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

    This is my favorite blog talk Tuesday post yet! Thanks so much for the tips!!

    I felt really bad at first when I started telling companies no, but I’ve gotten over it. I think it’s important to stick only to products you would really like and want to use in real life.

    Have any dog companies reached out to you about Sadie testing things out? That would be awesome- Sadie the spokes-dog!

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    • says

      yes!! sadie has received two different packages! one included dog treats that she LOVES from milo’s kitchen. the packages are in storage right now, so i haven’t been able to blog about them, but i will as soon as they’re out. she flippin’ LOVES those treats.

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  2. Rachel Wilkerson says

    Great post! It is good to read that you decline free stuff…I do that too, fir the same reasons! It’s important for bloggers to know you CAN say no! (And for readers to know that you often do.)

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  3. Yolie @ Practising Wellness says

    This is such a great post, Julie, thank you so much for sharing all this knowledge and insight you have picked up as a super successful blogger, it is so cool and generous of you, and incredibly helpful 😀 Your Blog Talk Tuesdays posts are absolutely awesome 🙂 Have a wonderful day! <3 xyx

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  4. says

    Another classic post, Julie. I’m sure these will quickly become a blogger’s “Bible” of sorts for newbie bloggers and bloggettes like myself (and so many others).

    I’ll admit, I always have to chuckle when I imagine just sitting at a computer, writing a post, and expecting companies to throw stuff at you, so I like that you were honest in saying it wasn’t an immediate thing but took a solid year of blogging before things started coming your way for reviews or giveaways.

    I love the advice to just blog your life, and also if you truly want to reach out, use twitter. I think companies are really starting to utilize it to its full capability, very exciting time as the gap between the consumer the and company is getting smaller every day!

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  5. says

    Interesting! And awesome that you got a free stay at a hotel. This reminds me to keep on truckin’ even if things seem slow for now. I think perseverance really pays off in the blogging world.

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  6. Rachel says

    Good info! I don’t have a blog, but I appreciate your honest perspective. I still think it’s awesome that the Ritz comped your stay. Next time you’re in Atlanta, you should check out the Mansion on Peachtree – it’s divine and they have a wonderful spa. 🙂

    I loooove the Sadie pics in this post, especially the second one. My dog makes that face all the time too.

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  7. Morgan @ Some Kind of Sunshine says

    Thanks so much! I think by blogging naturally about products that you use and enjoy everyday is a great way to create a sort of “product profile” for companies to view.

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  8. says

    Julie this is a wonderfully informative post! It really makes perfect sense to see how things work now! Also…at my old job we actually placed the food chemists at SoyJoy, and in return for doing so they sent us all boxes of SoyJoy bars in early May…those boxes were around until WELL after the next May (untouched mind you). They were gross gross!

    Thanks for your hints on how to get things fo’ free (Sadie was a great side-kick for this post!)

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  9. says

    Wow – that was incredible savvy of you to think to ask the hotel. It’s so true, we end up documenting our stay anyway so why not ask? The worst that can happen is they say no! You’re a clever girl 🙂

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  10. says

    Great post once again Julie! I agree with you – if I am asked to review a product that doesn’t fall in line with my values and lifestyle, I don’t normally do it. I’d rather keep brand bashing off my blog because I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all! Super cute Sadie photos! 🙂

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  11. says

    Thank you for helping out so many newbie bloggers. I have often wondered about contacting companies about samples and reviewing their products, so this was very helpful. I am really enjoy blog talk Tuesdays!

    My blog is about a month old and I have been doing my best to promote it through social media to grow my readership. Maybe this time next year I will be doing my own product reviews!

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  12. says

    I am loving these Blog Talk Tuesday posts. I totally hear you about not accepting samples from companies you don’t agree with, or you already know you don’t like the product.

    I have never even thought about making a media kit for my blog! What a great idea.

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  13. says

    I am really liking this series! Although I’m not a health or food blogger, a lot of these tips are universal and, as a new blogger, I really appreciate them. Thanks so much!

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  14. Diana says

    I love that you use blog talk tuesdays as a chance to post pics of Sadie. She is so cute! She makes the posts interesting for people(me, lol) who aren’t bloggers.

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  15. says

    Do you think I’ll ever be capable of holding a giveaway whilst having a tumblr blog? I have a lot of followers and I want to give back to them ha. I don’t really blog about food though just fitness :)!

    love love this series!

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  16. Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn says

    LOVE this. I get so many opportunities to review and most of the time I have to turn them down because well, they’re not that good!

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  17. says

    thanks for posting this girl!! I look forward to Blog Talk Tuesdays and it is great to know you started out a “normal” blogger like many of us and have grown into so much more!!

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  18. says

    I believe this is my first time commenting – I’ve been reading for a couple months now and these blog posts have been so helpful as I have been trying to decide weather to not begin one again.

    You’re awesome – thanks!

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  19. She Said G Said says

    I remember how I first discovered your blog was through another blogger (ginas skinny recipes) A group of bloggers had been invited to the Pom factory and Gina posted about her experience. I saw you and thought you looked like a fun hip blogger and here we are now your blog is my fav!!! Thanks Pom!

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  20. says

    Hi! I just discovered your blog and love what’s on here.

    This post just caught me at the perfect time. I was contacted my a organic fruit rollup company last week asking if I did product reviews. I’ve only been blogging for 8 months, and these tips were helpful!

    Alysha

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  21. Allison says

    Just wanted to say, that since I don’t have a blog and have no intention of starting one, I love that you include pictures of Sadie in these posts.

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  22. Heidi 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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  23. Shayla @ The Good Life says

    Great tips, thanks! I guess it never hurts to ask, right?!

    And love the Sadie pics, she’s such a cutie!! 🙂

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  24. Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled says

    Thanks for the tips. I feel like your posts always have such great information, especially for all us newbies out here. Love your blog!

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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. Samantha says

    Hi, I’m in the planning mode of starting a blog (I am a religious follower of yours) and I was wondering if getting permission from companies/hotels/etc. is needed when posting about them in general, not referring to any “freebies” or giveaways

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