This is not to say that you have to be snobbish either. Instead, this is a simple reminder that you have to take good care of the credibility of your blog that you have worked so hard to build. Thankfully, I haven't had weird or ridiculous emails from brands or PR companies. But in case you do, use these guidelines I follow to be able to assess if a particular offer is good for your blog or not:
Check Their Website
Most companies that reach out to you via e-mail will leave their URL for you to check out. This is great because you not only get a chance to know what products and/or services they have, but also use this opportunity to assess the quality and credibility of the company itself. As bloggers, we like to put our best foot forward by enhancing the look and theme of our blog. After all, it is a visual representation of you, as a blogger! The same goes with online companies or brands. You can assess their quality and credibility based on their website.
This is not to say that companies with less than impressive looking websites are not credible or honest. However, if you find that the website is shady, has spammy content or do not provide contact information, you need to be wary. The least you want to do is promote a fraud company on your blog. You would not want to be associated with them.
Keep it Niche-Related
This is a very simple guideline to remember: you have to stick to your blog's niche when working with companies or brands. Ask yourself these questions:
Will I consider writing about this topic even without this company contacting me?
Is this product or company something my readers will be really interested in?
Will I be using these products myself?
The whole idea is it should reflect your personal interests, as well as that of your readers. If not, then there is no point in writing that sponsored post in the first place. It will no doubt stick out as a sore thumb.
Staying Control of Your Blog
There are instances wherein a PR opportunity is too good to resist. A company with products or services that you think will be in line with your blog's niche offers you a really good price. However, the company wants to bombard your post with links and keywords. It's no good for your SEO. Even if they pay you a good amount of money in exchange for the post, the long term drawbacks on your blog's SEO performance can be worth more.
Do not fall for the bait. Set your own rules when working with companies on sponsored posts. Remind them that it is your blog and you make the rules. You are doing them a favor, not vice versa.
How do you evaluate offers from online brands or PR companies?