Being brave and reaching out to brands
As a person who has written in the blogosphere since 2004, I've watched bloggers big and small jump into the water of brand relationships. For most of my career, I've worked as a journalist and it just didn't feel right to be a part of that side of blogging. But I have a new career, a new outlook and a new level of bravery. Did you know a part of working with a brand means you have to be a bit brave? You have to be willing to take a risk in case a brand says no to your pitch. That fear of pitching and not doing it all of the time has held me back a bit. Which is really funny since I have pitched story ideas and reached out to sources to get information and interviews for years. Reaching out to make contact with a brand is not much more different than a journalist pitch. It just has a different purpose.
Let's rewind to this past month. I knew I was headed to Chicago for a number very big events at one time: Building my daughter's newest prosthetic arm, putting together a large meet up for my blog readers and speaking at a large blog conference all at the same two week period. I had a lot of driving, coordinating and planning to do to make it all happen.
I stopped and thought about it... And realized in my years of blogging, I have not pitched many ideas with brands. But, I've built relationships by talking to communications directors, social media managers and so many others. It was time for me to be brave and ask.
I had a seven hour drive, many, many appointments to attend with my daughter and a very exciting meet up to coordinate that spanned between Navy Pier and Millennium Park in Chicago. I decided to take a risk and reach out to a communications manager at General Motors and some of the managers at the Chicago Children's Museum and Navy Pier.
I pitched the idea of using a loaner GMC vehicle to get us to Chicago, go to our many appointments and even help us with transportation during our meet up. Having a 2014 Acadia with the bells and whistles was such an amazing experience with all of the other stressful things going on with us during our almost two-week trip. My daughter, Jordan, enjoyed her videos in the back using the monitor. I listened to XM radio or our iPod during the trip using the navigation screen. Once we were in the Chicago area, the GPS system got us around the suburbs and the city. As I learned how I could turn certain GPS settings on and off, I figured out how to get around the city with and without the freeways and tollways. Add in front seat coolers on hot days and the fun sun roof (one in the front that opens and one in the back that is huge and Jordan LOVED to look out), our adventure was so much easier to make happen with our amazing loaner.
Our meet up included 45 adults and children with links to the limb difference community and my other website, Born Just Right. We had so much fun and it was so much easier to be able to have a vehicle for transportation. The transportation also helped so I could take my daughter to her many appointments. We were able to bring a suitcase full of activities so we could hang out in an appointment room working on art and playing games as we built a new prosthetic arm. We were able to buy her a bike to work on her new prosthetic bike hand. She actually balanced on a bike for the very first time! Without a large vehicle like the Acadia, we could have never purchased the bike during our visit.
There are many more stories about how the car made a difference and I plan to write a review about the car itself. But I wanted to be sure to write about bravery. I asked. If I hadn't asked, our trip would have been a little more stressful. I would have relied on Google Maps a lot more. I would have visited fewer spots in the Chicago area. And I know I wouldn't be writing a post encouraging others to be brave. You don't know what is possible without asking.