Friday, May 14, 2010

My Thoughts on Mommyblogging and $$$

"Would you be interested in partnering up to host a $20 [product] themed gift card giveaway? I also would like to invite you to join the blogger specific contest for a grand prize for the blogger who encourages the most readers to submit a pledge for [product]."

"We would love to partner with you to share the news of the [product] launch, whether it be a prize giveaway, a discount code, or contribute content from our designers, who can offer great styling tips and expert advice."

"We are seeking for either a product review or giveaway to promote our launch for [product] - is this something you would consider? Hope to hear from you soon."

"I hope this is something that interests you and you'll consider passing it on to your readers."

"I’m working with [client]to identify successful mom bloggers that may be interested in hosting a product giveaway for all of their mom and dad readers. Since In the Trenches of Motherhood is a well-versed and entertaining blog for readers to turn to on a regular basis, I thought that you would be interested in featuring a great product that your visitors would be interested in winning. Whether you would like to offer an item of your choice to one lucky reader or keep the product ($85 or less) for yourself is up to you!"

"We’re partnering with [client] on a program to support their [product]. We’re reaching out to you because we are familiar with your reputation as a parenting expert, and are seeking industry leaders’ points-of-view.  We’re curious to hear your perspective and to see if there are any opportunities to work with you to educate your clients/readers."

"We have been seeking out high quality websites and blogs, gauging interest in doing a giveaway with one of our sites. We love the look and feel of your blog and think that your US and Canadian readers might be interested in a giveaway with our sites.  Have a look at a couple of our sites and let me know if you think that this might be something you’d be interested in. Perhaps we could give away a selection of our home accents, kitchen accessories, outdoor decor or children's toys.  Alternatively you could do a review of something from our site."

And here's my response to each and every one:

"Hi ___________________,
Thank you for contacting me.
I do not promote or advertise (via links or giveaways) in my personal blog space for free.
However, if your client would like to buy some advertising space on my blog's right sidebar, I'd love to send you a rate sheet. 
Or please feel free to contact me to arrange an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both of us.
Thank you."

Why shouldn't I ask to be compensated for my time and my (teeny, tiny) bit of influence?  If you stop to think about it, the Brand is PAYING the PR Firm to represent them.  Yet they "don't have money in their budget" (which is the response I most frequently receive) to pay those (meaning us!) who are doing the actual grunt work? 


Clever Girls Collective believes very deeply that brands *should* pay for social media, specifically because brands expect to *make money* from that social media activity.  I strongly agree.

Mom101 wrote an AMAZING post the other day about believing in ourselves and our worth as bloggers.  This post should absolutely be required reading for anyone with a blog. 

Ever heard the phrase, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

Yeah.  That's kinda how it is in the blogosphere.  For every one of us who adamantly defends the sacredness of our time (and our value), there are at least 5 others who will slap up an ad or host a giveaway on their blog (provided, that is, that their commenters tweet here, Facebook "like" there, view the website here, yadda yadda yadda - all for super duper extra entries, of course!) without a second's thought.

I'm just not one of them.

(Are you?)


Michelle said...

I loved her post earlier this week and completely agree! It is just assinine to me that women agree to work for 'free' products that you end up PAYING taxes on at the end of the year.

Mom101 said...

I see our inboxes look very similar these days!

The problem is that these PR folks are reaching out to you like a journalist to place content. On blogs that operate more like online magazines it makes perfect sense. On personal blogs, the whole thing is just bizarre.

Maybe this all should start with PR people actually reading the blogs on the lists they're buying. I'd imagine that would solve a lot of the problems right there.

Ann said...

I've never been contacted but I completely agree with your take on the topic.

Jen said...

I LOVED this! Like you I refuse most of my PR pitches that I get there are a few that I get that I do work with and review but this is only for a product that I feel very strongly about.

I totally agree that we should get paid for our time. I recently was asked to share info about a new app for the iphone and that is all they wanted me to do. The app was $2. I am sorry but my time and effort that goes into a blog post is worth WAY more than a $2 product.

I wish that people would stop doing these give away things for free. Let's get paid for the time and effort that we put into the posts.

Ok, I am done. End of rant. :)

Rita Templeton said...

