The first question I get when I tell someone I’m a blogger is, “how do you get all that free makeup?” It’s one of the main things bloggers never really talk about, but you know you can count on ya girl to spill the tea. There’s only really two ways bloggers end up on a brands PR list, either they contacted you or you contacted them. I’ve been in this business for 6 years and that may not seem like long but when I started a blog, blogging was fairly new. There was very little to Google about the business, let alone how to get free product. Heck I didn’t even know brands sent free makeup to bloggers.
About two years into blogging consistently, Colourpop reached out to send me some free makeup. That was the first time a brand had ever reached out to me!
Since then I’ve had plenty of other well know brands find me through Instagram and send me products. However, I was always under the impression that the brands do the reaching out. It wasn’t until one of my industry friends was in the middle of a conversation when she mentioned that she reached out to a brand asking for product. I was so shocked that 1. she got a reply and 2. they actually sent it. This is precisely when I learned about the art of pitching.
A pitch is, “…a brief, prepared statement that defines a product, service or outlines the value of an organization or individual.” Basically, when you reach out to a brand you need to sell your service to them in a short amount of time. These people get hundreds of emails a day and the last thing they want to do is read through paragraphs of nonsense until they get to your request- free product. Here’s the best way you can say what you need to say in about 15 seconds.
“Hello Benefit Cosmetics,
My name is Lilly and I’m a beauty blogger. I discuss all things makeup, skincare, and hair on my blog. I’m constantly on the hunt for new products that my audience of 5,000 loyal followers would love, Benefit is no exception. I’ve been a Benebabe since the launch of “Gimmi Brow” a few years ago. I would love to try some more of your products and maybe even do a review?
Let me know if you’d be interested. Thank you!
Instagram Story: 500-1000 views
YouTube: 300 Subscribers
*provide a clickable link to all these social channels and don’t include a platform you are not active on*
Always put yourself in the brands shoes. If you were to “lose” money on product by giving it away, wouldn’t you want to get something out of it? This is when numbers come into play.
are never fun, unless you are a mathematician, but they usually solve a problem. Brands can quickly find if you are worth it by looking at your numbers. That means followers, likes, and comments. Here’s the catch, you don’t need that many followers to get free product. I mean don’t get me wrong it helps, but it’s not a deciding factor. The most important thing is engagement and that is a combination of your likes and comments. How many people actually care to double-click, or better yet, write something under your picture? All of these numbers actually mean something when they are put into a secret formula to come up with a score that either makes you valuable or invaluable.
is the next big deciding factor. Do you have crappy images? Do you have closeups of your brows and your eyes? Do your OOTD’s look aesthetically pleasing or are they in front of your neighbors trash can? All these things matter. You are a content creator when you are a blogger and so your images need to be up to par. You don’t need a professional camera for incredible images, 90% of my pictures are taken on my Iphone. You do need: good lighting, appealing images, and nice backgrounds.
Look at the difference between these two images (taken on my Iphone):
Processed with VSCO with s2 preset
A little editing is almost always necessary, but that’s a whole other blog post (comment below if you’d like me to share all my photo editing tips in detail).
In order for your pitch to be short your website and social media channels need to do the talking. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself wanting to explain why you are worth being added to the PR list or receiving free product. Also, don’t be afraid to attach some images of your work in the email. If I were Lilly I’d attach a picture of my fabulous brows to show Benefit Cosmetics that I have the potential for a bomb picture showcasing my brows and that it’s something they can potentially repost that would fit in with their page as well.
That’s the trick! You want your picture to fit in with the brand!
I used to get hundreds and hundreds of free products for my seminars and classes back in the day and the way I would get most of the brands I was going for was by offering them something they couldn’t refuse. Since I was the educator of the class I decided which products to showcase during a demonstration and I would tell the brands that I would be teaching the students how to do their eyeshadow or contour with their products. Thus, if they included their product in the goodie bags my students would be able to use it and get trained on specifically using their product. Odds are if you learn how to use a certain palettes eyeshadow then you would be more inclined to use it on your own time. That is something a brand would pretty much never refuse, especially since I would also showcase their stuff on my social media channels.
You always want to emphasize on how the brand will benefit from giving you free product. It’s obvious as to why you would benefit from free makeup but really they care about what you bring to the table and how that will esentially translate into more sales.
Please keep in mind that not all brands will accept your offer so don’t be discouraged. If a certain email template isn’t working then you have to switch it up. It’s all about trial and error.
You need to give them something in exchange for the free product. Be clever.
You need to have engagement.
Excellent pictures (don’t forget social media is saturated with amazing content creators so make sure your images are amazing, don’t post if it’s not).