My last blog post touched on something that has started to somewhat drive me crazy.
And that’s the idea that businesses, and agencies on their behalf, reach out to bloggers and basically want content and back links published for free. As in, zero compensation kind of free.
In the post I mentioned that I didn’t start my fashion blog (my personal side project) to make money, but as more time is invested in the site I’ve set goals, one of which is generating revenue. And I’m not talking about buying a yacht kind of revenue, but it would be great to pay for things such as:
- Paying contributing bloggers
- Subsidizing the 10 – 15 hours I spend working on the site/shooting photos each week
- Recouping funds for things such as website hosting and the camera (wasn’t inexpensive by any stretch of the imagination) used for street style shots
You might call those items – wait for it… business expenses. Now do you see why it’s so absurd for a blogger to give another business unsolicited exposure on their site?
Don’t Jump Straight In Bed
If you’re a PR person (which is part of what I do, by the way) you might be thinking, “What, so do these crazy bloggers think they’ll get compensated for all partnerships from now on?”
In a way, the answer is yes.
But on the other hand, there’s a much bigger thing going on here. Or better yet, there’s a much bigger thing not going on.
In many ways PR, in just about any form, is built on relationships, and that’s something a significant number of companies and agencies seem to be overlooking. It’s kind of like they just want to jump straight in bed and go at it.
Out of the blue someone fires off an email making some ask where they want the world for free and don’t want to give the blogger anything in return. I mean, for kicks and giggles, walk up to the next stranger you see and ask them if they’ll give you $100. Seriously, give it a shot and see how that works out for you. It’s virtually the same thing as what I’ve described above.
I’m not sure if the sheer quantity of new media publishers has made people feel like they don’t have time to build relationships, but it’s time to put on the breaks and mix in a little old school with new school.
Before you reach out to make the next ask, do yourself, and the blogger, a favor and engage them in an effort to establish some sort of foundation. Consider this the “first date” where you get to make small talk and get to know each other. Again, your goal isn’t to jump in bed on the first date. Guys, I’m serious!
By having a foundation in place it makes the “ask” a softer blow and will increase your change of getting positive results. Take the relationship out of the equation and your change of positive results go way down. As in, a success rate closer to 0%.
You are asking the blogger for something because you think their website has something to offer you/your client. On the other hand, if you flip the equation it’s likely that the brand also has something the blogger would be interested in.
Here are a few simple options to keep in your back pocket:
- Does the brand have a blog? If so, could the bloggers content or link somehow be shared on the blog?
- Does the brand have a Facebook page with a significant following? Once the blogger published the content for the brand, can the brand share the post with their Facebook following? This could be of high interest to the blogger given the Facebook link will help drive traffic to their site.
- The Facebook link idea could also be done for Twitter. As a bit of a warning, I personally view the Twitter links as less valuable than Facebook.
- Have an email newsletter? Could the brand somehow link to the bloggers published content (for the brand) in an email newsletter?
- And let’s not forget the age old compensation of product gifting.
While this post may use some comical statements (jumping in bed) and mention absurd examples such as asking strangers for money, there are valid points made throughout.
Successful blogs are well diversified and can likely survive without your client or brand. That’s worth keeping top of mind.