I’ve Had It — My New Rules for Unsolicited Email Pitches

by Dagmar Bleasdale on September 19, 2012

This is an email I received this morning:

“Message:
I sent you my proposal some days ago, but you did not response me. Ok, no problem forget all previous matter, We want you to publish a post in your site related to exams or certification in which you are required to add our site link which is “www.xxxx“. We will be paid $30 for one post. If you are interested then please let me know because we start to work on it as soon as possible. We will hope to get positive response
from your site.”

with best regards,
Emma”

I don’t even know where to start. And I won’t. It’s not worth my time to dissect this email — it’s obvious what’s wrong with it, on so many levels.

You would think that by now brands and PR and marketing people have had an earful of bloggers complaining about the ridiculous — and frankly insulting — pitches that are flooding our email inboxes.

Every day, I spend an average of an hour or more going through emails sent from marketing and PR firms, and small businesses. After I initially always responded with “I’m completely booked, but thank you for thinking of me,” I have decided that I simply don’t have time for that anymore.

I don’t have an assistant I can delegate responding to emails to — because even having to explain what I need the assistant to do would take too long.

Enough is enough.

I’m not a product review or giveaway blog — I do them only for my readers’ enjoyment if I think the product or service that is being offered would be of value to them.

I have said it before: I’d be happy to never write another review or giveaway — they are extra work for me. And I might get to the point where I don’t offer them anymore if I don’t feel that enough readers respond to them with interest.

I’m also not a news outlet that has to fill pages — I’m not interested in doing your work and writing a post about your latest product! No, I don’t have time to mention it! Why should my readers suffer through news releases of unrelated stuff? Because that’s what it is, always, info about totally unrelated things that have nothing to do with my blog.

My new rules about how I handle unsolicited emails:

  • If you don’t hear back from me, be assured that I read your email but that I’m not interested in exchanging links or writing a blog post for you for $10. I’m also not going to promote the beef council, fruit juice full of dyes, or the next Wii game — you should know that I’m a vegetarian, avoid food dyes and other unhealthy food, and detest video games.
  • Do NOT write me another email making sure I got the first one — I got it and am not interested, but telling you that will eat away another three minutes of my already limited time.
  • If I have never heard of you before, I will unsubscribe from ever getting another email from you if there is such a link in your email — if not, I will mark you as spam.
  • If your email starts with “For Immediate Release,” I won’t bother reading it and hit “spam” instead. I did not ask to be contacted by you, and I also did not ask to be put on a media list that someone sold you. I have plenty of my own content I want to post if I could just find the time — and your irrelevant email is not helping!

It’s very simple: unless you are interested in paying me for my blogging work or social media consulting, or want to advertise on Dagmar’s momsense, please don’t contact me.

Amy from Mom Spark wrote a related post just a few days ago: Bloggers Don’t Want Cars, They Want Respect.

Yes, more respect would be appreciated. If you are seriously coming across bloggers who want a car, you are working with the wrong bloggers. We work for much less, but we want to be compensated for our influence we’ve worked very hard to build and the expertise we have to offer.

How do you handle the many unsolicited emails with unrelated pitches cluttering your inbox?

{source}

Like this? Then share it with a simple click!

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

jennifer@coffeeandcouch October 23, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Hi Dagmar,

Just caught this post via your Twitter. The second I saw “We hope for positive response”, it reminded me of the endless stream of emails I get from international suppliers wanting to sell me everything on the planet, because I sell home decor products. I’ve gotten to the point that I delete without even opening the emails.

It’s time for marketing departments to WAKE UP, and stop ticking off the very people they need. Good luck with your new rules, they sound quite reasonable :)

Reply

Debbie Gartner - The Flooring Girl September 25, 2012 at 3:20 PM

LOL Dagmar, you are so funny. Oh, I find these really annoying too…and even worse when they can’t write well.

I’ve gotten a few requests as well, but not nearly as many as you (I’m sure). I don’t even have time to read my email anymore (and I now hired an asst to help with this and we are trying to figure out ways to screen out the junk emails).

I prob. have more requests then I know abt…I just don’t have time to read/open them. We only read the ones related to flooring requests. (and thankfully, we get a lot of those).

Reply

Gina B September 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM

I just asked a group I’m on about this and etiquette, and was firmly told it’s ok to delete. Thank God! I am a product review blog, partially, but all my products have a theme and fit my target, and I have certain “no no’s” on top of that to reduce low quality links. I *also* get tons of unsolicited guest post “with a link!” requests, and plain old, “Can you share this?” from people who do not even take the time to learn my name. “Hi blogger” is now going to delete or spam – or both. You’re right – there’s not enough time in the day to deal with tis!

Reply

Dagmar September 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Thanks for your comment, Gina! Great to hear from you. How is the gluten-free diet coming along?