I waffled back and forth for a long time as to whether to do giveaways. But the thought that helped me make my final decision was this: I don't blog for business. I started my blog for pleasure - as a creative outlet, as a place for other women in my shoes to identify and find a little humor - and I'm not trying to make a living off of it or be a "professional blogger." I'm just a chick with a blog, you know? I hope it's a good experience for my readers, and if someone wants to enrich that experience a little bit by offering them the chance to win something they'd like - for free - it doesn't bother me. But I don't make them jump through hoops to get an entry ... leaving a comment is good enough!

confused homemaker said...

It's not just the blogosphere, I now get emails for academic freelance work that is "review this textbook & be entered for a gift card." Which is not going to happen, before you were paid a fee for the time consuming job of reviewing a textbook.

Abby said...

Good for you. Thanks for pointing me toward that article, I hadn't read it. As a longtime freelance writer, I'm used to this argument in terms of writing for free (most say "don't!"; newbies often do for exposure). I've gotten to the point where I have no problem demanding fair payment for my writing, but blogs are a new frontier. It's interesting to hear others' perspectives on this. And it was a great component of Bloggy Boot Camp, too.

Amy said...

My inbox looks just like yours!

I pass on most of it, and I try to send a reply at least thanking them for their interest in my site.

If it's something I'm really interested in, something really fun for me and my readers, I will consider it.

The worst ones are the "your readers will be interested in this, so how about you . That just kills me! At least offer me a free one of whatever product you are pushing, or something to give away! Those I never do.

Amy said...

I'm so glad to see all of these posts on this topic! I have been struggling with this since I started blogging and I think it will be so freeing to just let go of blogging for free and only do paid work.

Muffintopmommy said...

Amen, sister! My friend and fellow blogger sent me the Mom 101 link the other day and I agree 100% with you both.

dusty earth mother said...

that is a fab response letter. mind if I steal it? :-)

Seriously, just kidding. If I stole it, I would pay for it.

I'm just digging myself in deeper here.

Great post!

Pam said...

I do not accept any advertising or product reviews/giveaways on my blog. My blog is Ad Free (I even have a button stating that on my sidebar). That goes for free and paid advertising. My blog is not for sale. The only exception I will make is for books, since the main focus of my blog is book reviews and book related topics. I will accept a book from a publisher in exchange for a review. But only if the book is something I already want to read and as long as I can give my honest opinion of that book. After I read the book, I donate it to the library where I work. (Though I have considered giving it to someone who leaves a comment on the book review post).

NotJustAnotherJen said...

i really appreciate your candor and examples of their requests and your response. you are really generous to share this with us because us newbies are in need of your great role modeling. THANK YOU for setting such a high standard. I look forward to being approached one day and making the decision for myself. You rock!

Anonymous said...

I completely agreed that mom bloggers deserve compensation. I don’t’ blog -- I'm a mom of two and also a PR person.

From a PR person's perspective (not that you asked,) "mainstream" media (magazines, newspapers, technology blogs, etc.) do not accept payment for product reviews. It is seen as a conflict of interest. Some reporters won't even keep the product they review -- their editorial guidelines require that they send it back as it might be seen as a form of payment.

PR people are approaching you with that model in mind. An ethical PR would NEVER work with a member of the mainstream press who asked for compensation in exchange for coverage.

So from that perspective, you can see that PR people aren't intentionally asking you for a special favor -- they're trying to work with you they way they would traditional media. Perhaps it shows a lack of understanding of how you all think about your work vs. your blog, but it’s definitely not a sign of disrespect or that they don’t value your work or influence.

countryfriedmama said...

Amen. That is all.

thatgirlisfunny said...

g'morning, SITstah!
Well, you certainly stirred the pot with this topic. The anonymous PR person makes an interesting point about the difference between the worlds of blogging vs traditional media. I don't know what the answer is. I do know that I had the opportunity to write for a traditional media source, but they asked me to write in the "3rd person". I hadn't realized until that moment that I really prefer writing in the 1st person. 3rd person is just too different. I'm not a reporter, I'm a blogger.

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtful article. For a fresh take on building strong careers and families, check out Getting to 50/50 -- on how men and women share roles with all sorts of good results -- including a healthier sex life. The book also debunks some common myths that cause many moms to back away from their jobs. Authors Sharon Meers (a Goldman MD now in tech) and Joanna Strober (a private equity exec) share their often funny tales of combining work and family. Definitely a book worth checking out.


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