Today I’ve partnered with Dangerous Lilly, Formidable Femme, and marvelous darling to create a multi-post guide to sex industry social media. Hopefully, through these guides, new and old companies can be educated on how to maneuver through marketing sexuality in a professional way.
Blogging is not only a way for writers to share their thoughts and opinions with readers but a way for companies to work with influencers in a niche market. Sex blogging is a very, very niche market, which has many benefits and drawbacks. On a positive note, the community is small and collaborative. However, the companies that frequent the sex toy industry aren’t always the best in both ethics and marketing. In 2016, our blogging community has witnessed many fuck ups on social media from these companies, including everything from unprofessional emails to “joke” tweets about sexual violence.
As a reader, you may be surprised to know that working with companies in the sexuality industry can be unnecessarily difficult. Us bloggers compare notes of ridiculous emails we get. Random companies request to be featured on our blogs, for us work for free, or even some that don’t provide us any information on why they’re reaching out. It’s incredibly frustrating, but it happens almost daily. As my part of this collaboration, I’ve crafted a guide for companies on how they can contact and communicate with bloggers. If you’re a fellow blogger (of any industry), this can be a post to link to companies when you are frustrated. If you are a company, listen up and get ready to start evaluating your outreach approach.
You’ve found a cool, badass blogger you want to work with! Great! Now what you’re going to want to do is take a look at their blog!! This might seem a bit obvious, but a surprising amount of companies don’t read blogger’s websites before contacting them. It’s frustrating when a company offers to send me a cock ring when I don’t review toys for penises. It says so right in my Policies and Disclosure section. Most bloggers will have a section on their website, like my Policies and Disclosure page, which are specifically for companies to read. This page is where you’ll find blogger specific conditions and information that will help your business determine if this blogger is a right fit for a partnership.
While you’re doing research, you’ll definitely want to check out what pronouns and nouns your blogger uses and identifies with. This not only shows that you respect them, but will also make your blogger/business bond even stronger.
If you want to go above and beyond, reading previous reviews is always helpful. It’s refreshing when a company has a basic understanding of what I like based on my past reviews and knows details about my preferences (colours, shape, size, etc.).
2. Choosing a Medium of Contact
After you’ve decided to reach out to a blogger, you need to assess which medium you’re planning on contacting them through. Bloggers usually have multiple platforms they use to engage with companies and followers, so the first inbox you see might seem like the best access point. This isn’t always the case, but it depends on the relationship your brand has with the blogger. It comes off as unprofessional if you contact a blogger, whom your brand has never interacted with, via direct message (DM) when their email address is clearly on their website.
- A blogger your brand hasn’t interacted with before – Email or Contact Form
- A blogger your brand is currently in a Twitter discussion with – Tweet to ask whether you can DM them*
- A blogger your brand has Tweeted at – Email or Contact Form
- A blogger your brand has interacted with multiple times – Email, Contact Form or DM
- A blogger your brand considers family – You’ll know what to do.
* If you do decide to tweet at a blogger to get in contact: be aware of your wording. Sending a message that says “We should work together, DM us,” is rude and lazy. It shows that you’re not interested in putting effort into the partnership. The only time it would be okay to tell a blogger to contact you, is if they were the person who initially tweeted interest. Examples of this would be: “Hey [Company]! I love the look of your new [sex toy], would love to try it out!” or “Looking to review some new toys. What company has dildos I haven’t tried?”
Email is always preferred to a direct message, so if you are uncertain of which medium to use, go with email. Unfortunately, most direct messages sex bloggers receive are from creepy cis-men, so you do not want your brand amongst those messages.
The majority of bloggers and writers out share the same trait of being introverted. Phone calls are usually out of the questions for us, unless we really trust you. Please do not ask to talk to us on the phone!
If you’re ever unsure of the preferred way to contact your blogger, just ask them. You can ask in a Tweet, Direct Message or Email. They will tell you what is best for them. If you end up establishing a long term relationship with a blogger, it doesn’t hurt to check in once a year to see if the preferred medium of contact is still okay to use.
3. Crafting your Message
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to contact your chosen blogger, you now have the clear to write your message! I’m not going to tell you how to write a professional email but here are some things your message should include:
- A Proper Salutation
- Address the blogger by their name that is found on their About section. Not their blog name, not a nickname, and not their name spelled incorrectly. Exceptions to this would be if the blogger does not identify with a name on their blog, then it would be acceptable to use the blog name in the salutation of the email. Use the proper pronouns and nouns of the blogger.
- An Introduction
- As much as sex bloggers are up-to-date on industry knowledge, there’s no possible way that we have heard of every company. Introduce yourself and the company you are writing on behalf of. Your introduction should include what your company does (i.e., curates porn, makes dildos) and where we can find more information (website & social accounts.)
- Clear Intent
- At this point in the email, you will want to be clear in what you are looking for from the blogger you are contacting. Are you asking them to join your affiliate program? Are you inquiring about sponsored posts or advertising? Be clear in what you are offering to the blogger. Very few bloggers will respond to an email that’s a complicated version of “Our company wants to work with you.” Let the blogger know why you are reaching out and what this partnership would mean for the blogger.
- A general tone of enthusiasm in your email can make a blogger’s day! If you’re excited about working with us, we’ll most likely be excited about working with you! This should also be prevalent in a negotiation of the partnership as well. We don’t want to feel like we’re pulling teeth to find an agreeable rate or offer.
Your email should present to the blogger why they should give their time writing back to your company. You as a business professional should be writing emails that follow these guidelines. It’s incredibly disrespectful if you do not, and word travels fast amongst our blogging community. Make changes if you see your company’s outreach efforts reflected in the negative examples in this post.
Treat your blogger as a fellow business and an influencer amongst your industry.