Hello and Welcome!
Now you might be a little confused by the title. I’ve never had a title like this and I’ve never written a post like this but I need to get some things off of my chest and I feel like this open letter format is the best way for me to do it. This will probably end up turning into a series on my blog for when I feel the need to rant about things (I already have a ‘Dear Beauty Blogging Community’ post planned).
Before we get into this post I feel the need to put a disclaimer because I know that the title of this post alone will probably make people have certain feelings.
Disclaimer: This is, of course, not representative of all brands. I have worked with some incredible brands who have been nothing but respectful. However, for every good experience there have been probably a handful of encounters that have rubbed me the wrong way in one way or another. I would say it that I have a lot of patience, but for certain things (or when it happens many times), it starts to test my patience. This is not meant to be offensive to anyone and I’m sure I’ll revise this post 800 times to ensure that I don’t come off that way, but I just need to get this off of my chest!
So without further ado, let’s get into this post!
Whilst I love working with many of you, I have some issues and requests that I would like to address in this open letter.
My biggest request from you, which is very broad, is please do as you would like to be done to you, and I mean this in many different ways.
If you are sending an email to me, or any other blogger, please show interest in the blogger and blog that you’re hoping to work with. Don’t email someone calling them a fashion blogger, when they aren’t, don’t ask them to promote a product that doesn’t have anything to do with their blog – it shows you haven’t taken the time to look into what they, and their audience, are interested in. Please, more than anything, CALL THEM BY THEIR NAME. I understand you may be sending mass emails, which is why both of these things happen but please at least take the time to call them by their real name (you can make mail merges that will call people by their name). I’ve had emails calling me ‘multibendystraw’, or ‘multibendybeauty’, or recently ‘hi girl’. It’s extremely obvious that my name isn’t multibendy anything and my real name is written in my ‘about’ section of my blog, the bottom of every post, in my Instagram bio, and on my Twitter. It would take 30 seconds to find it.
If you were to receive an email from someone looking to work with you, and they called your brand by the wrong name, you wouldn’t want to work with them. Similarly if they said they loved your skincare products, but you only sold makeup, you wouldn’t want to work with them.
The respect should be a two-way street. When reaching out to brands we’re expected to show a huge amount of love for the brand, including personalised messages (and usually don’t even receive a reply back). Yet, the same can’t be said for brands emailing bloggers. Whilst this may not entirely put me off if I like the look of your product, it is discouraging and demoralising when we work so hard as bloggers and aren’t even emailed by name.
Additionally, another thing that takes 30 seconds, if you’ve worked with a blogger (either via a sponsored post or by sending them something to review), please follow them on social media and engage with the post. You wouldn’t expect a blogger to work with you and then not follow you, so why do the same. I’ve had multiple brands send me products to review, only for them to not even like the picture I put up on Instagram or reply to my email sending them my blog post. In fact, a brand that I have an affiliate discount code emailed me recently asking me if I wanted to try their product in exchange for a review. The same product that they’d already sent me. The same product that I have a discount code with them for. Please keep track of your bloggers and look after them so they feel valued!
In a similar regard of ‘do as you would like done to you’, I will not promote your product in exchange for nothing. Whilst this may seem selfish on the surface, I will explain in more detail as I feel this is a common problem all bloggers have.
I have received countless emails asking me to include products in posts without the brand sending me the product. Firstly, I won’t do this just on the basis of I am loyal to my audience. There’s no way I’m going to promote your product, and have one of my readers potentially buy it based on my post, when I haven’t ever even seen it in person. Secondly, along with the first point about emailing, I just think it’s disrespectful. The idea that ‘exposure’ is somehow payment is ludicrous (although sometimes ‘exposure’ isn’t even offered). Equally, a discount code for my followers to buy your product (that I’ve never tried) is not payment. Of course, I’m not always looking for payment, I’m happy to get the product you want me to review for free (or even just at a discount if I like the product enough). I’m just not going to write about a product without having tried it.
Please do not email me asking me to include your products only to inform me that you only send sample products to people who are the best fit for your brand – why did you contact me if I’m not a good fit for your brand? Similarly, because other bloggers have accepted your offer, doesn’t mean it’s a good offer and that should not be used as justification for trying to get me to work at promoting your products for free.
On the theme of payment, I will never, ever, do a sponsored post and not disclose it. I was initially excited when I received an email asking me to do a sponsored post, especially since I’ve never had a sponsored post on any platform. However, I was shocked when I was asked to not disclose it as sponsored. Whilst I can somewhat accept not being called my name, and I can politely decline being asked to review a product without having tried it myself, this one is unacceptable.
Not disclosing sponsorship is not only unethical, but illegal under consumer protection laws. Therefore, if you’re considering asking a blogger to do a sponsored post but not disclose the sponsorship then (firstly, don’t do that) please read these two CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) articles here and here. Also, for more information about what posts are ads and how to label them, please read this article from the CMA, CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice), and ASA (Advertising Standards Authority).
I am a strong believer in ‘treat others how you would like to be treated’ and I hope that you will treat bloggers with the respect that you would like to be given.
So this is the end of my letter to brands. Some of it is quite specific based on my personal experiences whilst some of it is more broad as, whilst I have experienced all of this, I know of others going through this too.
As I said at the beginning I have worked with a fair few fantastic brands who haven’t done anything that I mentioned in this letter. However, the majority of emails that I receive do unfortunately, for the most part, include something mentioned in the open letter. I’m not sure whether this is because I’m a small blogger, or whether it’s like this no matter how big or small you are. This post is not meant to be aggressive in any way (if it comes across that way it’s because I’m passionate), it’s just my personal experience and something that I felt the need to write.
If you’re a brand, or blogger, reading this and would like to discuss anything that I’ve mentioned further then please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the end of this post and whilst it may be entirely different to what I usually post, I hope that you enjoyed it nonetheless. Also I’d love to have a conversation about the things that I’ve mentioned so please leave a comment on this post with your thoughts. I’m especially interested to hear whether you’ve experienced some of this too!
My next post will be my first ever Christmas post and will be about beauty stocking fillers so look out for that and please make sure to follow my blog if you aren’t already, I’m really close to hitting my goal for this year but I’m running out of time.
Check out my previous posts!