Blog Tips: How to Respond to Brand Inquiries / hellorigby! Seattle fashion and lifestyle blog

Blog Tips: How to Respond to Brand Email Inquiries

23rd January 2015

As bloggers, we’ve all received these. Sometimes 5 a day, sometimes none. You know what I’m talking about… the infamous, ambiguous brand email inquiry.

I remember the first email from a brand I got. I was so excited until I got to the bottom of the email, and there was still no mention of compensation. Not a free product sample, no gift card, and definitely no cash. You mean they want me to go out and buy, write about, photograph, and sell my readers their product for free? Of course I said no.

Blog Tips: How to Respond to Brand Inquiries / hellorigby! Seattle fashion and lifestyle blog

You know I post about brands all the time. I share what’s in my beauty bag, what my skincare routine is, and my outfits contain clothing from many different brands. Most of the time, these brands have no idea who I am. Sure, I get free products once in awhile, but the majority of the content here is sourced by my own research and shopping prowess.

Now, over a year after receiving that very first brand inquiry, I think I’ve finally gathered a few tips that might help you navigate how to respond to those brand emails instead of just hitting the archive button.

*Please note, the following are all real emails that I have received, but personal details have been modified to protect the offending (or awesome!) parties.

The Good Brand Emails That I Love To Get

Hi Jenn,

How are you? My name is Jane Doe and I’m the co-founder of XYZ Company. We’re just about to launch a new product, and I was wondering if I could send you one?

Let me know if you’re interested and I can have it shipped this week.

Thanks,
Jane

Why I Love These & How I Responded

They have no requirements, they just want you to try their product, love it, and share it in an organic way. I responded with my thanks (trying to hide my surprise for the simple request, I mean really!) and accepted the offer. When I posted about it, I sent her the post link. Now I recommend her company all the time and feel good about doing so.

The Ambiguous Emails I Don’t Love So Much

Hi Jenn,

My name is Jane and I own XYZ Company in Somewhere, USA. (Here she gives me more details about her company and what products and services they offer.)

Anyways I came across your blog and love it! I see that you offer advertising and would love to find out more. 

Could you please send me your advertising package? I’d love to work with you.
Jane

Why These Aren’t My Favorite & How I Respond

I don’t love these types of emails because there’s not much information to go off of. What type of advertising does she mean? Does she want me to try her product and post about it, or is this inquiry just trying to get me to post a link or banner type of ad? With these, they are so ambiguous and awkward to respond to.

My response went something like this:

Hi Jane,

Thanks so much for reaching out and your interest in my blog! I’d definitely be interested in speaking further about a collaboration.

Some of the past collaborations I have done have been in exchange for product or store credit, here is an example. I also offer sponsored posts, starting at (current rate) which means the entire post is dedicated to your products and services, 3-5 unique photographs, and social media promotion across all of my channels (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) the day of the post. Rates go up from there depending on further requests such as additional social promotion, videos, or multiple posts. This is an example of a sponsored post.

If you have any other ideas, I’m always open to new things as well, just let me know!

Thanks!
Jenn

The Ugly Emails I Absolutely Abhor

Hi Jenn,

Spring is finally here! The sun is shining and flowers are blooming, but here at Really Big Company we are finding ourselves most excited about one thing: the start of brunch season!

We’ve put together a few checklist items for the ultimate brunch event. Now we want to know what makes your perfect brunch. We’d love for you to create a post telling us your best brunch tip: whether it’s a recipe, an outfit, or just your own favorite must haves to make your brunch the best in town.

You can check out our post here: (URL here)

Please let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Happy brunching,
Jane Doe

Why I Hate These & How I Respond

The thing I hate about these types of inquiries is they are not totally transparent with you. They obviously want you to share their post (for free) in something you’ve crafted based on their guidelines about whatever post topic they’ve come up with, but they don’t say that, and they don’t mention anything about compensation. Sometimes they’ll also promise to feature you on their social media channels – but I wouldn’t count on it. A retweet should never be currency for the time and energy it takes to write a post like this.

My response generally goes like this:

Hi Jane,

Thanks so much for your inquiry! I absolutely love brunch, in fact I host one for my family every holiday. I’d love to work with you on a special brunch post, what does your marketing budget allow for a post like this?

Thanks!
Jenn

Generally, I will never hear back, or they’ll let me know they have no budget. Often they’ll promise social sharing or “good karma” (yes really) for your post. I either then archive it, or politely say thanks but no thanks.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. I know these replies won’t work in every case, but tailor them to what works for you. And if you ever have any questions about how to respond to an inquiry, feel free to comment here or send me an email. I’ll do my best to send suggestions your way!

How do you deal with ambiguous or not-so-awesome brand inquiries?


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Miami, Florida Beach Skyline and Water / hellorigby!

French Toast & Pirate Ducks: A Day in Miami

22nd January 2015

I thought about doing one large photo dump… but I thought I’d spare your computer the heart attack of loading my 500 photos and split it into two posts.

I’m really not posting 500 photos though, promise.

