Popular Bloggers get daily Emails that offer them to test, promote and try products & services, with the hope that we really like and write about them & let you, our readers know. Sadly the majority of these Emails are so poorly constructed and researched that it is time to give PR Agencies, shops and manufacturers a hint on how to talk with us.
This Email and post came about as a friend asked me for advice on how to contact bloggers. That friends runs a small company in Germany, I have met him several times in person and have used their products (they’re one of my favourites). It’s rare that I get an Email asking me - how should I contact you if I want to cooperate with you? The majority of Email writers assumes I have just been waiting for them and their AwesomeOutdoorProduct, not knowing it existed in the first place. I’ve studied at the University a Master’s Degree where I learned about doing my research, so if I dive into something I research that topic in-depth and try to know as much as possible about it. This is what I expect from people contacting me, too.
But back to that Email to my friend. Here’s what I told him, published in public so that other companies can up their game and also that fellow bloggers have something they can refer companies to when they receive a bad Email.
How to contact bloggers
As a company I only would cooperate with bloggers which have signed the Outdoor Blogger Codex. This are bloggers which work transparent, adhere to legal requirements and are honest to their readers. They’re also pretty good bloggers that write about authentic experiences and are not afraid to write if something was sub-par. Most of all these bloggers try to work as professionally as possible, even if their blog is only a hobby, which means partners can expect a certain level of professionalism.
So after you have browsed the Outdoor Blogger Codex and have found a blogger you think is a good fit, the important part starts: Research. Find out which Social Media Channels the blogger uses, if she was somewhere just on tour, what was her last Instagram Story, etc. The more you find out about the blogger before writing that first Email the better. Then it’s time to draft that Email which aims to make a good impression and offer something from which both parties can benefit. It could look something like this:
my name is XYZ and I work for AwesomeOutdoorBrand. While doing research about the topic of ski-touring in Lyngen I found your article and I thought your photos & story from that trip were really great. We, AwesomeOutDoorBrand, produce an GreatOutdoorProduct and would like it if you’d feel like taking it along on your next ski-tour and also test it as extensively and write about it as you did with [Mention suitable & similar article or review].
We know that bloggers invest a lot of time and enthusiasm into their articles and we would pay you in addition to the GreatOutdoorProduct which you’re allowed to keep also XXX €£$, as you probably already have some GreatOutdoorProducts in your gear closet - but those one can’t eat, as we know. Of course you’d have full editorial control in your texts, and we love to also hear constructive critiscm - because even if we try to make a perfect product it might not suit you, and probably there’s always something that can be improved. Time-wise we would like to possibly read something in three to four months from you as it takes time to test equipment as in-depth as you do.
When the article is online and it fits our Social Media Guidelines we also would like to share it on our channels, as we’re sure our Fans would be curious to read what you think about our GreatOutdoorProduct. And if you love our GreatOutdoorProduct we also could talk about a long-term partnership, if we both have the feeling that we fit well together. I’m looking forward to hear from you and remain with
The thinking that went into that Email
As bloggers we do like it if people read our articles, so referencing something we have published is a great opener. Just please really read the article and not just look for a suitable headline.
We get daily offers to test something, of which I delete 95% as they’re not on topic (I would not be able to credibly review something that doesn’t fit in with the topic of my blog). If one contacts a blogger make sure the topic is in lines with the blog’s - for me that’d be Outdoor Adventure Travel by fair means.
The payment for the work should be appropriate - that is generally everything from 150€ upwards. That might appear like a lot, but for a good review one might need three or more days - producing good photos, writing & researching the text, and testing the product in its intended environment.
Reach is important (you can see Hiking in Finland’s current Social Media Reach here) and it’s clear most companies want to reach as many people as possible. However, one should not rule out working with smaller blogs that maybe are just starting out - they can have an even better engagement as large blogs, and are a great possibility to maybe work with the Digital Influencer of tomorrow.
Also feel free to ask for the Mediakit - every good blogger should have one and if not should have no problem with sending you a current screenshot of Google Analytics or similar.
Of course one doesn’t need to offer something in the first Email at all, butt as many bloggers have a job, family and limited time it might be good to come directly to the point instead of asking for a Mediakit. After all there’s tools out there that lets one find out how many visitors a blog has and while these are not always accurate they give you an idea.
The Bottomline is to research before you contact, communicate on the same level with the person you’re writing to and treat their time as valuable. Nothing is more annoying than a copy & pasted, standardised Email which has nothing to do with what I do and wastes my time.
I’ll write more about the topic of how to cooperate with bloggers in the future, if you’re able to read German you might want to already read Erika’s post on these issues and also subscribe to the BlogChamps Newsletter (again, in German).
Got an utterly bad example of an Wanna-test-this? Email? Share it in the comments!
Disclaimer: I’m an owner at the Outdoor Blogger Network and have contributed to the Guidelines of the Outdoor Blogger Codex together with many other bloggers. Read the Transparency Disclaimer for more information on blogger transparency.