The Art of Pitching Clients


Monetizing your Social Media Presence for Outdoor Photographers


Lesson Info

The Art of Pitching Clients

Who here wants to work with clients? Yeah? Maybe? A little bit? Only one person shaking his head. Pitching clients. Most people when it comes to pitching clients your screens look like this, because most people never know what to say. What do we put on a pitch? What do you say? What do you charge? All these things. And we're not necessarily going to dive too much into pricing because again that's subjective. I'm going to show you guys a pitch that I actually wrote out including the numbers of what I charge. Take it with a grain of salt, but I'll include it. But most people feel confused, or scared, or fearful of writing pitches. Know that if you've gotten to the stage of writing a pitch where a company is actually interested in you, that's a good thing. It's positive, they've sit there and said, "Hey we at least want to hear more of what you have to say." So, generally what happens is I send out a cold e-mail. I hear back and they say, "Hey, we're actually interested. We'd love to jump...

on a phone call or something," which I prefer to do over e-mail. I jump on the phone call, I talk about different ideas. They say, "Yes, we'd like to do something together." I say, "Great, I'm going to talk with my team, and let me send you a pitch in a couple of days." They say, "Great." Hang up the phone, I get to writing my pitch. So, let's talk about the key elements of a pitch. These are pitches that I write, again, this is not uniform or universal truths or what you have to do, but just know that it is something that I do. So, one that is professionally made. So, usually what I do is I write it up in word and then I convert it into a PDF. Convert it into PDF mostly so it can't be edited, but also it generally looks cleaner. Often times I'll also include in the header, I'll make sure that my logo is in there, if not the logo, the name of the company that I'm pitching to. So it's direct and to the point. Again, I'm not sending a bunch of fluff by this time, they're already sold on the idea of me so I'm not including information about myself. I'm not sitting there and saying, I have 3.8 million followers and I love the color blue and my wife's name is Sarah. None of the information about myself matter anymore, because they're already sold. They want to know what you want to pitch. What is the idea that you have, and how much is it going to cost them? Save the objective of the proposal is the first part. What's the objective of whatever you're trying to propose? Whether it's a sponsorship, a partnership, a marketing campaign, like what is the objective? The overall objective of what you're proposing. Next, you want to detail out the goals of what could come out of the partnership. So, what are the goals of it? Not what you're going to do, but what are the goals? You have this overall objective of what you're planning to achieve, you have goals of what you're hoping to accomplish by providing something. And then include two different proposals, and this is big, a lot of people just include one. I'm a huge fan of including two. And what I do, is that I include the proposal that I want them to pick which is usually the more expensive proposal as the first one. So, they read the first one and they're excited about all the stuff that's happening and then they look at the second one and it's like, "Oh, he's only including that in the second proposal." Nine times out of 10 people always, at least for me, in my experience, have always chosen the first one, when I choose two. When I include one, sometimes they'll come back and they'll start bargaining with price and all this stuff. But if you have two, it allows you to show some contrast between them. It allows you to sit there and say, "Well, this one's more expensive." But then it gives them something to compare that to. If they don't have anything to compare that to, they're going to sit there and say, "Well, we shouldn't afford this we can come up with our own comparison." Give them two things to compare. If it's completely out of price range, they're not going to hire to begin with and it doesn't matter. So, two proposals, first one's more expensive and generally includes more, second one is one that you're willing to do because it can be selected, but that is going to be the offer less and cost less. Six, provides an in-depth breakdown of the deliverables. So, everything that you are promising when it comes to a marketing campaign, this is going to be our images included. How many times of day am I going to post? What are the breakdown of some of the things that you are going to deliver? I'm I creating a movie for you? How long is the movie going to be? Like, be specific. You don't have to have a storyline of your movie but sit there and say, A two to three minute movie based on so-and-so about so-and-so. Or you can sit there and say, It's a two or three minute movie based on guidelines we agree on. So, here is a proposal that I sent out I think two years ago to a client. So, your header in this specific one, I had the name of the company and part of the header, a lot of the time I include my logo in the top as well. It's just professional, it's nice to do. I jump right into it. I'm not messing around. I'm not saying, "Hey, how's it going?" That's happening in the e-mail that I send the proposal in, the pitch in. This is straight and to the point, all business. Objective: To showcase the beauty of so and so and the surrounding areas with the creation of visual content that both blank and Colby Brown Photography can use, then as part of a digital marketing campaign that utilizes both fixed websites and social media platforms. Objective: Clear goals for the campaign. To highlight blank and the surrounding areas as a destination hotspot. To showcase the blank of 2013 did not damage blank's natural beauty as it was reported, and create visual content through both mobile devices and professional cameras, still photography and video that can be shared through various social channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Objectives: What do I hope to achieve by what I'm offering, what I'm pitching? What are the goals? Proposal one. I'm giving a timeframe, what kind of duration, this is specifically for marketing campaigns so take that for a grain of salt. Time frame, 9 to 10 days charging $25,000. Number one, I'm offering a one, two to three minute video focusing on exploring blank, emphasizing on the natural beauty, outdoor activities, and exploring the park, which feature myself and talk about history of the park, natural wonders, photography and adventures inside the park. Delivery date, to be decided. Two, live content publishing during the trip for mobile devices with no limit. Behind the scenes stuff. I used to take it anyway, use it for my own marketing, they love it. Delivery of four full resolution images for blank to the use of the outside of use a digital marketing campaign, non-exclusive for a three year licensing contract. Delivery time frame of photos is to be decided. Photography blog article detailing visiting, blank which will happen post trip. Sharing of SLR images for strict digital use with blank social media teams post trip with no limit. Recording live at the time, Google+ Hangouts showcasing visiting blank. Guest host of blank's Instagram account for a day to share content. Also include the variable at the very end with an asterisk saying that I'd be interested in potentially doing a photo walk if they were interested in it and they were willing to market it, and I stipulate the idea that all additional expenses are not included in my price. This means that the price for me to fly out there, the price for my food and lodging, and vehicle rental are not included. Now again, I've been doing this for 11 years and I've been able to ask for a lot of these things, you may or may not be able to get away with some of the stuff, but know that you can at least ask. I always, like I said, mention that in there so that there's no confusion, where they're like, "25,000? Okay, we can do that." And I'm like, "Oh, by the way it doesn't include X, Y, and Z." And then they have to rethink about it. You don't want to give them a reason to say no. Be up front with what you're asking. Proposal number two, charging 14,000 days. It's a couple of days less. Live content publishing through the trip through mobile devices with no limit. Delivery of two resolution images for blank to use outside for digital marketing purposes. I'll include a photography blog about visiting the place, sharing of images, restrict their use with their social media teams is fine, out of all that I create. A guest host of their Instagram account for a day, so there's no video. So, for me the reason that I do two different proposals is because I'd like to again upsell. I like the idea of offering more. The thing that I really want to do is my proposal one. I really would love to create a video product with this. I also would like to make $10,000 more money, but I really wanted to create a video project. I also was willing to include more images as part of a licensing agreement and usually this is just part of the agreement. Oftentimes, afterwards they'll come back and say, "Hey, we want a couple more." In which case you can try to figure out ways to sweeten the deal. Ask for more money externally or if they're kind of wavering a little, you can sit there and say, Hey, why don't we include X, Y, and Z, call it even? Use every single aspect of what you can offer in terms of a bid or a proposal, or bargaining chips. I always recommend for asking for more than you are expecting and just be willing to whittle down. Usually 20 percent more, including price and what you're willing to do. So, I often will charge 20% more of what I generally I'm willing to accept for a project, knowing that there may be a bargaining dance back and forth. And what comes out of it, sometimes are beautiful campaigns. I've run campaigns in places like Visit California, in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jordan, North Carolina. I've done projects for Samsung, and Sony, and LG, and Wacom, Google. All of them or most of them came through the same process. Not all of them necessarily generated out of LinkedIn, a lot of them were, but all of them started with a cold e-mail that initially started a relationship. Sometimes the idea of the pitch followed shortly after, sometimes it was more of establishing a relationship and I did some pro bono work or projects that were much less, much smaller, ultimately getting to bigger projects that were bigger paying. It depends on the company, depends on the relationship, depends on the needs. But if you don't ask, you don't figure out who you need to talk to, you don't put yourself out there, and e-mail to reach out and connect with the right individual. And you don't put together an interesting pitch with an idea that you think is unique or different or you have something to offer, you will not be getting much work. People may find you, especially if you have a growing social media following, but oftentimes that's not enough. And they're busy, there are millions of people out there offering to create interesting content. So, connect with the right individuals. Put together pitches, send cold e-mails, do cold calls, put in the hard work, and social media can help. Social media can be an avenue or can be of value for you to offer in terms of additional opportunities for you to work with companies, and can also be the means of communication which you can find the right people to engage with. You just got to know what tools are out there, and you got to know how to sell yourself.