If you haven’t been around here in awhile, I was gone last week on a trip to Miami Beach Florida, then boarded a cruise ship to the Bahamas with my friend and fellow blogger, Sarah.

Miami, Florida Beach Skyline and Water / hellorigby!

Our two days in Miami kind of ended up being only one day… we took a red-eye to get there Friday night our time, and ended up in Miami Saturday afternoon. We got our rental car, almost got killed driving on their scary highways (honestly, Florida residents, do all people drive like maniacs there?!), drove around to not find any street parking near the hotel at all, dragging our bags like the tourists that we were from the parking garage a million blocks away, and arrived at our hotel. We then did a little shopping, got some food, took a nap, got some more food, then watched the Seahawks game. At some point, we fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 2pm the next day. Yeah, seriously.

Eleventh Street Diner, Miami - French Fried French Toast with Strawberries and Condensed Milk Syrup / hellorigby!

Then this happened. Holy yum. French fried french toast with strawberries and condensed milk syrup. Be still my heart, I happily ate the whole thing.

Miami Ride the Ducks Pirate Duck Tour / hellorigby!

Oh and then this happened too. In Seattle, we have Ride the Ducks, but I found that Miami had the “Pirate Duck Tours” which sounded much more festive. So we took that to see the sights, which was pretty fun honestly.
Continue reading


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Great Stirrup Cay Beach, Bahamas - Norwegian Cruise Line / hellorigby!

I’m Baaaaacckkk & an Amazon Giveaway

20th January 2015

Oh hi guys, long time no blog! It feels like I’ve been gone forever, but nope, just a week. I hope the gals that guest posted for me while I was gone kept you entertained in my absence and that you were able to find some great new blogs to read.

I’m not going to promise you magical things for this post, mostly because today was my first day back at work and I thought I was going to fall asleep by 11am. In case you are unaware, work starts for me at 10am. I wasn’t doing so well… then the coffee kicked in and I basically had ADD until it wore off around 4pm. So, that was fun.

Great Stirrup Cay Beach, Bahamas - Norwegian Cruise Line / hellorigby!

I’m still going through photos from the past week, but I will leave you with this gem from last week’s adventure. This shot was taken on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas. It was the home of a really special sunburn on the side of my leg (like seriously, the most bizarre location and shape ever. I think I accidentally rubbed the sunscreen off while it was still wet… so learn from my mistake!) as well as fabulous drinks in coconuts with monkey faces. Yeah, you’ll see what I mean in tomorrow’s post. (or Thursday’s… I may or may not have taken way too many photos!)

And on that note, let’s switch gears a bit, as I’m participating in a $50 Amazon Giveaway with some other great bloggers! Get yourself entered to win below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

Since I’m still in vacation mode, tell me, what has been your favorite vacation destination? Obviously I need to figure out where I’m traveling to next! ;)


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5 Ways to Entertain Your Dog / @oddlylovely for @hellorigby

5 Ways to Challenge Your Dog’s Bored Mind

19th January 2015

You know how much I love my dog, so when I found Cat’s blog, Oddly Lovely, I was smitten. She’s like a cooler version of me because not only does she share posts about controversial topics and her pets, she also creates recipes that look and sound far too good. Today she’s got some awesome dog boredom buster suggestions and ways to entertain your dog because really, there’s nothing better than a tired dog!


My dog Ru is my best friend. It’s funny, because I was really never a dog-person before she came along. Then I took a trip to “just visit” an animal shelter, and the moment we looked into each other’s eyes, it was all over. Now I am a crazy dog lady. Ru comes with me to the office, and she waits for me outside grocery stores and coffee shops. Together we got our Canine Good Citizen certificate and now we’re starting a nose-work class so we can try out container searches like bomb and drug sniffing dogs. She is so happy and smart and eager to please. It really makes me understand the expression “Lord, help me be the person my dog thinks I am.”

5 Ways to Entertain Your Dog / @oddlylovely for @hellorigby

In addition to exercise, the #1 thing most dogs lack is mental stimulation. Sure, they can hang out on the couch all day and stare at the wall for what seems like hours. But their boredom certainly contributes to the destruction of your shoes and the holes in the yard. Dogs are not children – they want to WORK. They love to be challenged and they love discipline. Find little ways you can turn your dog’s boring life into little puzzles, and they will thank you for it.

Here are my five favorite ways to mentally challenge my pup:

Turn meals into challenges with food toys

This is my absolute favorite way to keep Ru entertained when I’m busy at the office. Pick up some food toys like these Kong Geniuses, stuff them full of regular kibble (or stinky treats if your dog feels so-so about food), and let them puzzle out how to get the food out. In fact, you can feed your dog entire meals exclusively out of food toys, effectively turning a ten second activity into an hour long mental challenge. Other than the Kong Genius toys, Ru also loves the Tug-a-Jug and the Bob-A-Lot.

Take a training class or practice a new trick

Dogs love to work, especially when it ends with being praised and rewarded. Dedicate an hour a week to a training class, even if it’s something just fun like a tricks class. Your dog will learn how to puzzle through your commands while getting plenty of exclusive attention from you, plus it will promote bonding and remind your dog how to listen to commands in general. Check out your local animal shelter for affordable classes (I can take 6 weeks of classes for less than $100 through the Berkeley Humane Society!).

