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. Â 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. Â 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.
Mitch Mitchell March 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm
It seems we’re getting the same sort of stuff. On my main blog I only accept guest posts from people who participate on it so no worries there. I don’t accept any guest posts on my business blogs.
But I end up getting lots of free stuff to review things, and sometimes the free stuff is kind of neat. I tell everyone that any review I do will be honest, and they might not like it, and I stick to my word.
My finance blog does accept lots of guest posts because it ends up getting advertisers who want to pay, and I’m not mad at that. But I have a rule which says if they don’t read the guest commenting policy and follow the rules, I don’t respond to the email. That tells me they would be a horrible host for a guest blog because I require those folks to respond to comments so I don’t have to. If they can’t get it right up front, why would I bother?
Jack March 21, 2012 at 6:37 am
I don’t fault people for trying to find free press/advertising for their products/services. I just get irked when they don’t accept rejection or when other bloggers do things that devalue my work.
You are right about some of the offers for free stuff. As long as you give an honest review and disclose your relationship all should be good.
Can’t disagree on your rules about guest commenting.
jetts31 March 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm
I have just recently started to get some pitches. Some used my name. Some picked specific posts to quote from. Some just said ‘hi’.
I entertained a few, I spammed most.
Its difficult because I don’t want to be a pitchman but at the same time a few extra bucks wouldn’t hurt.
I’ll have to keep weeding through them and see what happens.
Jack March 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm
I think that is the way to do it. There are some legitimate nuggets contained in the mix and the only way to find them is to look.
Bill Dorman March 14, 2012 at 8:08 am
Yes, I’ve heard more than a few in our community call you a mother…but if the shoe fits, huh?
And the pitch was for a ‘lifetime’ subscription; only that meant the lifetime of my blog, not your lifetime because your cantankerous ass will live to be a hundred.
Because all my ‘contact’ info is pretty public, I’m starting to get pitches over the phone now from info they are getting from my ‘social’ presence. I got one yesterday where I was eligible to win $1500 but they wanted me to sign up for 5 magazine subscriptions……I didn’t need the money so I gave them your name BTW..
Jack March 14, 2012 at 11:15 am
My cantankerous ass is going to exceed 100 for two basic reasons:
1) I am too mean to die. Death is afraid to come within arm’s reach because he knows I will kick his bony ass up and down the block.
2) I am meant to be a watcher and storyteller. The upside is longevity the downside is having to go through a lot of goodbyes.
Glad to hear that you passed my name along to the telemarketers because those people love me. 😉
Hope you are enjoying your week.
bridgetstraub.com March 14, 2012 at 7:40 am
Hmmm, I must be doing something wrong because nobody has pitched me anything yet, except the creepy foot fetish people who wanted to usr a picture of my girls… And there was the guy who wrote Dude I’ve been reading your blog, check out mine. I’m so not a Dude!
Jack March 14, 2012 at 11:04 am
Creepy foot fetish people- That gives me an idea for a story about people who crawl out of the hills at night and shuffle down into the valley below….
I don’t receive as many pitches as a lot of the other bloggers. Some of that is because I haven’t made an effort to reach out to the brands nor have I attended the conferences.
Most of the stuff I get is because people stumble across me in searches or on other blogs.
Daniel March 14, 2012 at 7:39 am
I get these all the time, too, and I’ve gone on a few rants about them myself as well. Ridiculous that some of these PR companies call themselves “professionals” sending out this nonsense. I’d like to send their clients and email letting them know they’re getting duped but I resist the temptation.
Jack March 14, 2012 at 10:48 am
I am often tempted to do the same thing but ultimately I think it behooves us to take the high road.
Of course I have to acknowledge that I have jumped in the mud once or twice but…
I tend to believe those agencies don’t survive, but who knows.
Brandon March 14, 2012 at 6:19 am
Heya Jack. Good post. I will say, I have never gotten the dear mommy blogger one (I don’t think) but I get a ton of the non-disclosure ones. They always offer the most cash too. I don’t know how they can pull that off, but whatever.
And a skeedlebop? I’m with Can.Dad up there. That sounds pretty cool. 😉
Jack March 14, 2012 at 9:46 am
I have never been offered more then $50 for a non disclosure post so I have never been tempted to write one.
I have to admit that if someone threw $50k in my face I might have to seriously consider it. 😉
Will keep you posted about the Skeedlebop. They have that comes with a Kevlar cover and the ability to speak Pashtu and Farsi.
Hajra March 14, 2012 at 2:50 am
LOL! I know your name and I do know that you are a dad blogger; so I will always address you as the daddy blogger who knows his mojo well! 😉
Jack March 14, 2012 at 9:33 am
I am working on building more mojo- can never have too much.
V-Grrrl March 14, 2012 at 2:28 am
I love the way The Bloggess handles these situations. “Wil Wheaton Collating.” ha ha ha.
Jack March 14, 2012 at 9:32 am
She has some great responses, some are just classic.
Jens P. Berget March 14, 2012 at 1:43 am
I know your name 🙂
I receive a lot of bad pitches as well. And at the moment, I haven’t replied to all of them. I’ve been thinking about using a pre-written text (like they’re doing) and just send it whenever I receive a question of guest posts or sales pitches from people who haven’t read my blog or have been in contact with me at all.
Jack March 14, 2012 at 9:30 am
I appreciate that. You ought to answer them in Norwegian. 😉
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the brands really saw how poorly some of their agencies handle outreach.
Many do an outstanding job, but there are those others…
Canadian Dad March 14, 2012 at 12:13 am
I’ve only been doing this for a month and I think they smelled blood on me because I’ve been getting all sorts of crazy things pitched to me.
Luckily I found a group of established bloggers to help guide me along the path.
I would love to review the skeedlebop though, I heard they’re amazing!
Thanks for the post, I’ll try not to make us look stoopid.
Brandon March 14, 2012 at 6:16 am
Oh, man – A big one for you may not necessarily be the crazy pitches then. YOU specifically need to be concerned with the ones that ask you “do not disclose” or ask you to do a “discreet/natural” link and wave $20 + in your face for it. They are bogus and/or the company’s PR folks set them up for failure. Avoid non-disclosure at all costs.
Jack March 14, 2012 at 9:27 am
I get those too. “Dear Jack, I’ll pay you $50 if you accept my link.”
Junk, junk, junk.
Canadian Dad March 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm
I’ve had those too but just delete them. I’ve had some good experiences too. I wrote an article about my daughter loving JibJab and they contacted me and sent some shirts for the family. Very cool guys!
Jack March 14, 2012 at 9:25 am
The Skeedlebop is truly innovative and if they are smart they’ll give me complete control of all marketing efforts.
Always good to have the support of experienced bloggers- very helpful.
Canadian Dad March 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm
They’ve been a godsend for sure! Love the blog Jack!
Jack March 15, 2012 at 11:24 pm
Thank you sir, much appreciated.