Blog Talk Tuesdays: Part III

Good morning! It’s Tuesday and you know what that means… Time for another Blog Talk Tuesdays post!

Past Blog Talk Tuesdays topics include:

Today’s topic addresses reaching out to companies, reviewing products, offering giveaways and beginning communication with brands you love.

sadie soyjoy

Company Outreach

  • How do you get companies to send you free things to try, review or giveaway?

I would say that 99.9 percent of the time I receive a product to sample or giveaway on my blog, it’s because the company reached out to me. Companies – big and small – are beginning to understand the importance of social media and are becoming increasingly aware of the reach bloggers have.

vizsla

More and more companies are contacting bloggers to sample their product because, when you think about it, it’s really cheap advertising. Millions of people read blogs and the only cost to the company is their product and shipping. That’s some seriously cheap advertising.

  • How do you get companies to notice you and your blog?

To be honest, I really don’t try to get companies to notice my blog. I simply blog about my life, and products made by certain companies will pop up on my blog organically. Overtime I’ve realized that companies really do notice this and pay attention to what bloggers are saying. Also, companies didn’t just throw free things at me when I first started blogging. It took me a solid year or so of blogging before I was contacted by companies regularly.

If you want to receive free things to review, utilizing Twitter to connect with a company and express your interest is a great way to begin communication. Again, simply blogging about certain products you use or enjoy in your everyday life often times puts you on a company’s radar for new products they may debut in the future.

  • Have you ever asked a company to send you a sample or sponsor a giveaway? How do you go about doing this?

About two months after I first started my blog, I emailed the people at Pumpkorn to ask if they were interested in sponsoring a giveaway on my blog. In my email, I explained that I was a huge fan of their product. I provided links to past PBF posts featuring Pumpkorn so they could see that I was a genuine fan. They were so kind and were more than happy to offer a giveaway. (You may see that giveaway here.)

I no longer reach out to companies, but am not opposed to doing so if there’s a product I think PBF readers would absolutely love. If I were to do this, I’d go about it in a similar way that I did when I reached out to a hotel before, which I address in the final question of this post. 

  • Do you accept free samples or offer giveaways from every company that contacts you?

No. Absolutely not. In fact, I’d say I accept maybe 10 percent of the samples or products I am offered. I do not accept products I wouldn’t personally be interested in purchasing on my own, ones I’ve tried and don’t like (um, SoyJoy bars – ick!) or ones that don’t align with my lifestyle or blog (like diet pills, for example).

vizsla playing

  • Do you post both good and bad reviews?

When I accept a product from a company, I make sure to communicate that posting a review will include my honest thoughts about the product – both good and bad. If I have absolutely no good things to say about a product, I typically email the company and ask them if they would prefer me to simply leave the review off my blog, rather than post only negative things. They’re usually very grateful for this opportunity.

  • You said you were able to stay at a hotel in Atlanta for free because you “asked.” How did you do this?

I put together an email pitch. I emailed the hotel, explaining that two of my blog readers recommended their hotel to me for my upcoming trip to Atlanta. (I did this the week we would be traveling there, which I think helped since the hotel knew they were going to have rooms available anyway.)

In my email to the hotel, I said I would be happy to document my stay at the hotel on my blog (which I would do anyway!) in exchange for a complimentary room for the weekend. I also made sure to attach a media kit that I made using a fantastic tutorial I found on Katy Widrick’s blog, with more information about my blog and my blog’s statistics.

vizsla close up

If I missed any questions related to company outreach or reviews, please feel free to ask them in the comments section. I included all the questions I received through the blog and PBF Facebook page on this topic, but I know I often think of questions after the fact and am happy to address any lingering questions you may have.

Comments

  1. says

    I just LOVE pictures of Sadie and I’ve missed seeing her on your blog regularly. Great pics today! I can’t wait for all three of you to be reunited again. What a fun post that will be!

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  2. adriana says

    This is very impressive. Thank you for being so detailed? You mentioned that you had to wait about a year of solid blogging until companies started contacting you, how long did it take to gain a following?

