s why you’re hired in the first place! So if you have a unique, fun, creative idea for something different, don’t be afraid to suggest it to your contact at the brand. If you can brainstorm something more unique than the standard gift guide, it’s only a bonus in your book.
Pro tip: Help the brand out. Even if your content calendar is planned out, ask the brand or PR company if a specific date works better or worse. For example, if you planned for a post to go live on November 1st, and that post is being sponsored by Drybar, make sure November 1st works equally well for Drybar. Maybe they would prefer the post went live a week later, closer to the launch date of the new dry shampoo you’re reviewing.
In sum, from now until December is a huge opportunity for bloggers to get their foot in the door at brands and start working on holiday campaign! Pitch yourself early, strategize on your pricing structure, and use this holiday season as a chance to lay the building blocks of a long-term relationship with brands you love.