Blogger Manners Must: Responding To Unwanted Pitches & Invites

men and women looking shocked at mobile phone

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).

Why reply

  • “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

The Results:

  • 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

11 Responses

  1. Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com

    Totally- I’ve found ways to turn an annoying email into a win…many times the person contacting bloggers manages several brands, not just the one they’re reaching out to you about. I’ve been asked if I can post coupon codes (for free) and instead of getting offended (which I had some right to be) I turned that experience into a donation for my charity of choice… not bad, eh?

    Being polite even when you’re uber annoyed is the best way. When your blog picks up steam you get a lot of random requests, it’s easy to be frustrated but as you said- you never know where it can lead or what’s going on behind the scenes!

    I have a canned response now that I can use to cut down my response time and also still be polite without having a disruption day…it’s a win-win. Great post and so helpful!

  2. goodbadandfab

    The relationship between bloggers and PR companies can be greatly symbiotic. I appreciate their invites and pitches as they cultivate channels of information distribution. I personally prefer not to unsubscribe from any of their mailing lists. Even if their roster of clients are not relevant to my blog topics NOW, PR firms, like blogs are constantly growing so why eliminate the possibility of working with great fashion brands down the line?

    personal style and fashion musings of a LA fashion lawyer living life in the fab lane

  3. Gabby

    Not only Fashion Bloggers, but everybody should be polite a write a “no-thank you” note/email. I was once asked to collaborate with someone, but when I replied (that I was interested), I never heard from them again. Even when I tried to reach this person on Twitter, this person just completely ignored me, and that was mean. Since then, every time I decline I proporsal, I try to send them an email. Great article!

  4. Deborah

    Great post – this made me go straight to my inbox and send some polite no thank you’s – so thank you very much x

  5. Hayley

    I also like to point PRs in the direction of someone that might be able to work with them – I like to do this even if I am going to accept something, because it’s good to share some blog love! I don’t think anyone is going to say “sorry, we know all the blogs we ever want to deal with”!

  6. Krystal

    I’ve had brands that could possibly fit well into my blog content except they only want me to use their pictures and insert specific keywords. I tried to explain a product sample or review would be a more beneficial post, but they didn’t get the message. At that point, I had to tell them a polite “no thanks.”

  7. Troubles Mum

    Just today I got an email from a large brand wanting to work with me for some free clothing and some activities for my children. They wanted me to use pics of the children playing with the stuff on the blog. Instead of deleting it, I replied thanks but I don’t do pics of the kids because I write anonymously, so as much as I like the sound of their campaign, we couldn’t take part. I got an email back saying that, actually, they would still like to work with me and if I didn’t want to use my own pics, that’s fine but they would like me to do it, but without the pics if it made things easier for me. This was brilliant, and I am pleased to be part of their campaign – it wouldn’t have happened if I’d hit the delete button just because there was something in it that didn’t sit quite right with me. Completely agree with all of the above, and unlike many people I talk to online, I don’t have very many bad PR stories to tell.

  8. Joanne Mallon

    I think you make some valid points, although (respectfully) I am going to have to disagree with some of them.

    Yes an email only takes around a minute to reply to, but multiply that by 50+ per day and it becomes a big chunk of your time which I as a working mother just don’t have to play around with.

    You refer to fielding emails like a professional, but a professional journalist/writer is much more likely to simply delete irrelevant emails straight away, and only respond to those of interest. I see so many bloggers getting all heated up and angry with PRs who send irrelevant emails, when really the most straightforward thing to do would be to just delete and not think twice about it.

    I wish I had your faith that we could be removed from email lists on request. Sadly this is not the case in my experience. Contact lists get shared around PR firms and even if you get yourself off one, another three can still spring up in its place. Again, it’s what your delete button is there for.

    But I do agree that a personal message deserves the courtesy of a reply, and I always aim to do this. It’s all the other guys with the merge mail and the cut ‘n paste which I have (literally) no time for.

    • taylordavies

      You definitely make some good points Joanne. It can be really time-consuming when the numbers get really high. I’ve never had an issue getting myself removed from a mailing list, and while it’s a small step in de-cluttering my email inbox, it’s one that I’ve found to make a big difference over time. So yes, sometimes you just want to press delete and move on, but it can be depressing to just keep pressing delete over and over day after day until the end of time… haha! Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  9. Tamanisha John

    Great post! I just wished more bloggers thought this way ore read this post. I’ve emailed a few and never got any responses, no matter how many pitch advice videos or articles I read and their “how to contact” advice. I don’t even mind if their response was just rejection, but the lack of response makes me wonder…especially since I’m subscribed to them.