Welcome to my ultimate guide to getting brands to send you products. I have decided to put this blog post together because as food bloggers we often want free stuff in exchange for reviews. But as a newbie connecting with new brands surely you’re talking about the impossible?
Well I am going to show you how it isn’t impossible and before my site had been built and during my first two weeks I received thousands of dollars worth of goods. I have received things such as an ice cream maker, slow cooker, kitchen accessories and a whole range of other things.
Here is how to make it happen for you…..
I am writing this post on the 16th of November. The blog started on 13th with a few back dated blog posts to get it going and make it look popular. This new blog post that you’re reading falls on week 3 of my food blog, I have had a few visitors but altogether as well as my brand new social media accounts I am far from popular. But after contacting brands (via my virtual assistant) I have received more freebies from brands than what I can physically handle and my kitchen is bursting with new things that I have yet to test and review.
But I like a hectic life and it gives me the opportunity to monetise my blog with reviews of Amazon products without having to pay for the goods.
However many established bloggers will tell you that this takes years. They will look at your social media channels and make sure you’re getting enough social media channels for it to be worth their while. Then on top of this they will be looking at your previous content.
Yet here I am with all these goods so this is how I did it….
If you want to work with brands you have to offer them something that they want. You have to be easy going, professional and quick to respond back to them. You can’t just spam them and then expect the earth in return.
I planned the products I wanted
In the old days I would go for the brands that I knew would send me things without thinking about it, or those that would pay for reviews in niches were reviews were not given out freely. This meant that I ended up stuck with a load of junk and things that really didn’t interest me.
Weird fitness products, diet pills, pedometers were all filling up my office and with no use. So I decided to go after products that I truly wanted and I could see the value in them making me money as well as something that I could keep at home. Plus I would then be promoting brands that I believed in.
I used to stay away from high end brands because I just assumed they wouldn’t be interested in the small blogger, but in reality these are the ones that don’t mind sending out samples and consider it as an everyday expense.
I then decided how I was going to promote these products
At the time I was just putting the final touches to what kind of site Recipe This was going to be. I had decided to focus on the kitchen gadgets micro niche and wanted to have the gadgets so that I could fulfil what I wanted from the site.
I looked at the products I needed:
- Better pans
- Casserole dish
- Slow cooker
- Grill (at this time I am waiting on delivery)
- Various kitchen accessories
So with my chosen products in place I started the process of contacting the brands in question. There are a lot of brands out there, so if one says no it doesn’t matter because there are still other brands available to you.
For example if you want a slow cooker remember that there are 100’s of different suppliers on Amazon and you’ll never be short of getting one. I think I contacted about 50 slow cooker suppliers before I got a bite and three days later I was taking delivery of it.
Contacting the brands
I used my virtual assistant to get connected with brands. I created an email for each of the product types and here is an example of one of the emails that was sent out:
Title: I Would Love To Review Your xxxxxx
Hello and I’m Sarah and work at Recipe This.
I hope you don’t mind me contacting you but I have just seen your xxxx product on Amazon.co.uk and feel it would make a great partner for RT. We are a family cooking blog that focuses its attention on kitchen gadgets.
We are launching a range of ebooks focusing around particular kitchen gadgets that we then go on to sell on the Kindle. We then also use sponsorship products (such as your kitchen gadgets) and promote your product via the recipe ebook.
We have done this twice before with both a soup machine and (our most popular) the Philips Airfryer. The Airfryer ebook is now about two years old and still generates 100’s of ebook sales per month and makes us excellent affiliate sales (which Philips benefits from). And we are working at the moment with Lakeland on their slow cookers.
We now want to expand into a few other kitchen gadgets including pressure cookers, ice cream makers, skillets, and casserole dishes and would love to work with you.
The ebook would be promoted via Kindle (where it normally sells itself, plus to our blog readers, via our social media and much more.
Even though Recipe This has not launched yet we plan to follow a similar promotion method as our other websites that each generate a lot of traffic for the brands that we have partnered with.
If you’re interested in us creating an ebook surrounding your product and then becoming one of our most successful affiliates in exchange for a product sample then please get in touch.
As you can see from the email that we’re using to contact brands we focused on the following:
What we can offer the brand
Success we have in the past on other sites
Details of brands we have worked with before
Why they should send us a sample
That it is in their best interests to send us a sample
Many small businesses (like the ones we contacted) didn’t even realise that by having their products on Amazon that they could be promoted via the Amazon affiliate programme. Others didn’t realise how well certain keywords were doing on the Kindle. In a lot of cases we really opened up the door to them and what was possible.
Statistics From Brand Emails
You’re probably wondering how many emails I sent out to get my goods. Well firstly they were sent out by my virtual assistant and then she just forwarded me any replies that needed dealing with.
All I had to do prior to this was to check the spreadsheet she had put together and delete off any brands that I really wasn’t interested in.
But from a statistics point of view I found that for every 30 emails send out it would result in me receiving a sample. This means that if you want to receive 4 products a month in order to do a weekly review, then all you need is 120 emails. This may seem a lot, but it really isn’t.
I also found that if one brand said no, then another would say yes. So if you contacted 10 brands of the same type of product and they turned you down, it doesn’t mean the 11th would.
Brands are now obsessed with working with bloggers and you can always tell a good from a bad brand for how quick they get back to you and how polite they are. Just like some will have goods shipped to you in 2-3 days where as others will have them with you in 4 weeks. Of course there are brands that say they have shipped your goods yet you never hear from them.
But it is well worth making the effort and quite often PR companies are in charge of many brands and will come back to YOU when they have a new product coming out!
Getting something out of it for YOU
But at the same time you have to get something out of it because you can’t pay the mortgage with free gifts from brands. It would of course be nice if you could be in reality it doesn’t work like this. I read this post recently about working in brands and the title of the post really made me smile…..I can’t pay the mortgage with free apple sauce.
Some brands that I contacted wanted me to link to their website instead of via my Amazon affiliate link, in which case I wouldn’t make any money at all and I would still have all the usual blog fees to pay. In those cases I would say it is either a fee for a website link or an Amazon affiliate link, which either way they would still make sales.
Remember they are doing you a favour. It costs them next to nothing to send out some samples out to you, where as your putting the effort into their brand, taking pictures, doing a review and of course the expense of getting graphics done and the other things that go with it.
You want to make sure that the product in question is worth at least $30 for it to be worth it for you and for it to be something you want. Kitchen gadgets will always sell in second hand Facebook groups if you’re not that bothered for it, but you couldn’t have the same option if you’re sent some weird spicy sauce that wouldn’t really interest anyone.
My statistics showed that for every 30 people that would send me a sample that I would run into a brand that I didn’t want to work with. I had a herb and spices company that sent me a salt sample that would salt a small portion of fries, clearly they didn’t get a review out of me. As a general rule if they send me a really small sample then I really won’t entertain doing a review for them.
I have learnt over the years which brands are the good ones and which ones are the bad ones, based on how they treat you. Those that have the product straight out to you and send you a decent sized sample are the ones you want to be with. I told one brand where to go when they suggested that we paid the postage and there is plenty other brands around. So don’t be put off just by one bad experience.