In terms of the age of the internet, I’ve been blogging a long time. Of course, there are many people who have been blogging longer than I have, but there are far more who have been blogging for less. At this point, I consider myself an old blogger. I’ve been around the blogging block a time or two.
One thing I’ve never done is email a PR firm or company with which I had no prior relationship and ask for something for free. It makes me cringe to think about doing this. Yes, there are perks to being a blogger and I’m not hurting for swag or items to review. But I firmly believe that one should work toward building a relationship with a brand and not just use a brand for free stuff.
That said, while I’ve never contacted a company out of the blue to ask for free stuff, and I don’t intend on doing so anytime soon, I certainly would never contact any company asking for free products with a very poorly written letter.
A few weeks ago a blogger saw a review I had done of the Bonjour Jolie Subscription Box and mistook me for a company rep or something. She sent me the following email:
I took out the identifying information, but this is the exact email I received.
Things to note:
- She incorrectly typed her Youtube address and instead sent me a link to pornography
- This letter is just poorly written all the way around but the poor spelling and lack of punctuation is particularly notable
- There are no statistics about the blog or why it would be beneficial to the company if she reviewed this box
There is no excuse for a blogger EVER sending out a letter such as the one above. I understand that everyone isn’t a rockstar speller or writer, but if that is the case find a friend to proofread your items. If you are reaching out to brands or PR companies then you are asking to be taken seriously. Sending out a letter like this will not help your blogging career. I’m sure this isn’t the first letter this woman has sent out and I would be shocked if she is getting much of a response.
When working with brands and PR companies it is a both a give and take relationship. Plainly lay out reasons why pairing with you would be beneficial for the brand. Be professional and sell not only your site but yourself as well. Force them to take you seriously by sending a well-written letter that clearly lays out how you think you can help the brand, and it never hurts to send along a copy of your media kit either. Don’t contact a brand asking to receive a sample or thinking that they will automatically want to send you something for free. Focus on the long term.
In short, having a blog does not give you carte blanche to be a demanding diva. Treat brands and companies with the same respect and sense of professionalism that you yourself would like to receive.