Once upon a time your friend Jack worked for a manufacturer that made tools for cutting concrete. Our line included saws, drills and the blades/corebits that were used for the aforementioned equipment.
During my time there I held a number of different positions several of which involved speaking with customers and prospective customers about what particular items they should purchase. Quite a few of those conversations involved discussions in which I would explain why it was worth paying more for a diamond blade as opposed to a cheaper alternative.
Even though the diamond blades cost more they were more durable and lasted longer. That translated into providing the operator with the ability to work with fewer interruptions which generally meant that the job would take less time. You see every time a blade would wear out they would have to stop cutting to change it. That wasn’t necessarily a long process but it lent itself to being an excuse for another smoke break or other things of this nature.
Most of the time my customers would agree with me and we would move on to ironing out which unit and how many they needed. I always thanked them for their business and assured them that they would get what they paid for.
PR, Brands, Guest Posts and Bloggers
It has been about 13 years or so since I left the company but recent events here at TheJackB reminded me of my time there. During the past week I have received a number of pitches that made me shake my head and a few that made me laugh, but not in a good way.
My goal here isn’t to embarrass or shame any of the people/companies that I have corresponded with so I won’t use any names so unless you reveal yourself in the comments consider your identity protected.
Let’s start with the pitches that were addressed to “Dear Mom Blogger” and those that didn’t use a name but just said “Hi, I have been reading your blog.” Uh, no you haven’t. If you had you would know my name and that I am most assuredly not a mom. Some of you might call me a different sort of mother but we’ll save that discussion for a different time.
We move on to the pitches in which people offered to write a guest post for me provided that I included a link to their site on the blog. That is called advertising and I have specific rates that I charge for it here. I tend to think of those as spam but I usually send a response letting the writer know what my ad rates are for various ad units.
The next set of pitches came from people/companies that would like for me to review their product/service. Some of them didn’t provide any sort of angle or reason why my readers and I would be interested. I generally categorize those as being among the “throw mud at the wall to see what sticks” crowd.
It is not necessarily offensive but it is not very effective either.
What does irk me are the pitches I receive in which I am asked to review a product without having the chance to try it myself. If you send me a pitch telling me that the new skeedlebop is great for children I’ll say great. I have kids and I like being able to stay on top of cool things for them.
But if I can’t test that skeedlebop myself I am certainly not going to write about it. That is bad for you and bad for me. It hurts my integrity and yours. That ties into an experience that several blogging buddies encountered with a manufacturer of a particular cellphone.
They were sent the phone by the manufacturer but were expected to pay for the cost of the service. This is poor form and reflects badly on the manufacturer. It doesn’t cost that much more to pay for the service. You don’t really expect us to pay to activate the phone and cover the minutes do you.
We could also tie in the review/giveaways as well. If you ask a blogger to put in several hours worth of work so that they can give away a $10 gift card you are getting away with murder.
I assume that you aren’t intentionally trying to exploit them but in effect that is what you do when you pay them to work pennies per hour. I’ll also readily admit that it irritates me because the net result is that blogger devalues my work and every other writer.
Or maybe it is intentional. Maybe you went to the Tony Soprano school of business and graduated with a degree in shakedown.
Ultimately it is better for everyone if we do a better job to work together. If you want me to take you seriously take a moment read my blog. Don’t send me an email that says “Dear Mommy blogger” or starts off with “Every mom needs.”
Unless you are trying to promote some charity or raise awareness to save starving children don’t ask me to print your press release verbatim. I won’t do it and if I did my readers would see right through it. Take the extra few minutes to read my blog, tell me why it is important.
There is a good chance that I’ll agree and maybe we’ll work together and come up with something better. Your time is worth more than that and so is mine.