How to Contact Brands You Want to Work With in 2020
The most common question I see in my DMs is related to how to reach out, communicate and work with brands. How did you start getting PR packages? How do I reach out to them? Where is their contact information? What do I say?
I'll tell you now that I used to be on every single beauty PR list in 2013, and that's because I was one of the few doing this that early. Every major beauty brand you can think of, was sending me their latest and greatest because they knew there was a small chance a beauty blogger with 40,000 followers could potentially mention it on Instagram. Fast forward to 2020 where we've got over 100,000 influencers on the Fohr platform alone. This is the "major" influencer platform, or what I'd consider the closest to it in the US, and for so many to be signed up shows this industry is substantially larger in size than it was back in 2013 when I was just getting my bearings. What this means is that it is significantly more competitive and not one person can be on "all the lists" because brands have to spread the love across influencers and across various niches. If they're with the times.
How do I find a brand's contact information?
Back in 2013-2014 there were brands I wanted PR packages from desperately, and there was literally no way to get in touch with them. Chanel required you to send a HAND WRITTEN LETTER to their corporate US office in New York City just to ask if you could be added to their PR list, which was obviously a deterrent to me then. I was working a day job (that required 50+ hours a week) and building a blog + managing the team that helped me run my blog and socials, so I didn't have time to be handwriting letters. WTF right?
You're in luck because it is a lot easier these days. Let's say you were looking for the contact information for 2 different brands (different approaches):
If you're going to the Miraval (wine) site, you'll find their site doesn't have a lot of navigation. It's a smaller brand, and their goal is really selling bottles in stores like Total Wine, Bevmo and grocery stores. It is not to do much on their website. However in their footer navigation with their social media icons, you see an icon for emails. There is only one email address for the brand. Whether it's a pitch for influencer relations, a wholesale supplier, etc everyone is sending their initial email to the general email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org
Most businesses have this "general" inbox, and until an individual on the team grabs that email and owns you, you may just be emailing on the general one. Sometimes there is only one email (like for my team we only use email@example.com).
By Terry has a 'Contact Us' page in their footer. This is more of a help center set up like a blog that helps to answer frequently asked questions. However there is a live support scenario with a lot of articles that could help, but you won't get a list of emails to specific contacts. The best method (progressive) would be to tag them in some stories or direct message on Instagram. There is a team monitoring messages on Instagram, because let's be honest, we're all spending most of our social media hours on the gram.
Nowadays there are brands that do a breakdown of multiple email addresses (like you see below) but I have found it is rare.
Media Contact: Media@xyz.com
What do I say to them?
Sure, maybe you have the contact but how are you going to play it? What's the body of your text going to look like?
Here's a simplified breakdown:
Greeting - Hi X! Hope you're having a great week so far. How are things on your end with Covid and such? It's such an odd time, and in any event I hope you're doing well.
Introduction to you - Who are you? What do you do? Wha is your niche? Keep it short, and sweet.
My name is Adaleta Avdić and I've been a lifestyle content creator since 2012. What started as a beauty blog reviewing eyeshadow palettes, new mascaras, and a lot of skincare, ended up turning into a full lifestyle brand with an audience of over 1 million across multiple platforms.
Breakdown of ideas - Now that you've introduced yourself, you need to take it one step further and actually give them ideas to think about when it comes to you and your brand. It's not enough to just say hi I'm X and I'm awesome. How are you going to incorporate their brand into content? Do you want to try the product first and then decide if you like it enough to pitch ideas? Tell them that!
1 Instagram story series showcasing X hair products in an unboxing video, while mentioning the vast amount of lines that brand has (fine hair, thick, curly, etc)
1 Instagram Post showcasing a get ready with me hair edition using the hair products to create the perfect summer look (messy beachy hair vibes!)
1 Tik Tok Video showcasing 3 easy and quick steps to the perfect beachy waves.
I keep it pretty basic in the beginning, but if you know exactly what you want to do get more detailed! Once you've got this all covered
Hot tip: Avoid attaching your media kit out of the gate.
There's a few reasons for this. The first one is you don't want to scare them off out of the gate, especially now. Many businesses are struggling so if they're seeing your work is going to cost them thousands, they'll likely not respond from the get go.
The other main reason is that something a PDF or attachment of some sort from a new email address will flag in the recipients inbox as spam, which obviously hurts your chances of being seen in a timely manner. This used to happen to be ALL the time. I realized the attachment is not the best way to go about it, so avoid it until you have a respond from the individual and the floodgates are opened to have an email exchage.
How do I get on the PR list?
This is tricky, but there's a few ways to make it happen.
The most logical is to tag brands that you already use, know and love. For example, I purchased a lot of By Terry products several months ago and I've been using them constantly, so every single time I do IG stories with those products I tag the brands. This makes it super authentic and organic if you do have the opportunity to work with them down the road.
Similarly to finding the email contact above, you may be able to find a contact on the website. If this doesn't work, I'm giving you a hot secret. Direct message them on Instagram. I know some of you are going to smack me across the head from giving that up, but listen it's not a revolutionary idea. Send a simple, but professional direct message to the brand on Instagram. Brands check their DMs constantly, and most of them have someone handling social media specifically. Even the ginormous brands like Benefit Cosmetics, Tarte, Urban Decay, etc.
If they don't respond to your DMs, leave a comment on their recent post and mention you DMed them. Sometimes brands forget the requests in their inbox! You're welcome.
A lot of the time however, brands will do outreach to who they want on their PR list. The email usually reads "Hello from XYZ Brand!" and this is where they ask for your shipping information so some brands I haven't been able to get on their list either since they are very exclusive.
Don't ever get disheartened either. It's not you. There's likely 150-200k people influencing in some way, shape or form, so it's impossible for brands to find every single person. Focus on your content, build relationships where you can and keep being you because as cheesy as it is, that is what separates you from everyone else!