Live Blog: Workshop: How to Create a Media Kit that Showcases Your Brand and Gets Companies Knocking on Your Door

A media kit is a promotional tool that bloggers can use to showcase their brand in an easily digestible format. Bloggers’ media kits typically include an intro, analytics, ad sizes/rates, PR policy, testimonials and more -plus they’re great leverage to make sure you can earn what you’re worth! You have a resume or CV for job prospects, right? A media kit is the blogging world equivalent (though companies from big to small have them, too!). This session was all about how to create the best media kit for your blog.

Erica: Are you guys ready to get started? Are you guys excited? I’m Erica House and I blog at ericadhouse.com. My co-presenters here are Annabel Adams who blogs at Feed Me I’m Cranky and Shannyn Allan who blogs at Frugal Beautiful.

The workshop will cover three aspects including  logistics so you’ll know what to include in your media kit, how to know your worth and develop your brand, and how to market yourself and find brands to work with. We also have a worksheet to have out after the session to help you decide  how to charge and it also has a recap of our talk plus tips on creating  a media kit.

How many of you are here because you want to make more money off your blog? (Lots of hands up.) How many already have a media kit? (A few hands up.) Not many, that’s great. That’s what we’re here for. The other presenters and I – we’re doing pretty well because of our media kits. You’ll see what our page views are like and our media kits. The media kit opens doors.

Annabel: OK, I’m going to talk about the logistics – media kit 101. Here is a snippet of mine. It breaks the rules and runs four pages long. Generally you’ll hear you should keep it to a one-pager, but it has worked everytime for me.

What Data Do I Need: You can give your whole story or be more vague. It depends on what your angle is. Here are some of the things you can include:

All About You
Your bio and logo
Contact information
How long have you been blogging?
Your social media links
Subject matter expertise
What makes you unique? Think community engagement, professional and personal experience, membership and skills.
All About Your Blog
Editorial Calendar
Most Popular Posts
Readership & Demographics (key stats to include # of page views per month, # of unique visitors, demographics and more)
Testimonials from readers
Press coverage
Influence (Klout, EdgeRank, Feed subscribers, etc.)
Services and Rates
If you want to get sponsored posts and ads you can include your rates. You can also include your freelance rates, but it leaves you unable to negotiate.

Audience Question: You keep saying a decent number of page views, but what are specific numbers?

Erica: My average monthly views are 30,000 with 10,000 unique visitors. All three of us are in the top 15 percent of bloggers who make money, and it’s because we carry ourselves as professionals and have media kits.

Shannyn: I blog at Frugal Beautiful. I started blogging when I was a broke grad student in Chicago. I wanted to be a fashion blogger, but didn’t have money to buy clothes. I’m a rags-to-riches story. Not that I’m rich now, but I do get free stuff. If i can do it getting when I started out just getting 5 page views a day, anyone can.

A media kit is a simple document you put together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be personal. It should include your logo, picture and a tagline with what you’re looking for. It is your resume. It’s your business card. It’s the first impressions brands will get of you. Treat this like a resume and take it seriously.

I include my stats, my social media accounts with live links (make it simple for them!), some demographic information from Google analytics and specialties. I also send out a yearly survey to my readers asking why they read it, where they’re from, do they have kids, do they workout, etc. It’s a good way to get talking points when working with brands so I know what they want to hear from me.

My pdf is three pages. The first is about the blog. The second covers offerings: what I do, sidebar posts, giveaways, the value I provide with these, things I won’t review, what brands can expect of me, etc. Page three is just rates.

Audience Question: What do you do if you don’t like the product?

Shannyn: If you get a product and you hate it, you don’t have to put it out there. You can also tell them and see what they want to do. I like to list pros and cons of products, but in my media kit if I have a review policy that says if the review will be blatantly negative and is going to be lose lose, I won’t post. Your review policy should include time frame, that you reserve right to refuse product, whether or not you’ll offer discount codes and more. It’s helpful to make sure you don’t get trapped in a review you don’t want to do.
Advocating Your Worth
I’m sure you get emails from people that say they’re freelance writers and want to post something valuable to your readers on your blog. DON’T take these! Only put content from valued bloggers, friends and people you trust. Even if you’re not getting paid, when taking guest posts be cautious of scams. The links in the post can lead to something you don’t know about. Be careful who they’re linking to.