Reply

Gina B September 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Thanks for asking! We are struggling a bit – removing GMOs and preservatives too, and school keeps asking for snacks, but we’re managing! But I sure am tired of cooking, lol

Reply

Janis at MommyBlogExpert September 24, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I arrived here after getting the same stupid email today. I’m sick of it too and I couldn’t agree with you more because I’m getting 1000 emails a day now and all this email noise is preventing me from spending more time doing what I love most: to blog. Congrats on taking a firm stance on this — I hope your post inspires the rest of us to also speak up about the proper ways PR and brands should be working with us. I also hope it gets the word out to PR and brands to do their homework before wasting our time pitching us!

Reply

Dagmar September 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Thanks for your comment, Janis! Same here — I don’t have time to do my work (social media and blogging)!

Very interesting to me that a lot of bloggers are mentioning that they are getting a lot more spam since BlogHer12. Hmm… I got a lot before already and didn’t put that together. And I know it can’t be just me having thrown my card in a fish bowl and companies getting my email that way — I only went to the Expo Hall for an hour and was very selective about who I gave my card. If BlogHer ever asks me again if it’s okay that companies contact me, I’ll make sure to say no way, even if I might miss out on a great opportunity.

I hope my email today and this post opens up the dialogue, and I would love it if more bloggers speak up. Since when did it become okay to spam bloggers with unsolicited emails? I will contact whoever “I” am interested in working with, no need to email me.

Thanks again.

Reply

Janis at MommyBlogExpert September 25, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Thx for your thoughtful response. It’s so true: the spam since BlogHer 12 has been unparalleled to past years. Have you noticed that from other conferences as well? I know I have. Like you, I only had time to spend a few hrs in the BlogHer NY Expo Hall and was very careful about giving my contact info out. Wondering what you think about this: Should there be a place where we can all “air out” these spam mails we’re all getting complete with the brands and names involved? That might get the offending PR pitchers attention, LOL.

Reply

Dagmar September 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM

I don’t know about that – I already got flack for leaving that woman’s email on my email response! Really? We all knew who had sent it! And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who sent her a response to her email. It’s not like I made her name public on my blog or social media — I wouldn’t do that. But I might have an idea — probably going to blog about it :)

Reply

Sarah September 24, 2012 at 8:08 PM

I just came to this post from the ridiculous spam e-mail we both received today. Bravo for the response you wrote and shared. This issue has only been occurring for me since BlogHer. I have a very specific niche I cover on my blog, so 95% of these unsolicited inquiries are completely a waste of time.

Reply

Dagmar September 24, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Thanks for your comment, Sarah! So interesting to me that a lot of bloggers are mentioning that they are getting a lot more spam since BlogHer12. Hmm… I got a lot before already and didn’t put that together. And I know it can’t be just me having thrown my card in a fish bowl and companies getting my email that way — I only went to the Expo Hall for an hour and was very selective about who I gave my card.

Reply

melissa at filling our bucket September 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

I am new to your blog, thanks to being on that giant email from Janell (whoever she is!!) today. I just wanted to tell you that I think you are awesome. :)

Reply

Dagmar September 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM

Thanks for your comment :) Maybe we can all come up with a way to get rid of those unsolicited pitches.

Reply

Chelsey The Paper Mama September 24, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Ugh. I’ve received about 10 a DAY since BlogHer. My favorite is reveiwing a muscle magazine… totally fits in with my readers.

Reply

Dagmar September 24, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Ha! :) I love the requests to blog about anything concerning meat, sex toys, and the like.

Reply

Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly September 22, 2012 at 4:02 AM

Years ago when I first started, someone advised to just auto reply with your Media Kit, this way they fully understood your policies, and if they came back to you again, they were serious and meant business! I was at first very doubtful about doing that, but I’ve begun doing it this year, and it’s actually very sound advice, it is slowly but surely helping me to knock down my inbox. While I still have over 5,000 un-read emails in my blog email account because of my insane schedule, this technique is starting improve the quality of what comes back after sending out the Media Kit.

Reply

Dagmar September 23, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Thanks for that tip, Tracy! I guess I need to figure how to set up an auto-reply email template :)

Reply

Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly September 24, 2012 at 3:56 AM

It’s not automated, I still have to ‘sort’ through the emails, but usually the subject or the first sentence is enough to know if I need to hit reply and the text of the email is already in a word macro so I just copy it and paste it into the email and then attach the media kit as mine is more than one page so it’s a full blown attachment. I literally just have to copy and paste the person’s name as the ‘Dear’ part is already in the word macro as well! :)

Reply

Marcie Mom September 20, 2012 at 10:51 PM

I’m not that famous to have to plough through emails but there’s some bad experience with not being paid or having time wasted to write the Qs but no As from the sponsor.

