Monday, 7 March 2016

Dear PR...Here's Why I Won't Promote Your Brand For Free...

As a blogger, I am often approached by PR people with various opportunities for collaboration.

This was something I didn't realise was a part of blogging when I first started out, and for the first few months I was kind of lost on how to deal with it...I didn't know any other bloggers so I had nobody to ask for advice and no way to know the protocol when it comes to blogger/business collaborations.

Now, 3 years on, I have learned "on the job" about the way these things work and this blog is now my primary source of income.

I have a section clearly visible on my blog entitled "Work With Me" which details the way in which I offer collaboration opportunities for brands - so it should be pretty straight forward.

Yet every week I receive numerous emails from PR people offering me the most ridiculous of "Opportunities" - with the only real opportunity being for themselves to gain free promotion as there is nothing in it for me whatsoever.

I have lost count of how many emails I have had this week alone asking me to promote various brands in various ways - and when I email back detailing my various collaboration options and associated fees, I'm met with a variety of responses.

I reckon I spend a good 4-5 hours per week with time wasters emailing me back and forth about a possible collaboration only to then change their tunes when the subject of payment comes up...

So in the effort of saving my precious time, I thought I'd just list out all of the usual lines I hear so very often along with my responses...that way I can just refer them here instead of having to waste yet more time answering them.

 "Oh we don't have a budget to pay you".


So tell me then, who is paying you? Are you working for this brand out of the goodwill of your heart? I highly doubt I'm sure there is a budget somewhere, you just don't want to spend it in this way - which is fine, nobody is forcing you to. But do not insult me by contacting me anyway and expecting free promotion from me. If I'm not good enough for you to pay for my advertising space or promotional time, I'm not going to go ahead and do it for nothing.

I have spent a lot of time and effort building up my readership and my blog statistics and worth - why would I have done that only to offer it out for free to whoever wants to use it to promote their brand? 

"But feel free to write/ tweet about it anyway"

Erm...that's ok. 

I became a blogger because I have PLENTY to say for myself - I'm not stuck for topics to post or tweet about, infact I struggle to find enough space in my schedule to slot in the articles I actually want to write most of the time - I have absolutely zero need for suggested articles from you, least of all when they're promoting your business and are nothing at all to do with me.

I offer sponsored tweets as a service to brands, but even those I limit because social media ads can be very annoying to followers and I don't want to alienate them by flooding their timelines - so why exactly would I risk losing followers to promote your business for absolutely nothing?

Can you imagine how many sponsored posts and tweets I'd be doing if I gave them to every brand who asked for free promotion? It would be nothing but a constant stream of adverts with no time for anything of my own - why?! Why would I do that?! Think about it.

"This isn't a paid promotion, it's just a guest post...with a link to my website"

Oh really? So you don't want to pay, because it's just an informative guest post for my readers, but yet you would like a follow link in the author bio which just happens to link to a brand you work for?

Do you think I was born yesterday?!! You're not going to slip any follow links past me on the pretence of just being a keen writer...JOG ON YOU CHEEKY TWUNT!!!!!!

"Can you review this product for me? Without a sample...."

Erm, no. No I can't.

How exactly am I going to give my readers an opinion on anything without having actually tried it first?

"We can send you a loan product..."

Oh fab, that makes the hours I'll spend testing it, photographing it, writing about it and promoting it to my hard-earned reader base totally worth my time and effort!

Oh it doesn't. GO AWAY.

"Most bloggers agree to do free promotion in return for social shares to our 7 gazillion followers..."

Well, let's be honest, that's just not true is it? 

Why do you assume that us bloggers don't talk to each other?!

Just like in any career field, birds of a feather flock together - there are many many Facebook groups where many many bloggers discuss their blogging work and opportunities and there are VERY few of us who will promote anybodys brand for no return - because why would we?

Do you think we thought to ourselves one day "I know! I`m going to start a blog. I`m going to work really hard on it for years and build up quite a decent follower base, and pretty decent statistics - but even though I want to do this I don't have anything of my own to say, so I'll just endlessly promote various brands and businesses so that other people can benefit from my hard work with absolutely nothing in it for me!"

