How to Respond Negatively to PR's

There are so many posts about working with the public relations of different companies. My friend Jana even wrote this great post about pitching to brands you love yourself. A lot of bloggers love working with companies, but what happens when you receive a pitch that's just not your style, or maybe even feels a bit dishonest?

Don't Forget! 

1. Your blog is a billboard. 
Your post's are giant advertising space. Even if you never post reviews or talk about any products whatsoever, you have an audience that (hopefully) trusts your opinion. Companies know this and would love to use your space to bring them business/money. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you're both getting something of equal value out of the deal.

2. Readers come first.
I remember being afraid of offending companies in the beginning. But guess what? If you know that their concept/product/project won't be a good fit for your audience, saying no will save both of you time and money! Don't rip off your readers with poor quality sponsored content. Once you lose your credibility online, it's really hard to get it back.

3. Respond to every offer kindly.
Even if your answer is a firm no. Let them know exactly why the product or project won't work for your blog and do it in such a polite way that they wouldn't hesitate to contact you again in the future if an offer more appropriate for your content pops up. The business world is very connected and you never know who's chatting with who. Respond like a professional if you want to be taken seriously.

4. Update your Advertising/Pr page regularly.
Every blog should have a contact or advertising/pr page, even if you just want companies to leave you alone. Let them know that somewhere! This is also an excellent space to be clear about who you're willing to work with and under what circumstances. Short, simple & to the point.

I updated mine about a month ago and have gotten far fewer disappointing offers since.

Collaboration = Are you both getting something out of this?

Unfortunately, some PR's are less honest or direct than others. I've gotten e-mails where the representative tried to make me feel like he would be doing me a favor by letting me write up an entire post with photos and links back to their company website - like a sponsored post, but I'd be doing all the hardwork and advertising their company for free.

Sometimes these emails are so well written, you almost feel guilty saying no.

Just remember that in a positive business collaboration, both sides will feel like their getting something valuable out of the exchange. Always ask yourself, "What's in it for me? What's in it for them?" If you can't answer both of these questions clearly and quickly, you should be suspicious of the offer.

Sample Letters

Sometimes, it's really just best for everyone involved if you just say "No, thank you." Personally, I like to also be direct about why I'm rejecting the offer. This opens the way for more productive collaborations in the future. Feel free to use these letters as guides for your own responses or critique them in the comments so we can all learn to more efficient. :)

Sample #1
Hi Susan,

Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I will not be able to participate this time around, as I do not accept to review, promote, or link to any products that I have not had the opportunity to try out for myself. My reader's trust in my opinions is very important to me, and I cannot sell them a product when I am unsure of the quality. I hope you understand and wish you the best of luck with this project.


Sample #2

Hello Suzy,

Thank you for considering me. Unfortunately, reviewing the new Halo game would be incompatible with the theme of my blog. I write about beauty, lifestyle, and occasionally about motherhood. If a project comes up in the future that might be a better fit, I would love to discuss a collaboration with you!



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