If you have made up your mind to monetize your blog and go the business way, there are things you should understand and accept. Your blog is not just your product you would want to market or sell, but your blog is also your resume. The only way to earn from your blog is not just giving space to a brand on your blog, but also the complimentary services you can offer, for example, a shout out on your social media handles, a guest review on a media platform, Instagram takeover, etc.
Here are my steps on how to get clients for your growing food blog:
1. We mean business
Probably till now, you were writing, or vlogging, or Instagramming purely out of fun, passion, and hobby, but once you decide to monetize and get clients, things get a little serious. Irrespective of how sincere or professional you are, you need to sit yourself down and talk that we mean business.
2. Develop an online presence 360*
If you are a blogger, your USP is your connection with your audience. And to enhance and strengthen that you need to have a 360* online presence – be it Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other similar platform. This not only gives you credibility and better connect with your audience, but also helps in increasing your total reach in terms of numbers. And honestly, when it comes to digital, it is the numbers which matter.
How to reach out to the prospects?
1. Write those emails
Once you get used to working on your beautiful Blogs, Facebook pages, YouTube channels, and Instagram pages, the Gmail or Hotmail account might be the last thing you would want to open. But it is important that you do this boring task of writing e-mails to be able to sustain yourself while doing the fun tasks! It is a good start point to contact that Chinese restaurant you like, the cookie company you love or the shakes outlet you wanted to try since long, and propose for a barter deal, an invitation to dine & review, or a paid marketing campaign.
2. Slide into the DMs
If we talk about the hospitality industry, it is very rare that the brand owner or in-house staff would be handling the social media accounts themselves. Most of the times it is a digital marketing agency which is hired to do the job. These professionals make it a point to be super active in responding to the comments or messages and to tap into cost-effective branding opportunities. So probably the quickest way to get into a dialogue with a brand would be through its social media. However, as per my experience, compared to when you approach the brand more formally through emails, the magnitude of such engagements or collaborations through social media would be smaller. For example, If there is a food chain operating 50 outlets, through its Instagram I would be able to talk to just one of the 50, most likely the one in the same geography. However, when you contact brand through formal e-mail address mentioned on its website, usually you are dealing with the parent company aka all the 50.
3. Get hold of that PR person
Just like a marketing agency, most of the restaurants have a PR agency or a freelance representative. And these agencies or freelancers do not just work with one food outlet. If you are able to get hold of them, and crack a deal and get into their good books, they could be your contact point to multiple food brands at one go.
4. Build your network
In my previous blog on content creation as a food blogger, I talked about how important it is to be an active part of a community, and it is this community which helps you connect with more clients.
By the time you have spent some time in the industry, you would be a part of multiple Whatsapp groups, Facebook groups or platforms of discussion. Platforms where clients, as well as fellow bloggers, would post work-related requirements. For example, I am a part of a Whatsapp group with almost 250 other food bloggers who are associated with or freelance with brands and post work listings when they seek ad-hoc support in terms of online visibility and content. Some would even be helpful enough to share their mantras with you on how to get clients.
How to reach out better?
1. Quirky proposals – killer pitch
It is alright to give your all to your blog and wait for inbound leads. But, there is no harm in going outbound and reaching out to prospective clients instead of waiting for them. And because the initial interest is one-sided, your pitch needs to catch the attention. There is no fixed rule on how to get clients, many would be sending out the usual PPTs and emails to prospects, but you make it different – an infographic on your blog, a video on what you can do, a scanned copy of a sketch of your favourite food, the list is endless. In short, add your style, your charm, your art – that is what the prospect would take your service for.
2. Personalize – highlight synergies
When you send out a Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V message, the other person knows. Personalize it for every prospect you are pitching for. Talk about your brand, their brand, and how both the brands go together.
3. Send work samples
What better way to convince the prospect than by showing concrete examples. You are pitching to a tea brand? Share the link to your beautifully captured cup of tea and your vivid description of its taste. This works way quicker and increases the chances of getting projects from your dream client.
This is how I can summarize in an organized manner the haphazard, unexpected and somewhat random process of how to get clients for your food blog. I don’t intend to scare you, but since when did the path to success be so straightforward?
See you next time when I share with you my little secret tools for making my life as a food blogger much easier.
We are publishing an amazing series of what I have learnt so far being a food blogger in this exciting 4 part food blog series, so hope you’ll sign up for more insights coming your way:
1) How To Get Started As A Food Blogger In India
2) 9 Strategies To Create Content As A Food Blogger
3) A Food Blogger’s Insights On How To Get Clients For Your Blog
4) Tools That Will Make Your Life Easier As A Food Blogger