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Last week I participated in an excellent Brand to Blogger chat on Twitter hosted by Type A Parent. The theme was how to get on marketers’ radar. After blogging here for six years, sometimes I want to get OFF of marketers’ radar, because the number of emails I have to dig through to find the truly good opportunities is ridiculous. But I knew I would enjoy a chat with PR people who cared enough to participate.
I don’t know how relevant all of this is to my non-blogger readers, but I’m guessing everybody, no matter what their profession, has to deal occasionally with people trying to take advantage of them in some way. For example, if you’ve been asked by someone to do them a “favor” that would normally come with a consultancy fee. “I’d like to buy you lunch and pick your brain!” is how that favor is sometimes asked for. Or, “We’d love to work with you in the future when we have a budget, but for now we were hoping that you could post this.”
This happens all the time to bloggers, multiple times a day. Some brands just want to get something from you for nothing. Some think that their offer of products or “exposure” is worth your time. These get ignored.
Anyway, back to the Twitter chat. One theme from the blogging side was that when good offers do come in, we don’t want them to get lost in the sea of press releases and offers to write in exchange for coupons.
— Estelle S. Erasmus (@EstelleSErasmus) January 29, 2014
Best subject line “Paid Opp inside” #typeaparent
— Cindy Schultz (@MomMaven) January 29, 2014
They’re absolutely right! Nothing gets my attention quicker than an offer of money in exchange for work (crazy, right?).
So I immediately opened an email that came through today with the subject line “Paid Blogger Opportunity” and read this inside:
We are looking for 10 bloggers to engage their readers around the topic of comfort food. You don’t have to be a food blogger to qualify; you just have to love comfort food! Compensation is $XXX. To learn more, click the button below.
I clicked. Heck, I live for comfort food.
So, I was rather pissed to see this (among other rules) after I clicked the link:
- You must have an active blog that can achieve at least 500 uniques per post. You can participate in this opportunity but you will only be compensated if you are one of the first 10 bloggers to achieve 500 uniques for your post.
They were not, actually, looking for ten bloggers to get paid to write about something. They were looking to get as many bloggers as possible to write a post, pin some things to Pinterest, and install a widget on their blog. FOR FREE. All of which would get the brand traffic and attention.
Sure, the first ten bloggers to reach 500 unique views would get paid. But if you were number eleven to reach the goal? Nada. If you wrote the most spectacular post in the history of blogging and got tons of comments and engagement but ten other people got better numbers? Zip. Zero.
[Edited to add: In an email conversation with someone from the site in question (I’d emailed them to express how offended I was by their misleading subject line), it was pointed out to me that everyone who participates gets entered into a drawing for $100, and everyone can offer their readers a giveaway. These were seen as pluses by the sender, but I see them as huge minuses. Being entered into a drawing is not a form of payment in any way, and I charge to post giveaways, so adding a giveaway to a post does not sweeten the deal either – it means more work for me.]
I’m not against holding bloggers accountable for giving brands a certain return on their investment – that seems like good business to me (although it can get tricky). I’m in a long-term contract right now where I have guaranteed certain statistics to the people paying me (and I’m on track to meet them, thank goodness).
But this is not that. This is pitting blogger against blogger in order to get mostly free work for your product. Nobody wins. Except, maybe, the ten people who do manage to get paid, but in my eyes even they lost the moment they put up their posts.
Know your worth. Say no until you find a good fit, where both sides are going to benefit.