Getting your products featured in the media like magazines, bloggers, on influencers and so on can give your shop a ton of exposure which in turn a huge boost in sales.
I recently got my jewelry on a YouTuber's channel who has 500,000 subscribers. I sent her a few products and I paid for shipping and to make the jewelry, but I didn't have to pay any other fees.
I made more than $2,000 from that feature.
In this post, I'm going to show you how to pitch your products.
My name is Mei and I help makers, artists and designers make a consistent income selling their handmade products online.
I am a very strong believer in getting products featured in the media. I actually think it's the most effective way to promote your products.
Everyone else is doing social media, blogging, Etsy, and spending all their time trying to build up their own following.
Meanwhile, here I am, taking a short cut and just borrowing someone else's following. Someone else who spent all that time, years, and money to build up that following. That's essentially what we're doing here.
Before I show you how to pitch your own products, I want to clarify a few myths or misconceptions.
Myth #1: Pay to Play
People think you have to pay to play for media coverage. While there are definitely a lot more people who want to charge you for a feature, it's usually only with Instagram influencers and with some bloggers.
You have to understand and put yourself in their shoes. They have to make a living too.
They're content creators and it takes a lot of work to do what they do. Having said that, I've rarely had to pay to get featured.
The reason for this is because I'm very strategic about who I pitch to and I make sure I only pitch to people who I know will absolutely love my products.
When they're a fan of your work, in their mind, it's okay if you don't have the budget to pay for their fees.
It's not impossible to find Instagram influencers who won't charge you for a feature, but I've definitely seen it be more common with them.
All you need to do is diversify who you're pitching to.
Don't just pitch to Instagram influencers.
Find people on YouTube, bloggers, Facebook pages, even print magazines or TV shows or real life celebrities like actors, musicians, chefs and so on.
For example, print magazines will never charge to feature you and they're always looking for products to talk about. They only charge when you make the mistake of going through their advertising channel.
What you want to do instead is go through the actual editors that cover each different segment of the magazine, like the fashion editor or the home editor.
Myth #2: No Sales = Failure
The final misconception I want to share with you is if you don't make any sales from a feature, even though it's been put in front of millions of people, that it's a failed venture.
If you don't make any sales, that's okay. You didn't lose anything.
Sales are only one positive outcome you can get from a feature.
Another great result is increased brand awareness. Remember that it can sometimes take people a while before they buy from you.
You're also helping your SEO (search engine optimization) game. Most people I've seen do SEO are very good at doing on-site SEO, which is the part where you're adding your keywords into your product titles, tags, meta description, your website.
What most don't realize is that in order for SEO to be effective, you have to not only do on-site SEO but also off-site SEO.
That means getting traffic over to your site and making sure people stay on your site for a reasonable amount of time. Over time, this tells Google that your site is high quality, and they'll start to rank you higher for your targeted keywords.
Finally, getting featured also gives you a ton of credibility and social proof which is great for building trust between your shop and your potential customers.
This can make a huge difference in your conversion rates on your shop.
Practice Makes Perfect
This whole process of pitching your products is in large part a mental game.
A lot of people don't do it because they're scared of being rejected. Let me just nip that in the bud right now and tell you that fear will go away very quickly when you get some practice.
Of course, that first pitch you send out is going to feel really scary. But you can pitch to a smaller blog or influencer at first, where it's more likely that they'll say yes.
But think about when you've sent out your 30th pitch. At this point, you're a baller. You're the OG. You're a pro.
Everything in life takes practice, this is no different.
It's just a muscle you have to work out to make it strong.
Getting the Dreaded “No”
It's very rare that you actually get a flat out no. Most of the time people just won't respond to you, but that's just usually because your pitch got buried in their inbox or they're just busy.
If they do respond to you, it'll literally be like “I'm not doing any product features right now. Thanks for reaching out.” or “I just had my baby so I'm on maternity leave and taking a break from my channel.”
People are rarely going to say what you think they're going to say. Don't worry about it.
This is a numbers game. Just like everything else.
For some reason when it comes to pitching, I've seen people expect results after pitching only two bloggers.
Think about it, do you only post twice on Facebook and expect to make a sale? No, that's not how it works.
There's a conversion rate for everything.
If you can get 1 yes from every 10 pitches you send out, that's a huge win already! Anything more than that is amazing.
And if you're not getting that, it doesn't mean this doesn't work. It just means you need to be very mindful about who you're choosing to pitch to.
It needs to make sense and it needs to be a very good influencer to product fit.
This happened to me with my Creative Hive blog.
On a daily basis, I get anywhere from 1 to 3 people reaching out to say they want to write a guest post for my blog. One time, I got pitched to by someone who represents a teeth whitening product.
My Creative Hive blog is all about teaching marketing to artists. It has nothing to do with teeth.
Don't be like them. Be smart about who you pitch to.
These are huge barriers that we put up for ourselves that prevent us from doing this pitching work. Which I've already said, is super effective for any business.
It's how I built and grew Tiny Hands and Creative Hive.
I've made tens of thousands of dollars in direct sales from this act of pitching my products.
You are missing out if you don't do this in your business.
How do you actually pitch your products?
1. Make a List
The very first step is to make a list of the people you want to pitch to.
Start doing research. Start Googling. Use keywords that are related to your products.
