A Lesson on Blogger Outreach

suuper cute cereal boxes

If that economic hiccough (also known as the GFC) taught us anything, it’s the value of value. It’s a lesson forgotten all too quickly once the recovery kicks in, usually because it requires more work and focuses on needs over wants. This seems to be why, for some, blogger outreach has been a difficult nut to crack. The premise is simple – give the blogger something they value and in return they will consider promoting your brand/product. Of course everyone has a different idea of what constitutes value.

Here’s a stunning example from one of my favourite bloggers.

A few minutes ago I got a pitch from a company who wanted me to write a review for their cereal on my blog.  And they would pay me.  In cereal. Two boxes of cereal, specifically.  Except that the cereal wouldn’t actually go to me.  It would be used as a giveaway.  To promote their cereal.  On my blog.  Because as a blogger I’m so desperate for material that I will happily regurgitate any commercial bullshit that anyone puts in front of me.  Apparently.

I’m really struggling with writing this because I fully believe that people should be able to write whatever they want but if you as a blogger are accepting a box of cereal as payment for helping to grow a commercial ad campaign then you are undervaluing us all.  Companies have advertising budgets and some of those companies spend that money on bloggers.  And those companies should be applauded for helping to grow our community and for giving bloggers the same respect that you would give to any other profession.  Other companies give their advertising budgets to PR firms who are paid quite well to get bloggers and other outlets to advertise the product in exchange for cereal.  I can almost guarantee you that none of the PR people who contact you are working for cereal.

Because some things are worth more than a box of cereal The Bloggess

In this case, the currency was an offer to the blogger’s readers that would either reward loyal readers and/or drive new interest to the blog. With cereal. A British agency used this method for a previous client of mine – except the reward was the chance to win a holiday to Australia – an offer the target bloggers would have never possibly afforded otherwise. Even then there were a few bloggers who didn’t bite.

If you’re about to proposition a blogger stop for a moment and ask yourself – how well do you understand their personal definition of value?

Update: Fellow H&K Digerati Dave Jones has some more examples in his post Bloggers telling PR how they really feel

Photo credit: pyxopotamus

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~ by mandi bateson on September 13, 2010.

6 Responses to “A Lesson on Blogger Outreach”

  1. A ridiculously good example of this sort of thing going rapidly sour can be found on the Mighty God King blog earlier this year, and the entire diatribe (“I think you have misunderstood my degree of whoringness”) is well worth a read:

    “‘Get your readers talking and we’ll send you a basket of AXE shower gel line-up and 2 Flip Cameras – one for you and one for a lucky reader.’

    See, now I know one-third of you are totally going to be all “dammit MGK I wanted a Flip Camera,” but Flip Cameras are dogshit cameras for bad people, and I know that most of you are not bad people. But what really irks me is that AXE here is asking me not only to whore my blog out for a basket of shower gel I don’t like and a shitty-ass camera I won’t use, but they’re asking me to do it on contingency. Kia Motors was willing to fly me5 to motherfucking Korea in the hopes that I would say nice things about the Kia Driveycar but AXE isn’t willing to send me $500 worth of shitty phones and shitty shower gel unless I prove to them in advance that I will suck their marketing dick, and that I will do so to their satisfaction to boot.
    Needless to say, I ignored the mail, because of all of the above and also because I thought passing Business Associations might be a good idea so that law school was not a complete waste of time. But then, a couple of days later, they sent me another email….”

    And so on…

  2. This takes “will blog for food” to a whole new level.

    Generally I just ignore pitches these days. I’m not that desperate for content, and unless I recognise the name in my inbox, it goes straight into the trash.

  3. Being a food blogger I get a lot of approaches from PR’s for stuff to feature on my blog. These days I say no to just about everything. As Gavin mentioned above, I mostly have too much content that I don’t need anymore or the additional pressure.

    The last PR thing I accepted was a class and dinner at Tetsuya’s. Chauffeur driven, 2 hours with Chef, then the full degustation. They also provided the same experience to give away. That was a once in a lifetime type of experience for a food obsessed person and a reader.

    What truly surprises me is how irrelevant so much of the stuff I’m offered is. Anyways…

  4. This, sort of forum thing, was held last year in response to some really dodgy approaches from PR’s to bloggers. It generated some really interesting discussion about the whole caper: http://blog.stellar.net.au/2009/07/15-tips-for-blogger-relations/

  5. […] A lesson on blogger outreach – a look at the value proposition in blogger relations […]

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