Teach them games like hide and seek

The other night I came home slightly tipsy, and Ru and I started playing hide and go seek. She’d sit on the couch and I would run and hide somewhere in the house. I’d whistle for her, and then try and jump out and scare her when she found me (trust me, this was hilarious when drunk). After a while, I decided to grab a bag of treats and instead of hiding myself, I began hiding little treats around the house. I would strongly give her the command “go to the couch,” then “wait.” I’d hide the treat, then say “go find it!” She had the idea in about ten minutes, then started listening where I was walking in the house to deduce where I was hiding the treats, haha.

Rotate out their toys

Ever notice that a brand new toy is exciting, but after a few weeks it’s forgotten? Just like kids, dogs often lose interest in objects that they’re used to seeing around the house. Even though Ru loved her stuff tiger when she first got it, now it’s mostly laid on the floor dejected. Instead, try putting the toys she’s lost interest in away in a closet for a few weeks, and give her new toys or ones she hasn’t seen in a while. A week or so later, swap the toys out again, always keeping fresh ones around the house.

Take them to run errands, to the dog park, etc.

One of the best things you can do for your dog is taking them to a lot of places so they can see and be introduced to a lot of new things. When possible, I bring Ru over to friends’ houses so she can learn how she’s supposed to behave in homes that aren’t ours. I bring her into pet-friendly stores like the bank and Paper Source. She loves how much attention she gets, and we have to work hard to remember our manners even around lots of unfamiliar people and new smells. A safe and friendly dog park (which mind you, does not describe all of them) is one of the absolute best places to teach your dog how to be polite around new pups.

How do you make sure your dog isn’t getting bored?


Be sure to check out Cat (and Ru!) at Oddly Lovely, and on Bloglovin’, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!


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Try The Trend: Gingham / @makinitwithmar for @hellorigby

Try the Trend :: Gingham

16th January 2015

Gingham is one of those things I’ve been thinking about adding to my wardrobe, but I don’t want to come off as too… well, Little House on the Prairie. Marissa of Makin’ It With Marissa has done the hard work for us and has picked out some great pieces for Spring 2015!

Hey there, everyone! My name is Marissa and I blog over at Makin’ it with Marissa, which is a life + style blog for 20-somethings and young professionals. I’m so excited to have teamed up with Jenn to bring you this fashion guest post, which is part of my “Try the Trend” series, in which I take a seemingly-scary trend and make it wearable for the average fashion consumer. Without further adieu, let’s get on with the good stuff!

If you’ve been paying attention to the fashion forecasts for spring 2015, you’ll have noticed that gingham. is. everywhere. Earlier this morning, I actually just stumbled across an article entitled “Gingham is the New Black” and, while I don’t think anything ever can – or will be – the new black, I definitely get the message loud and clear.

I’ll be the first to admit that gingham is not my favorite look, but we might as well make due with what the fashion Gods have given us, right? Here’s a quick guide as to how you can try the trend and take this look from the runway to the streets!

Try The Trend :: Gingham

Try The Trend: Gingham / @makinitwithmar for @hellorigby

{click here to shop this collection!}

+ Start small. // If you ever spot a trend you’d like, but you’re completely scared of it, the best way to get your toes wet is to incorporate an accessory. A headband, some jewelry, or even a handbag are always 100% safe options. My personal favorite way to rock a tough trend is through shoes: you can wear the craziest shoes in the world, but as long as you stick to a neutral outfit that you’re comfortable with, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up looking like a hot mess. (Jenn actually posted a great example of this recently with her fur vest!)

+ Keep it complimentary. // If you’re looking for more of a challenge, but aren’t truly ready to commit, a great way to try an adventurous trend is to incorporate one article of clothing into your outfit. This could be a scarf, a top, a skirt, some jeans, or what have you. The key in sporting this look is to make sure the rest of your outfit matches seamlessly, keeping the tones particularly neutral and within the realm of your comfort zone. Truthfully, it’s hard to go wrong with a patterned top and jeans, so there’s tons of room for pattern play if you’re going for a casual look!

+ Go full out. // Alright y’all, this version of the trend is not for the faint of heart! If you’re ready to look like you just stepped off the runways of New York Fashion Week, then look no further. I really think the key here is to be confident and keep things comfortable. A gingham dress? Go for it. A matching crop top + skirt? Super trendy right now. A winter coat? Girl, you’re killin’ it. Whatever you choose, just make it work! As long as you think you look great, then you do, right? ;)

Still not convinced that gingham is for you? Check out my Pinterest board for more wearable Gingham inspiration!


Marissa is not only stylish, but also shares great pieces from controversial posts about new fashion collabs, to blog planning and organization tips. Be sure to check her out over at Makin’ It With Marissa, and via Bloglovin’, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Alright, so lay it on me – gingham for Spring 2015 – yay or nay? Are any of these pieces going to land in your closet?


Follow Jenn: bloglovin / twitter / facebook / instagram / pinterest / g+ / youtube