September 23, 2013

My Blog is Not Your Bitch

I'm getting a little annoyed. It seems a particular blogging issue is coming has come to a head for me.

A few weeks ago I clicked on a link to an article published by the Harvard Business Review (Harvard!) via The SITS Girls Facebook page titled "Yes, Marketers, You Should Pay Your Influencers". I read, applauded (in my head) and shared it on my own Facebook page and elsewhere.

The very next day I received an email that began with "Here's something that I think will interest your readers", and ended with "Please let me know if you have any questions".

Um yeah, I do have a couple questions. My response:
That sounds pretty cool, but do you expect me to promote it for free? That's actually not really fair to me and the work I put into my blog and social media following.
I do like your company so promoting it would be genuine on my part. It's just that I deserve some kind of compensation for doing so.
If that's something you're open to, please let me know!
Jennifer Hall
Because my blog and my readers are not your bitches!

I'm not being crass. I'm dead serious.

Yes, I am absolutely cool with doing sponsored/campaign type work through my blog and/or social media outlets. I already do. It's not as if I'm snobby about such things. I'd be lying if I said I don't appreciate being able to earn a little money through blogging. It's not why I started my blog. I only found out about these opportunities long afterward. But now that I'm aware, I am open to the possibilities.

Quite honestly, and I think a lot of other bloggers would agree with this, earning some money through these efforts helps justify the time and energy spent doing them. And it IS why some of us started blogging, to do it professionally.

Regardless, whether I want to earn money through blogging or not, I deserve respect. My blog and my followers deserve respect. YOU ALL deserve for me to not simply give away this space to every Tom, Dick and Harry who ask for it.

Or, in the case above, Darcy. Who, incidentally, I've not heard back from. Go figure.

"Here’s the thing, Brands, may we call you Brands? You’re treating us like customers, not like partners. Swag is fun but it doesn’t pay the bills. Stop thinking of us as hobbyists because we are businesses. We create a product in our writing that earns us readers and followers on social media platforms. We have clout. When we speak, the people who are listening care what we say because we have built relationships with them. Think laser beam attention AND interaction." - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
I was recently shocked to see a major brand, Betty Crocker, post an available blogging job for which they intended to only compensate each blogger with a $15 Starbucks gift card. Just an e-card sent via email, at that! Oh, and they had all these REQUIREMENTS:
In addition to a well-read blog, we are looking for bloggers with an active and engaging presence on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook - so you can spread the word about your post and your take on Betty Crocker’s....
WTF, Betty? You want a well-written, well-read blog post and lots of social media interaction in exchange for FIFTEEN DOLLARS? Who the hell do you have managing your advertising department??

I don't.....I just. *shakes head

I cannot count how many requests I've gotten for someone to submit something they've written with a link back to them. There is nothing for me to gain from this. They try to sugar coat it with phrases like "high quality content for your site". Excuse me, but I think that kind of implies that my own content isn't of high quality. Jerk.

You may or may not recall the live theater review I posted in July. I was so very happy to do that because the theater intern (an intern, not even a marketing executive!) who contacted me did not expect me to simply promote the play out of the goodness of my heart. She asked me to come see it, which was a fun night out for me and a friend. I also happen to like the idea of promoting events in my own community.

A month later she asked me if I'd like to be a promotion partner with them again for their next production. I noticed it would be performed on a different stage, with different seating for the audience (the first play was performed on a circular stage). I went back to her and told her that I'm visually impaired so if it's at all possible for her to get me close to the stage that would be so helpful to me. Without skipping a beat, she said she could absolutely do that, and so I happily agreed.

She gave me FRONT ROW seats.

That is how it's done! That's how you make a blogger/influencer feel appreciated. The person I worked with showed me and my time respect, offered me something in exchange for my end of the deal, was encouraging, just plain nice, and presented me with subject matter I felt my readers might relate to. Not only that, she (or perhaps some other intern) interacted with me on social media, retweeting my post more than once. That post was actually one of my most viewed this summer.

To sum up, all I ask for myself and my fellow bloggers are these five things:

1. DO offer some form of compensation for a blogger's time and effort.
Mamarific agrees, saying: I expect them to pay, for starters! Cash or product. Unless it's a charity or some other public service, in which I'm happy to help if it's something I believe in. *I couldn't agree more.
2. DON'T take advantage of a blogger or their readers.

3. DO understand that bloggers won't publish something that doesn't fit on their blog.

4. DON'T expect us to feel privileged that you are asking us to promote your product. All parties need to feel good about it.

5. DO be supportive, encouraging and as accommodating as you can reasonably be.

I don't think I'm asking for anything extraordinary here.
What do you think? Did I cover all the bases, or is there something you would add?

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