Class Description

Social Media is a powerful marketing tool, but how do you leverage yourself to gain the attention of new clients or potential sponsors? Colby Brown covers how you can find ways to monetize using various networking platforms. Whether you’re interested in finding clients, becoming a brand ambassador, or selling prints this class will give you the tools needed to make strides in getting your network to work for you. You’ll learn: 

  • The significance of getting verified and how to find the right target markets for your business 
  • How to use ads to expand your business on Facebook 
  • The hidden value of LinkedIn and how to utilize it for sponsorship or brand influencer work 
  • How and when to pay to expand your reach


Linea Broadus

Colby's class was packed with great information for landscape photographers! From writing pitches to marketing with social media, he clearly explains how to achieve personal business goals. Thanks, Colby!

Beatriz Stollnitz

I was fortunate to be in the live audience for this course. If you (and I !!!) take the time to truly absorb the content presented and put it in practice, this course will pay for itself over and over and over. It is rare for someone at Colby's success level to be so open about the financial aspects of what they do, and the details of how they do it. Highly recommended!

Esther Beaton

There were 2 benefits from this course. First was the straight info from Colby - very specific - on how to write cold emails and pitches, how to find prospective clients, where to sell work, etc. Second BIG benefit was his stress on our individual creativity to achieve new revenue in this new age of the photography boom. Oh, and there's a 3rd: use social media; you almost can't go wrong.