Willa has created tons of actionable advice to help with cold outreach to brands, so I decided to put it to the test! As a small content creator (3K on Instagram), I know direct outreach is one of the best ways for me to successfully land partnerships. A lot of advice for creators out there says we have to pitch ourselves, and honestly, I know few of us that do. So I decided to take one for the team and dedicate a full month to perfecting the process. Here’s a glance at my stats over my 30 days of pitching!
204 emails sent to 87 Brands
57% open rate
9.6% reply rate overall
- I had a significantly higher reply rate when using a pitching template that was hyper-specific to the brand and shared: A personal connection to the brand, the brand’s mission, a specific campaign idea, and how our audiences were aligned.
- Company size did not appear to have a significant impact on open or reply rates.
- Sending follow-up emails is very important! My second email had a 5.2% reply rate.
- A super obvious subject line may be worth it
While I will still be testing out other subject line options, it seems that the one helping me the most is simply “partnership opportunity” + my name.
Now that you’ve got the juicy data from my experiment, here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of my experience pitching for 30 days.
I got to go to NYFW with just 3K followers
This one really surprised me, but I was very determined to make it happen after being told it would be *impossible* to go without a large following. While I certainly didn’t get a response from everyone, I was able to attend several shows and two industry talks simply by sending a lot of emails & downloading GPS Radar. Good things don’t come to those who wait, they come to those who ask for it.
I landed two gifted campaigns with brands I LOVE
While gifted campaigns weren’t what I was aiming for, these are two brands I regularly buy from and are a natural fit for my audience. Further, I made sure to inquire about potential paid opportunities that come from their gifted campaigns.
Curious of when to consider taking on unpaid partnerships? Check out our advice on when a gifted campaign may be worth it here.
I finally have a system for pitching
I do have a pretty incredible system set up to help make pitching myself 10x easier. I can now consider myself an expert at email automation & finding brand contacts. Not to mention, I am way better at responding to my emails now that I have forced myself to overcome the anxiety I felt around pitching and responding to brand emails.
There’s no way around the work
While I wish I could tell you that you could spend 10 minutes a day pitching and make thousands of dollars, the truth is, it’s gonna take more than that. As it should! But make no mistake, putting in the work has definitely paid off! I know the opportunities pitching has helped me secure will only lead to more opportunities in the future. Going to NYFW already has brands in my DM’s asking to work with me!
Setting up automation and a system is time-consuming
Finding a system that worked for me when it came to pitching was very difficult. Everyone works differently, so what worked for me (Apollo) may not work for you! Learning how to set up an automation sequence, drafting templates for all kinds of pitching responses to save me time (see things to automate as a creator!), and figuring out what email copy/subject lines were working and what wasn’t was time-consuming. While I wish I had sent out more pitches over my 30 days, I spent a lot of time stuck in the mud trying to create a system that I could stick with!
Sending several embarrassing emails
Ah, the joys of automation. While trying to make my automated sequences work for me, I certainly sent my fair share of outright embarrassing emails. From weird company names to broken links, I’ve seen a number of automation errors. My #1 piece of advice to anyone interested in automating their pitching process is to make sure your contact names and company names are accurate before letting an email go out. I now review each automated email before it is sent for accuracy!
I certainly did not implement my 30 days of pitching perfectly. In fact, the first week or so, I don’t think I sent a single pitch because I wanted to come up with the *perfect* process. My focus on perfecting that component led me to sending fewer pitches overall. Imperfect action is what is going to help you land more partnerships. Whether it's committing to posting more or sending out more pitches or doing brand research, you have to just commit to taking a step towards your goal. Even if that step is small!
Remember this is a learning opportunity.
It won’t be perfect, and you definitely are going to get a lot more “No thank you” responses than “Let us write you a check”. However, each email you send is another opportunity to practice selling yourself and/or your brand, meaning you are gaining the skills you need to land those dream partnerships down the line. Some brands were even kind enough to let me know what I would need to do to work with them in the future. Knowing this can help you set targets to land those dream partnerships in the future. No doesn’t mean never, it just means not right now!
While I likely won’t be pitching at the scale that I did over the last 30 days, I certainly see pitching as more of a routine task for myself to complete each week. Given the current size of my audience, I think I would personally benefit from focusing more on creation and growth in this season.
Do you like articles like this? Let us know what we should test out next below!