Of course, there are never any guarantees. But speaking from my own experience (as both a t-shirt blogger and a t-shirt entrepeneur), here are some things to keep in mind when you get in touch with a t-shirt blog about your own awesome t-shirt designs:
1) Most of us don’t get paid for this.
We do it for fun! We can’t review everything, and we can’t like everything. There are a lot of t-shirt blogs out there, and each blogger has different tastes. We Bonanziers happen to prefer images over text, and we don’t really go for the whole streetwear thing. But that’s just us! So how should you know which bloggers to contact? Read their blog! See what they like. Getting a feeling for what a blogger likes and their style of communication will help you immensely.
Another side of not getting paid for t-shirt blogging is that it competes for our free time, so emails can sometimes slip through the cracks. If you don’t receive a reply, don’t take it personally! You might as well try emailing again with a friendly, personal reminder. (Sjors at Shirtlog definitely wants to hear from you.)
2) We want information.
Just saying Hey, check out these cool new tees! doesn’t pique my interest as much as some interesting factoids about you, your company, your vision, whatever. It’s not that I want to publish what you tell me word for word, it’s that if I like your work, I’ll probably want to know more about you! On the other hand, some blogs will publish a brief blurb that you send them, so figuring that out before you contact a t-shirt blog is a good idea. (Both iloveyourtshirt and shirt2 often publish short company-provided blurbs.)
3) Imitation is boring.
This has two implications: I see a lot of t-shirts, and if what you’re doing doesn’t set itself apart in some way, I’m less inclined to give it a second thought. I also read a lot of t-shirt blogs (last I checked, I’m up to 50 feeds), and we like to be original and unique, too! So when you contact us, if you offer us something special (like some extra information that you didn’t give to other people, and advance notice of something ahead of everybody else, a unique coupon code, etc.) we’re more likely to shower you with praise. (Adam talks about the problem of duplicate content on t-shirt blogs over at HipHipUK.)
4) Free t-shirts aren’t golden rings.
That is, offers of free gear don’t guarantee you a review (with me, at least). I only enjoy writing about things I like, and I only enjoy wearing t-shirts that I like, so if you want to send some free swag over this way, that’s great! But if I like what you’re doing, I’l blog about it anyway. Which isn’t to say that freebies aren’t nice, but my favorites are tokens of appreciation for something Ive written about in the past. Just make sure you’re not pouring all your profits into free things for others! (Andy’s policy at Hide Your Arms* is to review any samples sent to him.)
5) We aren’t robots.
We have feelings! When I get an email for a t-shirt review request, I like to see my name and something indicating that you’ve read my blog. If I feel like I’m just some free advertising for your company, I don’t feel very happy. So build a relationship with t-shirt bloggers. Leave comments on their posts with your own opinion, or a question, or something interesting and/or insightful. If you enter a website in the URL field when you leave a comment here, chances are I’ll check it out and maybe even blog about it before you contact me. (Last I checked, Rangga at Tshirt Island wasn’t a robot.)
Well, that’s about it from me I know other t-shirt bloggers have guides with advice on getting your t-shirts reviewed (like Tcritic’s), so you should look for one of those before contacting them. About and Contact sections often have relevant info as well that can also help you start a conversation; because a genuine conversation is infinitely better than a press release and an attached picture.
I also wanted to add that after you’ve become friends with these bloggers reward them for their hard work. Something as simple as a pair of glasses or and handwritten thankyou note will go along way.