Travel, Treats, Tips, & Traditions

Things I can’t feed my family…..bad PR Pitches

Posted on: by Kate


Sass and back talk always got me in trouble growing up.  It may get me in trouble now too. Here’s where I spend a little time ranting about bad pr pitches…..

So here is the thing….  I’ve had about enough of a paid employee of a very well known company (or even a paid employee of a brand new company that is just starting out) asking me to work for free.  You know what I am REALLY tired of though?  When that particular paid employee doesn’t just say flat out “We aren’t going to pay you.” because of course that is crazy.  Instead way too many emails come in with smoke and mirrors meant to distract me from the fact that they think I will work for free. That’s rude you guys.

So I have complied a list of ten things I have been ‘offered’ on multiple occasions that I cannot feed my family with. I have written this post mainly to get it off my chest, I know my blogger tribe feels me.  If I am sending this as a link to you – consider it back talk.  You have likely used one of the following tactics below in more than one email and I am tired of it.  Decide whether you consider my complete inability to accept ridiculousness as a strength and hire me, or let’s just end things here and now.  I have a family to feed and bills to pay just like you.  I have work to do and so do you.

10 things I have been offered that I can’t feed my family with….

1) Flattery –  This is the worst you guys.  And you all do it the same.  I’m not sure who in your Marketing 101 class told you “Hey guys, bloggers are just sitting around waiting to work for free as long as you give them some strokes.”  but they need to quit it.  I get the following email way too often…..

Dear Kate (or sometimes the name is wrong…. or sometimes it says “Insert name here” – I kid you not)

My name is (something Brittany-like) and I am with (enter company name here).  We love your blog.  We saw that you wrote an article about (something that relates to their topic) in this article (insert linked article from my site). We have complied a list of / infographic / article that we think would add great value for your readers. Feel free to use this content and please cite (company that is paying me but not you of course) as the source.



Dear Brittany ~

Yay!  Thank you for sending me promotional content and stroking my ego with your super unique and clearly written just for me email!  I LOVE sharing unsolicited non unique content on my site, that doesn’t cheapen it at all!  I have nothing in my blog queue and I don’t feel the least bit guilty ignoring my kids or paying clients to benefit a company that I have literally no relationship with!

A thousand thank yous!

No blogger ever


2) Sob Stories  – Look, if you are a for-profit company who benefits from the things that pull on my heart strings, I still know you are a for-profit company.  *Side eye at for-profit universities that are training tomorrow’s social workers as well as adoption agencies.*  I LOVE Adoption.  My heart bleeds for kids in foster care here and those in government care abroad. I all but beg friends and readers to share their adoption story on our blog.  I don’t pay them, they don’t pay me.  No links are shared (unless they are a blogger – then I am more than happy to share the link to their awesome blog) – the only person that would benefit *hopefully* would be children in crisis.  I provide this space on my blog and share it with my social channels because I want to make a difference.  My hope is that people will read these true stories and might consider adoption or fostering for their own family.  My hope is they might pray for and financially support children in crisis situations.  My hope is NOT to provide a for-profit school that has a social worker program or an adoption agency (which I know is a highly competitive market) free SEO.  I have lots of feels, but if you want advertising I have a reasonable rate for that.

Basically, I already donate a lot of my time, space, and money to causes I believe in.  And I absolutely will donate more in the future.  But you can’t expect me to work for free to make you more money on the back of something I feel strongly about.  Pay me to work, you know what I spend most of the money I make on? Charity.  Seriously, we live mostly on Harry’s income – a large portion of mine pays for causes we love.

3) Excuses – “We can’t pay you because we are a start up.” “Well, contact me when you aren’t a start up.” / “I can probably help you grow for a small fee.”

“Oh, we do not have paid blogger campaigns.”  “Are you sure, because *insert link of a sponsored blog post for their company* is disclosed as sponsored by your company.”

“We have used up our yearly budget for blogger marketing but -” “Lemme just stop you right there….. keep the rest of that email in drafts and send it to me when you can say ‘I have a marketing budget again’ because my mortgage company comes a callin’ every flippin’ month.”

I could go on…..but you get it right? No more excuses. My bank will literally take my house if I give them too many excuses and my kid’s tummies will grumble if I say “Eat your excuses kids!  That’s all we have for dinner tonight!” so I gots to work for money because that is a currency the bank and Vons takes.

4) High Res Images that promote your company – WHAT is this and why do you all offer it?!  Do you really not understand that the high res images of your luxury resort/child’s play thing/make up/ etc is literally nothing to me?  Now, if I worked for you, I would want a high res image to use in my post…. but high res images that aren’t for work and aren’t of my kids are useless to me.

Don’t believe me – print out a bunch and try to deposit them or send a couple in with your electric bill.  Lemme know how that shakes out.