A strategy I like to use that makes this very easy is my Coattail Technique.
I teach this in my A Sale A Day Business System course and basically, what you do, is think about what other products your ideal customers like to buy besides your products.
For me, with my food jewelry, I'm thinking, they like cute things. Ideally cute food things.
I'll first start doing research on other brands and shops out there that sell food-themed products. I might search in Google for “cute food pencil case” and a Buzzfeed article of 27 Cute Food-Themed School Supplies popped up.
I'm going to click on that to get even more product ideas.
Already, I know Buzzfeed would be a good place to get my food jewelry on because they've talked about products like mine.
I keep searching and Huffington Post comes up with another list of cute school supplies for the Parenting category of their site. I can even get the name of the editor who wrote this article.
The whole point here is that if a media outlet or editor has featured something similar to yours before, they're very likely to be open to featuring you.
If you get stuck with Googling and using different keywords, start thinking about what interests your target customer might have that makes them more likely to like your products.
For me, I can guess the people who like DisneyWorld and who have kids would like my jewelry. Or I might say anyone who's a baker and likes YouTubers who have baking channels or celebrity cupcake shop owners would like my jewelry.
From there I can create a list of 5 to 10 people in each different category.
When you know how to start this research process, it actually becomes really fast and easy to do.
We just launched a new gift shop and I taught my husband how to do this pitching work, and in his first try, he was able to get 20 to 25 people to pitch to in an hour.
In your spreadsheet, or wherever you're making this list, you want to collect information.
Information you should collect might include:
- The editor or point of contact's email address
- The editor or point of contact's first name
- What publication they are attached to
Do a little bit of extra research on them so you can write a nice comment to them to start your email.
2. Write an Email Pitch
When you've built up your list, and you're ready to send out your email pitch, I recommend you write an email pitch template along with a follow-up email template.
A follow up is super important. It's good to expect that most people aren't going to respond to your first email.
Remember, they're super busy people. They're probably getting hundreds of pitches every day, and most of them aren't a good fit for them.
You need a way to stand out or stay front of mind.
You do this by sending follow up emails when you don't hear back from them after a few days.
The more follow ups you can do the better.
Make sure you use a short and clear subject line. My favorite subject line is their brand plus my brand. So like, Good Housekeeping plus Tiny Hands.
My favorite subject line is their brand plus my brand. So like, Good Housekeeping plus Tiny Hands.
For your actual email pitch itself, start by saying:
Hi [person's name].
Your next line should be a genuine, specific compliment that you can give them. You can only do that if you've taken the time to do research on who you're pitching to.
The reason this is so important is because it makes the other person more receptive to reading the rest of your email. It tells them you've done your homework.
I guarantee you, they'll appreciate that if you do it right.
Then, you want to introduce yourself and what you do in one sentence.
A big mistake people make is making this email all about them. How can you help my shop? Please help my shop! Don't do that.
Instead, flip it around and reverse it. Come from a place of service. How can you help them?
Believe it or not, but you help them by introducing your beautiful, amazing, unique product to them and to their audience.
That is a wonderful, great gift!
For example, I work with a client, Kathy, who paints watercolor nursery room wall art. She pitched her art to a YouTuber that she follows and she knows is expecting a baby soon.
Instead of asking, “will you please feature me”, come instead from a place of “Can I send you this gift for your new baby's room”.
When you hear those two different ways, it gives you a very different feeling, as the recipient.
After you introduce yourself and your products, embed a couple of pictures of your products in the email.
Make sure you take a bit of time to handpick the specific products you think they'll like.
Finally, end with a call to action. For example:
I would love to send you a free print as a gift to celebrate your new baby's birth. If you love it, I'd appreciate a mention on your YouTube channel. Let me know what address to send it to.
That's it. Super clear and straight forward.
For your follow-ups, it's even easier.
Don't start a new email thread, just go back to your original email and send the reply from there.
Try to always add value or some new ideas in your follow-ups.
For example, in my follow up, I might offer to give her audience an exclusive 20% off coupon code for my shop. That's actually helpful for her audience and for her. She's giving value to her people, so that's a really nice thing to do.
In my next follow up I might offer to do a giveaway and provide a prize for her. Again, you're giving value to this influencer and her audience.
3. When you get a “yes”
Once you get someone to say yes and you've sent them your products, it can sometimes also be tricky to get the other person to follow through on writing up about you.
Just keep in mind that if they really love your work, they'll talk about you in their own time.
You can help expedite that part of the process by, again, following up with them.
Check in to see if they love the stuff you sent them. Check in again later to see if they have all the information they need to talk about you. Offer to send them photos that they can use.
Basically make life easy for them.
If you make them feel like this is work for them, and you're making things difficult, it's not going to help the situation.
Before your feature goes live, just poke around your site, test it, make sure your coupon codes work. Make sure your site works and everything's working correctly.
Keep in mind that if sales don't happen right away, that's okay, that's normal. But if they do, then that's amazing.
All it takes is one feature to the right audience that can change your business overnight.
This is literally the only thing I know that has the power to do that for a business.
But to get to that Goldilocks, just right, feature where everything is in alignment, you have to pitch to dozens of people consistently.
We pitch 20 people every month. We do this consistently, every month.
Make this a part of your business and you will see amazing results.