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  3. says

    Your timing is perfect. I’m about to do my first ever giveaway! A hotel contacted me, offering me a free night’s stay with no strings attached. They also said they’d give away a similar stay on my blog to one of my readers.

    It’s a very friendly agreement and the only reason I haven’t posted it yet is I’m trying to decide HOW to do the giveaway. They’ve really left it all up to me — which is great!

    Any tips for what’s worked best for you? Having your readers leave just one comment? Have them tweet about the contest? And then use random.org to pick a winner?

    Any things that’s worked (or even better, what DIDN’T work) would be really appreciated!

    Loving Blog Talk Tuesdays!

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    • says

      to enter the giveaway, i usually have readers comment with something that has to do with the giveaway. for example, in your upcoming giveaway, i would say something like “comment below telling me what your favorite part about staying in a hotel is – the bed, room service, etc.”

      then random.org is my go-to winner picker! :) sounds like you have an awesome giveaway coming up, jackie! :)

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  4. Chantal says

    Awesome! One of your most helpful posts yet! I’ve always wondered how to go about doing the whole review thing. I often want to get into it more but don’t ever quite feel like I know how to go about it the right way! Your thoughts were super useful :o)

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  5. says

    These posts are so so helpful, thanks a million for sharing your tips on blogging! Starting a blog is a bit daunting and these posts are great for easing the process!
    I only just got a chance to read last weeks post about blog safety and I want to say a huge thank you because as a new and young(ish) blogger it’s a massive concern and there was a ton of stuff I didn’t know like that you own the rights to all photos and about your registration to a new domain not being private!
    You’re a life-saver :-)

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  6. K says

    I actually love SoyJoy bars! haha I’m seriously in the minority here. Funny how people have such strong, different reactions :)

    Great post! I’m not even a blogger but I still enjoy reading your blogging tips haha

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  7. says

    These suggestions are great!! I honestly agree that it takes about a year before you start getting offers. My blog just turned 1 year and it’s fun to see how things have started to pick up! Can you tell me what I can look forward to in year 2??

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  8. says

    I’ve said it before & i’ll say it a million times…I loooooooove Blog Talk Tuesdays!!!!

    Awesome post. I’ve noticed I’m getting companies following me on Twitter lately so I’m wondering if they’ve read the blog at all or if they just follow random people to get their word out. Not sure. I’m glad you posted this because I’ve been thinking about doing a giveaway soon, but how do you know whens the right time to do your first giveaway? I don’t want it to be a total bust.

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  9. says

    Julie, I have to tell you – I was reading this post on my phone while babysitting (bad babysitter here, whoops), and the two year old twin boys LOVED the pictures of Sadie! They kept pointing to her saying “Awww doggy,” and bending down to kiss her picture of my phone screen! Haha! It was so funny but also really sweet. :)

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  10. says

    Great info! Thanks for all the tips. LOVED that you ASKED the hotel for free accommodations. Brilliant.

    Question: Does WordPress count in blog statistics how many people get your blog in their RSS feed? I have been wondering how accurate the counts are.

    Thanks!

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  11. says

    I am absolutely loving these tips! I’m just a year into my blog and am always looking for ways to help it grow and get the word out there.

    You’re awesome Julie!! :-)

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  12. says

    thank you so much julie for doing this series, i know we all appreciate it SO very much! :)

    like some have said before me, i have yet to even get to a point where i’m even thought of by companies to offer me a giveaway, but i’ve been wondering how this whole thing works. your Q and A’s are very informative, again thank you bunches, and looking forward to more tuesdays!

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  13. says

    Thank you for the advice Julie, I make natural homemade granola bars and granola; I have been looking for ways to market through using blogs. You just answered by questions on how to spread the word to other bloggers!

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  14. says

    Hey Julie! I’ve been a reader of your blog for over 6 months now and I love it! I’ve recently started my own blog documenting my journey/attempt at weight-loss and your blogging tips are really helpful! I’d love to host a giveaway someday when I have more readership but I’m curious: who handles the actual transaction of giving away the prize? Do you have to mail it to the winner or does the company go about that?

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