My inbox is constantly overflowing with press releases and invitations, while my postie and I are on better terms than I am with some of my mates. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where there’s always something new to write about and I always have the latest product to test, but with that comes the tricky decision of picking what to feature. Although some items and ideas are a no brainer, some take much more consideration; there’s often a fight for survival going on in my office – even if it is between a lip balm and and a body lotion. But from a brand point of view, how can you ensure you have the best chance of a feature possible? What are the key ways to guarantee a successful piece of outreach? There may not be a magic answer, but there are key things to avoid to prevent your product from being ignored or overlooked; here are the five main reasons I’m not writing about your product – and what you can do to fix it.

The opening email in any brand-blogger relationship is just as important as any first date. You have to make me feel comfortable in your presence, explain why you’re better than everyone else and show me some pretty pictures. I would say about 50% of the emails I receive on a daily basis are poorly constructed, don’t tell me what I need to know and make no effort to sell the product. I frequently have to ask for press releases or website links, while images copy and pasted into an email have less chance of being read than a copy of Knitter’s Weekly. Using that first opportunity to the best of your ability will pay dividends in the long run; it’s much easier to build on a great introductory email than to rectify a relationship that’s been ruined after the initial approach.

If there’s nothing new, innovative or different about this product then why would I feature it over something else? Is it just another face cream with the same qualities as 100 others, or is there genuinely a fabulous ingredient or awesome story I need to know about? Keeping the product benefits to yourself doesn’t work for anybody, so shout about them and ensure there’s a great story to tell. Even if you don’t have a story, creating one that links into current trends or future ingredient hype will work so much better than just chucking a pot in the post and hoping it will stick. 

My biggest bugbear by far is products that are just shoved in a jiffy bag and sent off to the post office. These parcels get thrown all over the shop and potentially travel the length of the country before they land on the recipient’s doorstep; if you’re sending a cardboard box it simply won’t make it. A little bit of tissue paper or bubble wrap can go a long, long way in helping to protect the product and ensure it makes it to me in one piece. Put simply, it could be the best product in the world – but if it arrives smashed, crushed or crumpled then it isn’t going on the blog. 

The beauty of the human race is the fact we’re all unique; none of us have the same skin needs, tone or texture, so our demands are going to differ. Taking the time out to look at my site, read my bio or simply stalk my Instagram selfies will give you a pretty good indication of the kind of products that will suit me; I can’t tell you the quantity of products designed for blonde hair, teenage spots or deep wrinkles that land on my doorstep. The same goes for foundation – mass sending out the shade ‘TOWIE Orange’ because that’s the only one left in the stock room is just a waste of my time and yours.

In the current climate of austerity, it’s incredibly hard to morally justify a product that’s over the £75.00 price point. Innovation within the beauty industry now makes it more possible than ever to buy a great skincare and beauty routine while on a budget, so there’s simply no need to spend a fortune on one single product. We all like to indulge now and again, plus there’s always your Christmas list to stockpile with beauty favourites, but realistically if it’s too much money (without any genuine reason) then I just don’t feel like I can recommend it. Some products are worth the investment, but when you’re paying for an LA-based doctor or a slightly expansive marketing department, it’s not on for me to be justifying it to my readers.

Are you a blogger who can relate to the main reasons I don’t write about a product? Are you a brand that struggles to get cut-through in your outreach and needs advice? Let me know in the comments below…

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  




  1. Laura Gale
    December 8, 2015 / 10:52 am

    I totally agree with all the points you make here, Hayley! As a fairly new blogger with a steadily growing following, I feel so lucky and privileged to even get noticed by some brands, let alone receive offers to work with them! However, my biggest pet-peeve is when PR's send out generic emails which skip over some of the most important introductory info. Personally, I'd like to know how you found me (was it even my blog to begin with?), what you make of my blog, why you think my blog is suited to your brand, what you expect from me if I choose to work with you, what your products USP is, etc. Laura | Lala London: Beauty & Lifestyle

  2. Charlotte Elizabeth
    December 8, 2015 / 10:52 am

    I LOVE THIS POST! It's so refreshing to see that it's not just me that thinks like that. Although I don't have a lot of gifted/sponsored posts, I still get emails asking me to review things that 1) I wouldn't use or 2)is nothing relating to my blog. Love your blog!Love Charlotte xo

  3. Courtney Williamson
    December 8, 2015 / 10:58 am

    Great post Hayley & makes valid and reasonable points. I don't understand how some people can promote something like a £150 face cream and then other days be about promoting budget skincare, it just doesn't fit in with their blog.– Pretty Mad Things .. xo

  4. Pam Scalfi
    December 8, 2015 / 12:12 pm

    haha Towie foundation is terrible. I get crappy emails too, they are so annoying and brands always expect so much for so little! Nope, not gonna work on me. Can't press the delete button fast enough :)Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  5. Jess | Just Jesss
    December 8, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    Great post! Really interesting to hear your views and I definitely feel you on the foundations – surely no-one is actually that colour!?Jess xohttp:/

