|Source: Creative Commons ~ Nick Youngson, Alpha Stock Images|
From time to time I receive unsolicited approaches from PR people working for perfume brands, sometimes offering me product samples - often in expectation of a review - sometimes asking if I would feature a guest post by them (invariably on the most off-topic of products, far more so than my own thematic digressions on Bonkers, which is saying a lot ;)), and occasionally asking if I would enter into some kind of affiliate marketing arrangement, whereby I would link to a particular website of a perfume I had been reviewing, and if readers clicked on it - or actually bought the product! - I might be remunerated in some way.
Taking these overtures in turn, I have always insisted that I won't write perfume reviews as a quid pro quo for free stuff, and would rather not receive samples in the first place if I sense any pressure in that regard. For when I do feel moved to write a review of something it is because I have thought of my own slightly sideways angle to the subject matter.
Case in point:
"If you're interested in trying out the products, then I'd love to send you some samples to test and create a 'Christmas Gift Guide' with on your blog."
To which the only possible Bonkers reply was:
"I write about things I come across when the spirit moves me, so there is no guarantee I would feature them and if I did it wouldn't be in the form of anything like a Christmas Gift Guide."
And this, directly from a new perfume house, in an email entitled "I'd like to partner":
"Meantime, we would love to mail you demos and brochures of our recent products for you to evaluate if they fit in with your strategic plans."
I appreciated his conditional use of "if", but it was still a conditional response from me:
"Thank you for your inquiry. I don't have any strategic plans! I would be curious to try any scents you have available in very small samples quantities only, but I don't enter into partnerships or promise to review everything I have been sent. I have to like a fragrance and be inspired by some aspect to want to write a blog post about it. If you are still interested on that basis, let me know."
And here are some of the more unusual product review requests - I have called the woman in question "Rebecca" rather than her real name:
"This is Rebecca from ****. I’m writing to you to see if our best-selling products 82% Merino Wool Socks and 100% Egyptian Cotton Bath Towels can be featured in your 2021 holiday gift guide."
What's this obsession with gift guides?
"This is Rebecca from ****. I’m contacting you to see if you’d be interested in writing something about **** Carbon e-bike --- a full carbon e-bike known as one of the smartest e-bikes on the market."
This is Rebecca from ****, here. I’m very honored to introduce **** 100% Egyptian Cotton Bath Towel to you. Giza 86 (The top 10% of Long-staple Egyptian Cotton), 720 GSM, OEKO-TEX certified, super-thick and super-fluffy, **** Bath Towels encase you in a high-weight terry luxury that feels like you're lounging in a bathrobe waiting for room service."
Are you also getting the feeling that this may be one and the same Rebecca? She is really pushing those bath towels...And I must admit to being quite tempted by the idea of "high-weight terry luxury". ;)
As for guest posts on the blog, I have never had these in the 12+ years I've been going, for what I can only describe as curious Protestant work ethic reasons - I feel that as it is my blog, I should do all the work involved, though I realise this is an odd way to look at things, and that many of my fellow bloggers have several contributors on board.
Then as regards the affiliate marketing angle, I once dabbled very briefly in such a venture with Ormonde Jayne - it may have been longer, but it felt like all of five minutes, for no sooner had I set up the link in question, than there was a change of PR company and the link was promptly broken(!). I didn't earn a penny from that association - and given the low traffic volumes on here, may never have done, hehe.**
And so we come onto the most recent approach, from a US-based media company. The conversation went like this, where PRP = PR Person!
PRP: "I recently came across your website and noticed that you are linking to a similar page that (sic) one of our clients', and I'm wondering if you could add a link to an article for a reasonable fee?My marketing budget is what it is, but hopefully, we can agree on an amount of money that makes it worthwhile for you to take a few minutes to add one more link to the article." [The offer for "link insertion" was $30, with a similar amount on the table for a guest post - which I declined smartish.]
Also, keep in mind that after placing either an anchor or requesting a guest post, our team will always come back to follow up on our insertions' conditions. We will check if our anchors are still where we asked you to place them and are still do-follow tagged."