Just yesterday I received an email pitch from a small company that sells matching apparel specifically for babies and dogs. For some, like mothers or pet-owners (and most especially those who are both) this is a cute, novel concept. For a single style blogger in Manhattan who can't keep a goldfish alive – the pitch didn't resonate.
When this happens to bloggers our gut reaction is usually “Delete!” with a self-satisfied click and eye-roll as if to say, “How dare this person email me when clearly they have no idea what my blog is actually about.”
Fair enough, but before you trash that email and move onto the next, consider an alternative strategy. Deleting an unwanted email only gets you so far in tackling your overflowing inbox. You'll probably get another next week, and the week after that…
For many reasons, you, your blog and your inbox can benefit from a quick, polite response (or a tactful unsubscribe).
- “I'm too busy” is an excuse used by lazy, inconsiderate people. Writing a reply like this will take between 30 seconds and two minutes – tops! (We all pull the “too busy” card – and it's time to stop!)
- As inundated as you may be with pitches, invites and press releases, don't forget about the days before you received any of these kinds of emails. We're fortunate to be in this business, and fortunate that brands and PR firms want to work with us! Being gracious and thankful will always get you far.
- Treating your blog like a business means fielding your emails like a professional. It's important to establish yourself as a smart and cordial person even when composing a rejection or refusal – just like you would at your job.
- Quite simply, you never know. Whether it's in regards to the sender of the email or the company it came from, who's to say what may happen or where this person may end up, what might happen to this company, etc.
- Responding and saying, “No, thank you” will prevent future headaches caused by the continual flood of irrelevant emails.
- People talk; best to give them only lovely things to say.
Who To Respond To
- Large PR firms who represent multiple brands and/or retailers.
- Anyone who addresses you by name (and spells it right)!
- Anyone who indicates within the first few sentences that they have actually read your blog.
- RSVP to anyone even if you can't attend an event (for any reason).
- *If you receive press releases with no salutation that are irrelevant to your content, look for that little, tiny “unsubscribe” hyperlink at the bottom of the message. (No need to respond personally here.)
What to say
- If you're not interested in this particular pitch or invite, but want to maintain contact for the future:
- Hi so-and-so, Thank you so much for thinking of me for Project X. Unfortunately I don't think this is a good fit for me at the moment, but please keep me in mind for future projects and events. I'd love to work with you another time. Best, Blogger Z
- Hi so-and-so, Thank you for inviting me to Event X. Unfortunately, I don't cover topic X on my blog
- The more specific you are in your response about what you are and are not looking for, the more likely it is that you'll receive less unwanted emails and more worthwhile pitches you might actually consider.
- If you're not interested in further emails or pitches from this company:
- Hi so-and-so, Thank you so much for getting in touch. I don't cover topic X or Y on my blog. Please remove me from your mailing list. Best, Blogger Z
- If you reply with the polite “no thank you but keep me in mind” email, nine times out of ten you will get an equally polite and appreciative response. Now this company knows you're professional and kind, and they'll stop wasting their time and yours on irrelevant pitches – and hopefully have something more practical for you down the line.
- If you reply with the polite “thank you but please stop” email, again, nine times out of ten you'll get a polite “thank you for letting us know” response, and poof – no more unnecessary pitches from Company X!
- If you unsubscribe – poof – no more emails from this address. Ever.
- Making these little efforts will clean up your inbox, filter the amount of junk mail you receive and in the long run, free up time to respond to the emails that matter!
For the record, I replied to the company with the dog and baby apparel, told them politely that I had neither a dog nor a baby, but thank you for thinking of me. They responded immediately with a brief apology and thanked me for letting them know. Done and done. And hey – if I ever have a bun in the oven and a little Fifi on my lap – I'll still have a contact when I want to get them matching onesies.