How to Successfully Work with Brands with Jenny Melrose

Jenny is a former inner city school district reading specialist that retired from teaching after replacing her teaching income with her blogging income from her lifestyle site the Melrose family. Jenny worked hard to set her site and influence apart so brands sought her out to work with her. She went from having empty editorial calendar to one that was full three months in advance and needing to turn down opportunities. As a former teacher, it’s her passion to teach bloggers how to do the same which is why she created jennymelrose.com a site for helping influencers and entrepreneurs to grow with their businesses.

In this episode you’ll learn:

    • How Jenny has built her business working with sponsored posts + brands
    • How to pitch yourself, highlighting your strengths
    • How she left her full time teaching job and replaced her income

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Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.

I started my blog about 5 years ago when my daughter was first born. Family wanted to know more about how she was growing and what was going on with her life that lived down south and from there I kind of got sucked into the whole blogging world and fell in love with it. I turned from a hobby blog to something where I was able to replace my teaching income and actually not get to miss out on all the little moments that I was missing out with my girls.

How did you actually take the leap to leave your full time teaching job?

My husband and I had always wanted to live down south but what was holding us back is as a New York’s teacher, I had a great salary. And it was hard to walk away from teaching that was so consistent and all of my family was from New York because that’s where we live. What ended up happening is my husband and I sat down and I was just not happy teaching anymore. It wasn’t the kids. I love my kids, I love my colleagues, education had just made a change with administration. So, we sat down and he said, “You can replace your teaching income in the next 6 months, you can put in your resignation and we’ll move. We’ll go down south, it’s not as expensive as in New York and we can see what happens with the blogging. You always have your teaching degree, if it comes down to it that you have to go back which, of course, made me cringe. He gave me 6 months and I fully need what I needed to do and we’ve been down south ever since.

What was the first thing you did to replace your income?

I started working with other bloggers. I’m big in networking. I like to be able to have that communications that you can figure out what strategies are working for them and what strategies could possibly apply to your site. I created those relationships and was able to start to figure out ways to build up my traffic and then as I was starting to get an engaged audience, I started reaching out to brands myself to start to want to do some sponsored content with them.

What were the things that were most effective in building your traffic?

It was definitely Pinterest for me.

What have you done to really build an engaged audience?

I’m very active in social media. I feel that social media gives me an opportunity to actually show different sides of me.

What do you think has been the most successful when approaching brands?

When I first started wanting to work with brands, I did go through the network. And I would use different networks that were out there and I always felt that I was getting kind of pigeon hold into these little idea, what worked, what the brand wanted. I couldn’t pitch my idea so that it was to my strength.

Now, when I reach out to a brand I have like a whole step by step process that I put together for myself so that its quicker and I can get it done but my initial e-mail, doesn’t overwhelm them. I kind of introduced myself quickly, I get in and I tell them that I like to send my media kit and my proposal and I go from there and if they don’t reply back, they don’t reply back but a lot of times because I’m giving them such a simple direction as whether or not I want to send my media kit and my proposal, does that work for you? They can just quickly reply yes, send it over and they’re good with that.

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Can you tell me a little bit more about playing up your strengths?

I hear so many bloggers say, “I don’t like doing these sponsored posts I get. The give me these guidelines and I don’t know what to do with them.” It’s kind of crazy but my most popular content are my sponsored posts because I get really creative and I try to think of ways that I can apply it to my readers and if I can’t figure out a way, I don’t work with that brand. I’m very particular who I choose to work with so if I can’t turn it, it’s not going to work for me.

When I mentioned about playing to my strengths so when I created a proposal I make sure that if I’m pitching someone about party planning, I’m probably not going to pitch Instagram for me. Instagram is just not one of my strengths when it comes to a DIY craft.

If its food, I’ll pitch then I’m going to put out something on Instagram because that’s what does better in my Instagram channel but I always pitch Snapchat because I’m comfortable, it’s simple, it’s easy, I’m good at it and I love it. The brand can tell when you’re engaged and loving what you are doing.

I definitely work with companies that I didn’t know how it was going to exactly fit in. In the beginning, I made some choices that just didn’t work and it was terrible on my site and I learned from that because that is what this is all about. As a teacher, I’m still a continuous student so I am always learning from my mishaps. Since I made that decision to stick with brands that I use constantly or can turn so that something that I would normally talk about on my site has made a difference on my readers.

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Let’s get into your 9-point pitch checklist. I know this is something you have on your site that you offer and I’m really interested to hear what this is all about.

My sole purpose is to teach bloggers to replace their incomes or how to make more of an income because I see so many bloggers struggling and I was there and its huge for me. The 9-point pitch checklist, the purpose of it is to give people kind of a skeleton of things that should be in your pitch. Like I said before about always saying that, “I’d like to give you or send over my media kit and a proposal that’s one of the points that is in the checklist. I give you everything from how to casually address some, to do an elevated pitch, all the way through to how to show them your influence. The pitch checklist is definitely something that my readers used that are bloggers to write their initial e-mail.

How can we get the 9-point pitch checklist?

If you go to jennymelrose.com there it is set up so you can get the checklist. You can do a 10 day pitch perfect challenge. I give a mini lesson each day for 10 days so it starts from who to reach out jenny-melrose-49-200x300to and gets them to actually have a finished e-mail to send off.

Jenny is a former inner city school district reading specialist that retired from teaching after replacing her teaching income with her blogging income from her lifestyle site the Melrose family. Jenny worked hard to set her site and influence apart so brands sought her out to work with her. She went from having empty editorial calendar to one that was full three months in advance and needing to turn down opportunities. As a former teacher, it’s her passion to teach bloggers how to do the same which is why she created jennymelrose.com a site for helping influencers and entrepreneurs to grow with their businesses.

Find Jenny:

This podcast was sponsored by Kit Life!

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You Foodies in particular will love the meal planning features and nutrition and fitness add-ons .  Kitlife has these unique daily tracker stickers you can use to customize your day. There’s even a social media sticker that can help you manage your efforts to build your brand. For photos, reviews and more information check out
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And as a special promo for Blissful Bites Podcast listeners if you enter my name – Nicole Culver in the comments section at check-out Team KIT will add in a set of adorable snail –mail postcards just for fun. This variety pack of 10 postcards are so cute – and they are themed for the holidays too – so you can send some love to friends and family near or far!

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1 reply
  1. ashlee
    ashlee says:

    what a wonderful wonderful post. I am so thankful for women like you two who are willing to help young women like myself. thank you thank you! and god bless 🙂

    Reply

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