No...we didn't. Those of who choose to monetise our blogs do so to support our families or make a bit of extra income, but we value our little space on the internet and we will not just give away to any Tom, Dick or Harry who asks for a piece of it. 

We talk to each other...We know that none of us are happy to do that. So don't try to pull the wool over our eyes.

And social shares are all well and good but last time I tried to pay my rent with them, I didn't get very far.

"We'd love you to enter our competition to be entered for a chance to win £200 vouchers for our store! All you need to do is write a post all about how great we are, give us a follow link and promote the hell out of us on Twitter!"

Fantastic!!! Let me get right on that...I can think of no better way of spending my time than to spend hours doing this for you in the hopes that I MIGHT be the one lucky winner out of hundreds!

But first...hang on while I just call my electricity, water and gas suppliers and see if they'll all agree to enter my competition to see which of them I'm going to pay this month!

"If you can post for us free of charge this time, there may be opportunities for paid collaborations in future...."

Really?!!! That sounds wonderful!!! Can I have a ride on your unicorn, too? DO ONE!!!!!!!

"Unfortunately we don't send samples to BLOGGERS however we can place you on our contact list"

Oh of course not... Lesser sub-species of media that we are, why would you?! But we're good enough for you to bug the crap out of with your incessant press releases and requests for access to our audience?! 

And the list goes on....I seem to receive a new angle on "Post my shit for free" every week, so no doubt I'll be updating this list regularly...

But for now, it's nice to have somewhere to direct them to...aside from my Delete folder.

Are you a blogger who receives these kinds of emails? Whats been the worst one you've had?! As always, I'd love to hear from you!

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  1. I get so many of these lately , I must have had at least ten this week expecting me to write posts and promote them in exchange for a share on their social media. Half the socials media accounts they talk about have way less followers then I do myself ! This post sums it all up perfectly xx

  2. The one I've been getting a lot of is 'the content is high quality and will be more beneficial than money because it is good for SEO'. Like I can't write high quality posts myself?

  3. As a fairly new blogger, I've been fairly fortunate to work with some great brands where the collaboration has been great and works both ways. I did recently get contacted by a company and completely fooled, I added links to a post and advertised their promotion on twitter for them not to actually do anything in return and just said they'll love to work with me in future. I'd already published and advertised a post as it contained products I'd bought Joey for Christmas so thank god it was a post that was already online and not done specifically for the company. If a company does get in touch I always get straight to the point and see what collaboration they're thinking of. It's so frustrating when we put so much effort into our blog and then a company get in contact and try and take advantage of us. Great post Hayley, handy for any new bloggers starting out x

  4. Amen!! When I started my first blog I made this mistake and ended up doing "sponsored" posts for nothing more than a coupon code. I soon realised I was being taken advantage of... I mean, blogging is part of the way I help to support my family! My time/effort is worth more than that! Very well put.

    Munchie Mummy

  5. I get several emails like these every day and it's infuriating - particularly as my blog is my family's only source of income. I often ask them if they get print and TV advertising for free - curiously, I don't get many responses to that question!

  6. Absolutely love this Hayley! I get so many email like this and it drives me bonkers x

  7. Hahhaha can relate to all of these! I get at least 20 emails like this s day which all go in my deleted box I don't even bother replying. The ones I hate the most are when they're like "we'll share it with all of our thousands of followers it will be great exposure for you" when you have more than them hahha! Xx

  8. I get so many of these emails at the moment it's ridiculous! In fact I don't even bother emailing them back anymore asking how much they pay because I know they're going to say nothing, absolute bunch of time wasters! Great post xxxx

  9. Excellent point. I'm a PR and a follower of your blog - it doesn't take a genius to guess the hours of hard work you put in... I would never ask you or any other blogger to do something FOC, it's just cheeky!

  10. Ha ha ha exactly. I just usually reply saying something like 'happy to discuss budgets' and after that never hear back ;D

    I have had those guest post requests too - I was a bit weirded out by it and didn't get it, so just said no thanks, if you like writing so much why not start your own blog. But yes, I see now what their goal was ha ha :)

  11. This post made me smile and is absolutely spot on. xx

  12. This post has given me food for thought! Thanks


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