How to Send a Strong Collaboration Email
There's a list of other articles as resources at the end of this post I've found online, including our membership group Hustle Hive Elite. The unofficial part 1 of this post is an overview of why it's important to collaborate.
This post has helped The Bronze Hustle grow (hey, if you found this from Google!) but it also has been a piece of our foundation for creating Hustle Hive Elite and pulling in amazing guest instructors to teach our group of bloggers and online entrepreneurs. The info below is a general guide of sending important collaboration emails for mostly free and low priced offers so it may not be the exact resource for crafting an email for a huge company or campaign. Mattie James has a great post about that if that's more of your lane.
Now let's jump into the post...
I can be a really blunt person. Usually it’s not to be rude or nasty, but I have a habit of saying what’s on my mind. It’s actually gotten better over time but it’s a strong Aries trait and it’s just in me.
One day, I got a comment on TBH’s instagram from a guy looking to collaborate with me. I thought “Oh cool, here’s my email!” When he sent me the email, I was dumbfounded that he jumped to sending me an email and had very little idea about who I was, what my platform was or even what my website is about. But in the email he said he liked my website and social media. How Sway? As a follower on my Instagram, I would hope you at least read my bio but clearly he saw cute pictures and ran to email me with no ideas, no sense of my audience or anything.
At least he didn't jump to asking me for things in my direct messages but still. This is also a good time to tell you that many people hate dm pitches or do not read dms period, don't waste your time and just look or ask for an email.
Anyway, I explained my platform and politely gave him tips on sending a better initial email. Maybe I rubbed him the wrong way because he didn't email me back but I was genuinely trying to help! *kanye shrug*
The man who was so called a business guru was lacking a few business skills and I hate for you to fall in the same track. Being biz besties and all, I have to let you know how to step your email game up! And remember that collaborations aren't just blog posts and webinars, there's plenty of other ways to work with other bloggers and small brands.
There are a few different types of emails I send when beginning collaborations:
"Just Saying Hi" emails
These are the emails you send when you're just popping up on someone's radar in order to reach out to them later. I usually send these when I don't know the other person well (remember we're chatting to people in our niches and not necessarily huge brands.)
These are emails best sent after you've already gotten on their radar in their inbox and on social media etc. This is where you explain your ideas and the benefits for both of you. Be sure to give as much information as possible without typing a 75 paragraph email that no one wants to read.
Follow Up emails
These are the emails I send to people I haven't spoken to in a while just to catch up and keep the connection or to reiterate a recent pitch or important email that hasn't been answered.
We'll talk about all of these but first let's go over some rules for sending emails:
Rule Number 1: Explain who you are and why you’re in their inbox
In your hi and pitch emails make sure you've giving clear information. Again maybe it’s the Aries in me, but I don’t like getting emails not knowing what someone is talking about or not having an idea of what the next step is.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
It was great meeting you and I would love to connect.
First, where did we meet? Who are you again? Connect where? On social media? At in upcoming event? A little meeting at Starbucks? Then my next email becomes me asking a thousand questions on things I wish you would’ve said to begin with. We all get a ton of emails, do we really have time to send unnecessary ones?
Here’s what Person A should have said:
It was great connecting with you at the “Awesome name” networking event last night!
I am currently doing a series on my blog, “A cool Series,” and I would love for you to be a part of it! The series is about other women bloggers who do x and y and after speaking with you about your platform last night, I realized you would be perfect for it! Here’s the website with more information: www.moreinformation.com.
If you’re free this week, we can speak about it over the phone.
Company or blog Url
See the difference? The second email hit all of the major points without being too long and by being friendly and direct. A common mistake is including links that are broken, dated (if it's older than a year or so then I would nix it and find something more recent). Some experts advise not to include any hyperlinks so use them at your discretion.
What's even worse is talking about your social media and not including your username. Someone with very little time does not care to search for you on Instagram. And please when you do give social media links, make sure your pages are public! It's a huge "I'm not open for business" sign when outside followers can't reach you. I don't know about you but I very rarely request to follow people anymore. You can't expect to gain followers, readers, clientele or partnerships with a private account. I've talked about business social media accounts before on the blog, click here if you missed it.
Rule number 2: Know who you’re talking to
This also comes from being pitched in PR as well. I’m not a fan of guessing and it baffles me when some people have the information and still guess. Now if it’s a cold email, then you may not have a lot of information to go off of. Usually I start those emails with "Good Afternoon," or "Good Morning," and wait until they mention their name in the following email.
When you do have their name, it's very personable to mention it within a sentence. You'll notice many huge brands on Twitter mention the followers by name like this: "We love that article, Jane! Thank you for thinking of us!"
This is also where research comes in. Read their blog, scroll through their social media etc and figure out what they do and who they do it for. My audience isn’t middle aged men so it wouldn’t be beneficial to email me assuming I care to speak to older men.
Again working in PR, I would hate when people would send a long drawn out email regarding something I could care less about. For example, people who send information on a 75 year old gymnast when I worked with mainly beauty and hair products. That’s a lack of planning on your part to pitch someone who doesn’t care about what you’re pitching and then may not even email you back. That's the digital version of walking into an interview and barely knowing the name of the company, let alone what the company specializes in.
It also looks a little desperate to email EVERYONE the exact same thing without taking any consideration of if it even appeals to them. A huge mistake I've made is not changing important wording in an email for another recipient after copying and pasting from a previous email. I cleared up my goof, thank God, but it was a learning experience. Always, read through the email before you hit send, especially when pitching.
Just make sure it makes sense! I wouldn’t email a food blogger about a branding collaboration. Because that makes no sense and its wasting both of our time. Don’t waste time!
If you follow me or read the blog, you have an idea of what I do and who I am. Even if it’s fairly vague, you could start up a conversation about something related. Always stay on topic and keep it related.
Rule Number 3: Keep it short and sweet
The best pitch emails are short and sweet and to the point. Don’t write 7 paragraphs about how much you love that person’s blog or brand, let them know what you can do for them and how the collaboration will be beneficial- it's not exposure but here are 5 other things to offer. Long winded emails are less likely to be answered. In the beginning of your email make it clear who you are and why you’re contacting them and then go into your ideas. And please always have some kind of idea to propose! It shows that you're on your game and you have been working behind the scenes even before you sent them an email. It’s also a good idea to list other related things you have done in the past or related accolades to show your expertise.
Rule Number 4: Give them a CTA and follow up
Your "Call to Action" could be anything along the lines of “please let me know if Wednesday afternoon works well with your schedule for a quick chat” or “Check out my website for more information and let me know what you think.” Mention anything that gives them a reason to send you another email. If you’re on a time restriction, let them know! CTA's are a key way to get people to respond in emails, on blog posts, under Instagram posts etc. Give them something to do so you don't lose them after they've finished reading.
Now for following up- My rule is usually after two follow-ups it’s under my discretion if the topic is important enough for a third follow up. After number three and no response, I’ve moved on. If it is a really important subject and you still have not received a response after the third follow-up, wait a week or so and send one final one with the information from the original email and a time restriction like “If you are interested in this opportunity, please let me know before Friday, Month, day.” If you have another contact within the company, CC them as well when following up. If you still receive no response, then hang it up and move on or find someone else to contact. You don't want to get on someone's nerves with follow-ups but you don't want to forget about them completely either.
Other relevant resources:
- This one is really good, but focused more so on journalists and PR
- This one gives a lot of good information on pitching big brands and what else to include in your email
- This one explains how to break down each paragraph and it advises not to use hyperlinks or attachments