Like most bloggers, I started off reviewing books that were currently on my bookshelves. The problem with that was most of them were older (more than a year). I knew if I wanted to get my readership up I needed to review newer books. The problem with trying to review new books was a money issue. While I didn't mind paying for books from authors I already loved and adored, I wanted to expand my reading horizons and was leery of spending so much money on books I might not like. As soon as I bought my Nook, I signed up for a Netgalley account. Now I was able to request books months before they hit the bookstore. Readership went up! I also discovered some great new authors, including J. B. Lynn. I reviewed The First Victim from Netgalley and was asked to review her latest novel Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman.
Another great benefit to being on Netgalley is publishers get to know you. I've reviewed several books through Netgalley and since you can submit your review directly to the publisher through it, my reviews were being seen by people that mattered. The publishers that send me review requests now are ones who I started off reviewing through Netgalley. I really believe reviewing books through Netgalley helped me get my toe in the door with publishers large and small. Out of the requests I've made, only 1 request was rejected, but I then realized that it was a Canadian imprint and they were wanting Canadian bloggers.
Netgalley requires you to set-up a public profile that publicists can view. In mine I tell a little about why I enjoy reading and blogging. While there is a genre check list, I also include a little more info about the types of books I prefer. I include stats about my blog: audience demographics, average daily page views, monthly unique visitor number, etc. For other useful stats take a look at point 5 in Lucinda's post last week. If you post your reviews (either in full or partial) any where else (Goodreads, Amazon, LibraryThing, etc.) include that as well. The information in your profile will help them determine whether to approve your request or not, but also they will have it when they are trying to match books on their list with bloggers.
Even if you don't want to review e-galleys, Netgalley can still benefit you. Some publishers have particular policies regarding who reviews and how the reviews should be done. When I first started blogging, I found a lot of vaulable information there about what publishers wanted. It is also a good way to see what books are coming up and there is usually a way to contact the publisher so you might be able to request a print copy (I haven't tried this, so I'm not 100% sure). Also the book information page includes links to the author - website, Twitter, Facebook, which are all good things to add to posts (particularly the Twitter & Facebook info so you can tag the author when you post the review).
If you are part of a blog that has multiple contributors, you can also list your blog as a Review Organization. This is a public list, so authors, publishers, and publicist not listing books with Netgalley can still see the list. I've used it on occasion to match up my authors with bloggers. It's free publicity for your blog!