5) An unsolicited press release with the suggestion that I will regurgitate it in my own words and then spread the word – Basically, you are asking me to write a book report.  Look, I didn’t like to write book reports as a student but I was required to for a grade.  I don’t like to write a book report without some sort of compensation now either.  I may want a press release about a hotel that was kind enough to host us.  But I pinky promise you, I will literally never read a press release, much less write about it unless you are paying me / I have asked for it. *delete delete delete*

6) A sample I need to return – You send me something, I keep it.  I’m not dragging myself to the post office, I’m not even putting the item in a prepaid package you send and putting it on my doorstep. Don’t email me asking me if you can send me something (camera, toy for the kids, clothing, etc) for me to sample and send back.  Enough said right? Like I don’t have to put into words why that is stupid right? OK, let’s just agree you stop doing that and we can move on.

7) A small sample I don’t need to return. I am not going to work for a sample product.  If I am unfamiliar with your product you can send me some and if I feel I can stand behind it we can talk about a sponsored campaign.  If I don’t stand behind it, don’t worry, all you are out is product; and in most cases – not very much of it.

Hot tip – the following scenarios will get you ignores from me……..

*A small food item that requires more ingredients to make a meal out of AND a request to share a recipe.  – So you want me to get in my car, drive to the store, buy other ingredients, put a recipe together, photograph it in just the right light, and then link your ketchup because you sent me a bottle? *based on true events*

*A sample that cost more to ship to me than it is worth.  Don’t send me ONE cereal bar/tube of toothpaste/snack size pack of chips in an overnight shipping label.  The only person that benefits there is the post office. Seriously, I am not waiting on pins and needles for your one cereal bar.  I’d rather you send me a gigantic box and mail it slowly than spend all that money overnighting one bar. *based on true events*

*Something that doesn’t align with our blog.  A company that sells pork rinds – PORK RINDS YOU GUYS not only offered but insisted that I take their pork rinds and that I use them in a recipe.  I told them 1) I am not sure how Pork Rinds fit with our audience and 2) I charge for recipe creations and recipe shares.  I politely declined, they insisted we would like them.  It was easier to give them my address than decline for the 3rd time.  Shocker – we hated their pork rinds.  Do your research people, or at least listen when I flat out tell you no. *based on true events*

I could go on – basically – I can’t pay bills with small products – I can eat products, but I am not working for a box of crackers or an assortment of salad dressing. Products make taxes even more tedious and annoying than they are already designed to be. My rates are reasonable and then I can buy your *fill in with whatever your product is* with some of that money.

8) Cross promotion –  Even if it is offered by a company that is larger than me it makes no sense to me and all the sense to the client.  In this scenario I create flattering content for a company and then they will retweet/facebook share that content that says something nice about them. They should do that anyway.  Are you suggesting you will flood my site with so much traffic (and of course it will be lasting traffic right?) that it would be worth it for me to spend hours creating a post? You must have a lot of traffic.

9) The opportunity to giveaway one of your products –  If I am giving something away I am linking and writing about how awesome the company is.  I am also using my time, server fees, and giveaway services I pay for.  It literally costs me tons of time and a little money to host a giveaway.

10) The suggestion that you *might* pay me later – “We typically use our blogger outreach challenges and now this contest, as a way of accessing whether we should make a higher level sponsorship with a blogger.” actual quote. I am not going to audition, especially not for a company that solicited me.

Here is my Media Kit – it tells you some of my numbers and how we can work together. Pitch me your budget or ask me my rates, but these bad pr pitches really have to stop. It’s really simple. My guess is you got up and went to work for your boss because you get a paycheck right?  So you totally understand.

*Steps off Soap Box*

Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: 8 Responses
  1. Elizabeth says:

    Bravo! Well said! When my dad worked on cars (for a living, 5-6 days a week, for a paycheck) he had “friends” who expected him to just spend his weekend at their house – away from his family, with his own tools, his own time, and his own muscle – fixing their cars. His response: no, you can bring it into my shop and pay my (very) reasonable rates during regular business hours like everyone else thank you very much.

    • kate says:

      My dad dad got a lot of that too! My husband and I are artists and I cannot tell you how many people have basically asked us to make their CHristmas presents for them – for no money…. people want portraits, cartoons, etc – they don’t ask as much anymore – but it used to be like clockwork – every early November, we would just tell them our rates and when it could be done by…. very few actually took us up on it (but they all thought we would do it ‘for fun’ – nope) 😉

  2. I hit reply with my fee schedule and requirements. They seldom hit reply.

    “Please try on these men’s clothes, tell us how they fit and what you did to make them fit well, and call UPS within 10 days to return the clothing to us. Please send the link to your review within seven days of receiving the items.” Well hey, great! I would LOVE to do this for you. Ohhhh yes, I’ll send you the link to the review. Remember – you asked for it. (True story.)

  3. Reichel says:

    Hilarious and so spot on! lol 😀

  4. Marissa says:

    Yaaaaaaassss! I’m so tired of those emails this time of year especially. Also, I’m tired of the ones that ask for follow links and no disclosure. Are they not familiar with online marketing laws?

Leave a Reply