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I receive emails featuring brand opportunities daily from people who want to “work with Keep the Tail Wagging” and I simply respond with “no thank you.” I used to send a detailed response explaining why I was turning down the opportunity, but then I began to wonder they even care. When you ask someone out, do you really want them to tell you everything about you that leads to a “no thanks?”
I thought it would be fun to share the reasons why I turn down most opportunities from brands along with the rare occasions when I say “yes.”
1 – I Don’t Accept Guest Posts
Although I make this clear in the footer of my website (and other areas), I get multiple emails daily asking me to host someone’s blog post. Last year, I buckled and said “yes,” and I was immediately reminded why I stopped accepting guest posts from strangers. People SUCK AT WRITING!!!
Before I publish someone else’s work on my website, I’m going to make sure that it strikes the right tone for my blog. I’ve received guests post that bashed raw feeding, posts that listed Frontline and Advantage as must-have food supplements for dogs, and I’ve received posts with links to porn and gambling websites (a Google no-no). Mostly, the posts I receive contain inaccurate information that is easily debunked with a Google search, but the author couldn’t be bothered to check their work.
And they don’t care!
I’ve reached out to writers to ask for a rewrite and they turn in work that is equally atrocious.
2 – I Write About Dogs, Not Makeup or Fitness or BlahBlahBlah
Many of the requests I receive are from people who somehow missed that my blog is about dogs. I’m sure that I’m on many “lists” that people are buying for the purpose of spamming with offers. Something that saves someone time (buying a list instead of curating your own) gives me a laugh.
I used to respond to emails by letting the brand know that I write about dogs and that only results in a back and forth on how their crappy products can be used on dogs too.
If a brand can’t be bothered to visit KeepTheTailWagging.com to learn what my blog is about isn’t someone I want to work with to help dogs.
3 – I’m a Woman, Not a Man
The emails that are definitely sent by a bot are the ones that ask to speak with the owner or manager of Keep the Tail Wagging or address me as “Sir,” “Dude,” or another moniker that identifies me as male.
I can’t see myself working with a brand that can’t be bothered to pop over to my About Page to get my name and learn about who they want to work with. How far does this level of laziness extend? To their products, sourcing, ingredients, production, etc? How many negative reviews have the brand racked up?
4 – We’re Not Just Racist, We’re Anti-Racist
There’s a saying that I began to read and hear a lot earlier this year, “Go Woke, Go Broke.” This referred to businesses that jumped into politics and social commentary and lost customers or went out of business shortly afterward. While I respect when brands take a brand – they’re made up of people too – I don’t take my social cues from brands (or celebrities). And it especially annoys me when brands reach out to me – a black, female blogger – to brag about how anti-racist they are or they try to relate with me on what they view as my experience as a black woman.
I write about dogs, my blog is about dogs, people follow me because they want to learn more about dogs. So send me a pitch about dogs – not how woke you are as a brand. I mean, it’s great that folks don’t want to be racist, but that’s not something I’m interested in writing about.
5 – I Make My Own Dog Food
I receive emails asking me to review food (raw, cooked, kibble, freeze-dried, dehydrated), dog treats, and supplements and I decline them all because I make my own dog food and I have a set of foods/supplements that I prefer for my pack. Brands don’t seem to get that some of us don’t like using our dogs as crash test dummies in exchange for free products. I’m very particular about what I feed to my dogs and most brands just don’t hold up.
And the people who promise that my dogs will experience the benefits of their supplement right away -well, they slay me. First, yeah, I may see a change in my dogs right away, I did with WINPRO Mobility, but I prefer to try a supplement for a few months for a property test to see if the supplement will continue to work my dogs (same with food and treats). If a brand can’t wait a few months for a proper review, this tells me that their supplements are crap and they know it.
I can say the same for food. My dogs will love it at first because it’s different, but it takes time for any sensitivities to present themselves and not many brands are willing to provide me with enough food for four big dogs that will last for three to four months.
6 – Reviews are Too Much Drama
In my experience, working with brands comes with rules – the main one is that they don’t want me to speak negatively about them or their product. That’s fine, but if I don’t like a food or supplement, I’m going to share my thoughts with my followers. So I prefer to pay for products and leave dealing with the brand out of it.
I don’t like anyone editing my work, giving me sentences and paragraphs that need to be added to the blog post, or asking to approve the blog post before it goes live. Basically, brands are paying pennies an hour for a task that takes days or weeks to complete. Bloggers are note-takers, product testers, photographers, writers, editors, and social media managers all for the low low price of a test product or sample bag of treats all the way up to hundreds of dollars that boil down to pennies per hour when you take into account how many hours went into doing a product review and sponsored post.
7- I’m a Crazy Dog Mom
And, finally, I don’t work with a lot of brands because there aren’t many out there that have the money to pay me for my time AND create quality products that I’d like to try with my dogs. And that’s okay because I prefer to focus my time on brands that I like and are regular visitors to my online and in-person shopping carts.
Sadly, there are a lot of people who call their foods, treats, and supplements “all-natural” when their products are the exact opposite. It’s disappointing when I ask a simple question and I can’t get a straight answer. One day, I realized that I couldn’t be bothered. It’s my blog, they’re my dogs, I don’t HAVE to work with random brands – so, now I say “no.” And the reason? Because I’m a crazy dog mom who is obsessive about my dogs’ health and diet and most of the brands out there don’t measure up.
Building an Online Business Isn't Easy
I've worked hard building Keep the Tail Wagging into a small business and impactful website and it hasn't been easy. I understand how important it is to get positive reviews from influencers – I tried to findpeople to review my first book and failed miserable. No one was interested in reviewing my book for free and I wasn't willing to pay anyone lest anyone accuse me of paying for positive reviews. It's a catch 22.
Although I understand what these businesses are trying to do, this doesn't mean that I'm going to allow them to use my blog to meet their goals. I love being a part of the dog lover community, but, y'all, the pet industry is shady AF, which is why I turn down 99% of brand opportunities.