Want to learn how you can use your blog to get free stuff? Keep reading!
There are a lot of reasons I love blogging! It’s a fun outlet for my creativity, I’ve made some great blogging friends, and the hours are flexible, just to name a few. However, one of my favorite things about blogging is the free stuff! I’m mean seriously, is there anybody that doesn’t like free stuff?
My very first freebie was a personalized grilling set from Texas Irons. I was super excited and so was my hubby since ultimately, the grilling set was for him. Then I got a FabFitFun subscription box.
I was still very new to blogging so both of these were a pretty big deal to me. Now, a year an a half later, I’ve realized that free stuff is a common perk for bloggers. It’s great for the blogger for obvious reasons but the company gets a deal too. They can promote a product through a blog post for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
In the beginning, I waited for people to come to me. However, over the last six months I’ve started reaching out to companies and have had a good bit of success. For example, before I started blogging, we just used one of our kitchen chairs at our computer. After I’d been blogging awhile, I realized that if I were going to be sitting at my computer for so long, I needed a much more comfortable chair. I decided to research companies that sold ergonomic chairs.
My best friend Google pulled up a list of companies for me and went from there. I emailed about 8 different companies, explained who I was and asked if they’d like to collaborate. I even e-mailed a company that made VERY expensive chairs because I figured the worst that could happen was that they’d say no. They actually e-mailed me back and said they’d be willing to give me a 25% discount but I declined. Their chairs would still be way out of my budget even with a discount. There were also several other companies that just didn’t respond at all.
However, a couple days later, I opened my e-mail to find a positive response from one of the companies I’d contacted. They agreed to send me an ergonomic chair in exchange for reviewing it on my blog. I am am super happy with my chair (SO comfy) and they were happy with my blog post so it was a win/win all around.
More Free Stuff
I also got an unexpected response from my e-mail. One company responded and told me that since they were just a reseller of chairs they couldn’t help me. However, their main business was selling desks and they asked if I’d like to review one of their desks instead. I’d been working at a tiny computer table and these desks were really amazing so I jumped at the chance. Again, it was a win/win (and my new desk is so awesome)!
Another time, my girls volunteered (okay, I volunteered them) to be models for a photography class in exchange for photos. The photographer suggested coordinating outfits, so I went straight to Etsy. I found the prettiest dresses I could and collaborated with the Etsy store. We received the dresses free in return for featuring pictures of my girls wearing them.
About a month later, I somehow managed to convince my hubby that I needed to visit his family in London (the wine probably helped). When I travel, I always try to see as much as possible but that can add up fast, especially if you’re on a budget. I started e-mailing attractions in London to see if anyone wanted to collaborate. While I never scored the theater tickets I wanted, I did get a ticket to ride The London Eye (and skip the line), I took a Big Bus tour and got four tickets to go on the Harry Potter Studio Tour with my sister-in-law and two nephews.
You also never know when people might just randomly reach out to you. I was excited to get all the great things above, but when Disney e-mailed me last month asking if I’d like to bring my family to visit for a few days and check out their newest attractions, I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind! We are HUGE Disney fans and I’m pretty sure I was the first blogger to RSVP. While I’m not sure exactly how I got selected, this is just another example of how you can get some really great free things as a blogger.
Composing Your E-mail
When you’re choosing the companies you want to work with, try to find the person who’s in charge of public or media relations. If you can’t find that person, find the most appropriate person to send it to.
I start by introducing myself, telling them a little about my blog and the topics I write about. I also let them know about my audience because they’re going to want to know that my audience will be interested in their product. Next, I ask if they would be interested in collaborating. I explain that I’d love to review their product and tell them what they’d get in return. In my case, they get a blog post featuring their product, as well as promotion on all my social media.
I also like to mention my numbers but I check theirs first. I have over 35,000 followers on social media, which I’ll usually share with the company I’m approaching. However, if they have significantly more than that, my numbers might not look so good to them so I may leave them out. I end it by inviting them to check out my blog and if they are interested, to please feel free to contact me.
What To Expect
Don’t expect to get return e-mails from everyone. If you’re a blogger, you already know that some people have no idea what we do and they’re not likely to respond. Other companies may get so many requests that they can’t possibly respond to them all. You may hear back from several people or you may not hear back from anyone. I must have e-mailed about 15 people for London theater tickets and I only got one response, declining my request. However, when you do hear back, it makes it all worth it!
Be picky about what you accept for free. All of the products I’ve accepted are things that I really wanted and also felt confident that they’d be worth reviewing. The last thing you want is to accept a not-so-great product and then feel like you have to give it a good review. Never agree to collaborate just to get something for free. If you promote products that you don’t stand behind, eventually your audience will catch on and you’ll lose their trust. However, if it’s something you’re sincerely interested in and know you’re going to love, go for it!
What cool things have you gotten as a blogger? What would you most like to get?
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