  6. Elena Doinoff
    December 8, 2015 / 2:34 pm

    Well put 🙂 I should add to that – sending me SAMPLES. Come on, PR people, even if it's a full-size tube of the product, the tester/sample label can make me go nuts. Here in Bulgaria it's also not uncommon to receive actual tiny samples from PRs and they really expect you to feature them…

  7. Jaime/GirlLovesGloss
    December 8, 2015 / 3:43 pm

    Ah the foundation thing bugs me to no end! If you'd like me to review your newest foundation, send it in a shade I can wear (just ask!) I'm always amazed that it seems to be the really big, high end brands that do this too in my experience. The other massive thing for me is that I've been sent obviously expired products as well. Again from a couple of high end designer brands- foundation that has totally gone off, mascara so dry up the bristles are caked together and eyeliner that just crumbles when trying to swatch! They want our audience to know them, but can't take 5 minutes to get to know us and our shades/skin type/tastes?

  8. Ashley Elizabeth
    December 8, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    Completely agree with you on every single one of these.Ashley

  9. Catherine
    December 8, 2015 / 6:13 pm

    I'm definitely with you on some of these. The amounts of times I've just had products popped into a jiffy bag, even glass pots of moisturisers, for them to obviously arrive smashed to smithereens! I know PRs must be busy, but it only takes a minute to pop a bit of bubble wrap round and save your budget!Catherine | Lady Liquor

  10. Lauren Powers
    December 8, 2015 / 8:09 pm

    I don't do that many sponsored posts but some of the emails I receive are crazy, one sentenced email that isn't even in correct English asking me to write about something that doesn't even slightly relate to my blogLauren x |

  11. Gem flutterandsparkle
    December 8, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    Sadly all so true! My pet hates are the cut and paste emails that get my name wrong, or tell me something generic like how much they love my fashion blog posts (I have none), and the ones I get from US PRs who can't spot the glaringly obvious fact that I'm in the UK. Also totally with you on the ruined products stuffed into a jiffy bag – nobody wants a damaged, skanky looking product to photograph for their blog 🙁 Gem x | flutter and sparkle blog

  12. Abigail Alice
    December 9, 2015 / 7:45 am

    I agree with these! I'm also instantly put off by emails that are not professionally written. I know reaching out to a young blogger is not the same as reaching out to a CEO but spelling, grammar and coherent sentences are a must!Check out my Sephora giveaway!

  13. Humaira
    December 9, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Agree with everything you said. Still starting out in this new venture of mine, but honestly, it does not help you or the audience you want to target if you're sloppy. Well said!

  14. Manouk Maat
    December 9, 2015 / 1:48 pm

    Hahaha 'just as important as any first date', that was a funny one! You're right though. Some bloggers write about everything and anything, even when it doesn't really match the theme of their blog. Why would you write about curtains (sponsored obviously) if you've got a beauty blog. Doesn't make any

  15. Lena
    December 10, 2015 / 7:09 am

    I get some ridiculous emails wanting me to write about things like water bottles and I'm like….have you even looked at my blog?!

  16. Lauren Blonde-vision
    December 10, 2015 / 9:50 am

    I totally agree with these points. I find a lot of brand emails quite short and clearly mass emailed but puts me off straight away. It's like applying for a job! I completely admire bloggers who have integrity and turn down items that don't suit their blog. Lauren – Blonde Vision

  17. Miranda |
    December 10, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    Another huge pet peeve of mine is if a PR person has a ton of limitations or expectations for a certain post, when it's only a product sent for consideration vs. a sponsored post. ESPECIALLY if I know friends of mine are getting paid for a post and then suddenly they "run out of budget" if I send them my rates. "Exposure" doesn't pay my rent, I've tried!!

  18. Mrs Tubbs
    December 13, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    Agree with these completely. Price is key – I know my readers won't be doing hauls or buying expensive products as most of them are like me, parents with kids. Stuff for them comes out of whatever money is leftover after essentials and things for the kids are purchased. But they still want good beauty products. That are easily available. Products come from the high street or the supermarket. Online hauls and special trips to Selfridges aren't really a thing for them.

  19. Joanna White
    December 17, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    What a lovely piece. As a skincare brand, I try really hard to make each email personal to each blogger, and am now starting to build some lovely relationships that started from the reaching out initial email. It was encouraging to read your post, thank you. (Mallow + White)

  20. Arthur Wears
    December 18, 2015 / 3:53 pm

    Completely agree – emails where my name is not only cut any pasted in (different font, size and usually bold) at the start and somewhere in the middle – often calling me Arthur! My bio with my email info clearly gives my name and confirms that Arthur is my child lol. Having said that, it is nice when a company gets the intro email right and makes such a difference. Really interesting post,

  21. Blue
    December 20, 2015 / 8:44 pm

    From a new 'start up' brand (@tandhk) thank you! It has been difficult to know what to present and even who to contact and so we find your guidance extremely useful. Any further insights from you or other bloggers would be gratefully received. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply


Looking for Something?