Do not work on promise of more business. For example – a company says, we’ll send you a $5 product and if you do well, we’ll send you something better. Stand up for yourself and say no. Your time is worth more than a $5 product. You’ll find out when you have a media kit it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t ever work for less than you’re worth. It can be scary when you’re new and don’t want to play hardball, but do it, play hard ball.

You are not required to tailor the tone of your review post or insert “anchor text” into any review on behalf of the brand. If they request it, then tell them you’ll need to charge them as a sponsored blog post and include a disclosure in the post that the content was influenced.
How to Articulate Your Value
This is where the media kit is so important. When I reach out to a brand, I say I love your brand and would like to do a giveaway – would you like to see my media kit? It lets you negotiate. Make sure you let them know if they say your stats aren’t what they expected that your blog provides valuable backlinks that some brands would pay top dollar for – this helps them with google rankings. It also provides gives them pictures, videos and social shares that not only provide brand awareness, but also create archived visibility in search engines. Tell them your audience (no matter how small) is carefully cultivated and engaged and provides the brand with an opportunity to reach interested buyers.

Remember your reputation is valuable and your time is valuable. Do you work for minimum wage? Ask for more. Think about how much your time is worth and tell them. Get comfortable wit negotiation. You can always start small. There is something to be said about paying your dues, but when you start to get that feeling that you’re getting too much business, raise your rates! Even if it feels crazy, put yourself out of your comfort zone.
Now what? Deciding Where and How to Send Your Media Kit.

Erica: OK, so i get to talk to you about how to work more with brands, how to talk with brands and how to choose them.

I’m going to talk about my blog. I’ve only been blogging for a year, but I know how to look at data and market myself and that’s helped it grow so quickly. My media kit is 3-4 pages long depending on who i’m sending it to.

For the first three months I had 10-15 visitors per day. Four to five months in I was at 5000 visitors per month and that was first time I pitched to a big brand. They sent me $500 worth of product. It was because of the media kit. I didn’t get paid, but they sent me products I wanted.

70-80 percent of my monthly income comes from freelancing, so I tailor my media kit to tell companies I want to write for them. During the first 6 months I made $20 working 20+ hours per week – a lot of work for not a lot of money, but it’s paid off now. It took a lot of work. The area I excel is in Twitter and I averaged about an hour a day on twitter for a year to get to where I am now.

My media kit includes blog stats, services and distinctions. Distinctions are key – you need to brag about yourself, really really brag. I have an extremely engaged audience on my website. i talk to my audience and brands see that. I don’t pitch anymore, brands come to me.

How do you find brands? The very first way I found brands was stalking other bloggers. If they do something with a brand you like, email them, brands will appreciate it. During the first 6 months 80 percent of my pitches were rejected.

Think about what you are actually passionate about. Check out brands that are advertising in health and wellness magazines then email them. Getting sponsored for events can be a harder sell, but going local, especially for doing races locally, can help you out.

Build a relationship with the brand. Share pictures on social media where you tweet and tag them. Also if you really love a company and they are a big company, go ahead and do a post for them then send it to them.

Who to contact?
Start with the PR/marketing contact or the social media coordinator listed on their site, but ask in the email for them to direct you to the right person if there is someone else you should be talking to.

Once you know who to contact, find your angle and brag – use your first line to tell them something amazing about yourself. Be specific with what you can do for them such as writing posts, reviewing products, hosting giveaways, etc. Don’t include your media kit as an attachment. It can get caught as spam or they might just delete it since they don’t want to open an attachment from someone they don’t know.

Keep Detailed Records
I have a spreadsheet for companies I pitch that includes the following tabs: category, brand, website, date contacted, date received contact, request and response. If i don’t hear from them in a week, I email them again. I’m pleasantly persistent.
Sharing Your Media Kit
Remember media kits are good for more than just scoring free stuff and sponsored reviews. Think freelance writing. I want to make a living out of living. I want this to someday become a sustainable income for my life. Many debate on whether or not their media kit online. I post it because it makes it easier for the brand. When i stopped pitching and brands started coming to me was the same time that I posted my media kit online. You have to make it as easy as possible for brands. Remember the worst thing a brand can do is say no. Don’t take it personally. You only need one yes.

This live blog was captured by Colleen from Heart & Sole.