I’m glad that I’ve removed my ‘Featured Business’ page because I don’t want to feature business in the way I used to do – which is blog post (meaning I got to read up, come up with the Qs, wait for the As), including them on my featured guests and preparing the banner. Now I take pure advertising but I won’t spend any effort in blog posting (which was FOC).

Advertisers should really respect bloggers’ time, esp. as good bloggers take their blog seriously, not just anyhow write something just to create links!

Reply

Imie September 20, 2012 at 9:09 AM

I totally get what you are feeling. What gets me going is how impolite such e-mails can be; they make it sound like you “owe” them something.

I was going to suggest a form letter/template you can easily fire off but even that takes time:)

Reply

Calley September 19, 2012 at 11:57 PM

I spend SO much time deleting emails. I decided if it sat for more than a few days without me reading it I delete it and move on! If it’s something that interests me slightly I save it for a rainy day when I have time to respond – maybe. If it’s something that I love I usually respond within a day or two…hopefully! It’s so overwhelming!!

Reply

rhonda hurwitz September 19, 2012 at 11:36 PM

hey dagmar,

like your post … like all marketing, there has to be a good fit between the brand and the target (in this case, the blogger). Doesn’t seem like a hard concept!

RHonda

Reply

Annie @ PhD in Parenting September 19, 2012 at 2:21 PM

I’m with you and am even considering going a step beyond. I’m trying to find a free way to auto-harvest e-mail addresses from a gmail tag to create a mailing list to spam the spammers — i.e. To send them regular ‘immediate release’ e-mails about new blog posts or other interesting developments on my blog.

Reply

Dagmar September 19, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Ha, Annie, I love it! :) Thanks for your comment. You must be totally inundated with emails.

Reply

Deb Chase September 19, 2012 at 2:20 PM

I too have to plow through strange and badly written emails, most of whom barely relate to my blog. But like many of my blogger buddies, I had hopes of opening a dialog that would leave to a working relationship that would benefit both of us. But at the recent BLogHer conference in NYC, the panel on working with brands made the situation perfectly clear. THe only thing that PR people are authorized to provide are samples, not ad buys or spokesperson fees. Their budget is for their PR services and for postage to send out their samples. They don’t seem to realize that neither American Express nor a landlord will accept a trunk of samples as payment. The BLogHer panel was not all bad news suggesting that the marketing departments have a budget to work with bloggers. I tried that approach and things to definately now seem to be working out better with the brands.

Reply

Dagmar September 19, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Hi Deb,

I sat in on that BlogHer session as well and heard the same info! Good info to have. For my purpose, I don’t need any PR people to contact me — I very rarely am interested in what they have to offer.

Reply

PragmaticMom September 19, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Amen to your post! I totally agree. We work sooo hard to build our audience and PR firms seem to think we are a tool that will post on their client’s latest product or service for free in exchange for a giveaway. They seem to think blogs are like newspapers or magazines but the difference is that publications PAY their editorial and writing staff. We don’t get paid for creating the vast majority of our content. It’s fine because it’s the stuff we love and care about. But if you want me to blog outside my focus to benefit your client, then you should pay. Thank you for articulating so clearly how we all feel!

Reply

Andrea @Mama in the City September 19, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Yes!! I totally agree with you!!
Recently a big company emailed me about trying out a new bottle. I was very impressed as they actually skimmed/read my blog and knew that I exclusively was breastfeeding my daughter and she wasn’t taking bottles. So, they threw that piece into the pitch and offered me a bunch of sippy cups in lieu of the bottle they were pitching. I appreciated the personalization.

Reply

Holy Stranger September 27, 2012 at 8:21 AM

You’ve shared a great list of “do not email me” rules Dagmar! The problem is, that most of those “marketers” and SEO’s didn’t really bother reading your blog posts.
I am not sure they will ever be reading your rules when sending you an email – in fact some emails of this kind are sent by robots.
If you do not want to waste your time separating good mail from junk mail – try out EmailTray – it’s a free email client which sorts your mail based on your email habits and sender priorities.

If you do decide to use it – let us know if it works for you and cuts your email overload. For me, it saves a whole lot of time daily!

Reply

Dagmar September 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Hi Holy, I’m going to look into that, thank you!

Reply

NYC Single Mom September 29, 2012 at 7:07 AM

love your post. I used to just hit delete but have slowly been sending my media kit with polite (template) if you want to work together emails in the hopes that the message gets through that if we are going to work together, lets discuss compensation.

Reply

Dagmar Bleasdale September 29, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Hi there, thanks for your comment! I hope that by responding with our rates, we will slowly change these emails into income opportunities :) Great job at the fashion show!

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: