The Business of Being a Motorcycle Blogger

The Business of Being a Motorcycle Blogger

h/t Darlene at Princess Scooterpie Adventures of a Motorcycle Diva for inspiring me to write this post. It’s something I’ve talked about privately with other bloggers but have never posted about.


 

You Want to Send Me Free Stuff?

As a motorcycle blogger, the first time someone shoots you a message and says they want to send you some motorcycle related thing for free to review, you’re like: “Are you kidding? Woohoo, jackpot!” 

For some bloggers, the idea of monetizing their blog or getting “stuff” for simply doing what they already do is a natural fit. For others, the idea of ads or writing for compensation leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Sometimes things are evaluated on a case by case basis. There is no right way to do it. There is only the right way for each individual.

In my experience up to this point the way offers usually come to me is like:

“We love your blog. We’d love it if we could send you product A to try out and if you would write a post about your impressions of it.”

“We love your blog. We would like to offer you X dollars to spend on our site. We’d love it if you would write about what you selected.”

Seems easy and straightforward, right? You would think so. But it seems that the companies who employ these tactics almost never have anything I want so, I very rarely accept anything.

My own personal rule is that if I wouldn’t for a moment entertain buying whatever it is with my own money, I probably don’t want it for free.

The Harsh Truth

Here it is: Premium brands and stores, the ones that I’m looking for: Klim, REV’IT, Sidi, Rukka, retailers like Revzilla? They don’t need a low-level blogger like me. So for the most part what comes filtering in to me is usually from online stores I would never shop at or brands I don’t want. ::sad trombone::

Does that make me sound like a snob? Maybe.

At this point in my riding life, I pretty much have everything I need. Yes, of course there are things that I want now and then but I’m not trying to stock my gear closet on limited funds. That colors my perception of whether an offer is worth taking.

If you have limited funds – offers of gear for review are a glittering prize! It gives you a chance to get your hands on items you might not have been able to otherwise, all for doing what you’re already doing.

Integrity

Some things are worth more than money.

There may be an inclination of wanting to only be favorable to an item if you received it for free. This is a trap. Everything has cons. If you are going to review an item you have to point them out. Doing that in a constructive way can be challenging but it has to be done.

It can feel like you’re walking a tightrope. On one hand, you don’t want to burn the bridge between you and the group that sent you the item to review. On the other hand – there is this little pesky concept of integrity.

Integrity trumps all.


 

It has been an interesting and sometimes laughable experience dealing with people who pitch offers.

You Want to Work with ME? Really?

Um, online retailer? Did you just google motorcycle blogs and mine floated into your search results -or- do you actually read my blog like you say you do? Because I’ve got to tell you, nothing stinks worse than a whiff of insincerity.

When there is a low rumble throughout the motorcycle blogger community that a particular store has sent the same offer to many bloggers you know – it’s kind of a bummer. All this time you thought you were a special snowflake in blogtown, but no. You’re just one of the herd.

Knowing that a PR person isn’t looking for you instead they are just looking for someone, anyone? Well, that makes an offer much less enticing for me.

Online Stores:

If your PR person can’t politely accept a decline and borders on pestering – I definitely won’t work with you in the future. If multiple people from your store continue to make offers that have been repeatedly declined (politely) – you might need to rethink your strategy. You’re making yourself unwelcome.

If your pitch email has been copied and pasted many times over and arrives in my inbox with someone else’s blog name still in it? Just, no.

If you think even for just a moment that “patio furniture” is a good fit for my blog? You suck at your job.

BONUS: I Don’t Want Your Stupid Infographic

Ever.

I don’t want to post it, read it, tweet it or share it. Knock it off.


What has your experience with entertaining advertising or reviewing items on your blog been like?

15 Replies to “The Business of Being a Motorcycle Blogger”

  1. Hear Hear!

    I’ve been getting these “offers” as well, and my blog and writings aren’t that great.

    At first I was a flattered that they thought of me, but after I did a bit of poking around (thank you Google) I decided that banner ads and reviews on products I didn’t want or need was not where I wanted beheading.

    Besides, I don’t think our readers would appreciate it and we would lose more than we gained.

    I think you have summed up what most of us are thinking.

    Excellent post.

  2. I am just starting to get some of these offers with the show I am creating. I am very picky and I feel if I am not really going to use the product, then accepting it free is disingenuous. You are a rare, above-board blogger Fuzzy. Please keep that and continue to inspire others like me that respect your blog because of your integrity. I can’t say it any better than you – Integrity trumps all.

  3. While I don’t impose my belief on others, I will never accept a free product or write a review of one. It’s a big mistake to compromise one’s integrity. Back in the Sixties, we called this “selling out.”

  4. Accepting free stuff doesn’t make me any less of a blogger…

    You are right, integrity and honesty is very important. I love reviewing things. I am more picky these days (I definitely fell in the trap in the beginning) but I enjoy it and using my visitor stats as a guide my readers do too. Reviewing products/services is fun and also means I can get more from my multitude of hobbies. I work with a small handful of brands/PRs I get along with (have built a relationship with) and who produce products I generally like. I’ve written bad reviews when needed, although because I will only accept things I need or want it’s not normally a problem. I always try to make it clear when I’ve received something for free (or on loan) so my readers know.

    I guess I therefore sit on the fence a bit. I don’t like blogs that are only about the free stuff because I like to read personal stories, but see nothing wrong with accepting a gift and writing about it when it’s something relevant.

    I say if Klim, REV’IT, Sidi, Rukka or Revzilla contact you (and I’ve seen that they work with other bloggers – sadly not me), you should definitely say yes and tell us all about your resulting adventures 🙂

    (PS: Infographics… no no no!)

    1. I hope i didnt come across as making it sound like i think anyone is “less of a blogger.” I dont think that at all.

      The opportunities are definitely not one size fits all and each person has to make a value judgement regarding whether or not they want to hitch their wagon to the group offering.

      i’ve written some posts (not on my own blog) for money and i still feel like a dick about it several years later. it was the wrong move because my heart wasnt in it. i strictly did it for money. that was a learning experience for me.

      1. Hey. It’s okay, I don’t think that of you really, your post is well written – but often see posts from bloggers saying “if you do reviews then you have no morals” or “if you do reviews your whole blog is worthless” which is why I opened my comment as I did.

        You are right – these things are not one size fits all, and as blogging is a personal hobby it is all about what the writer enjoys. I love your motorcycle trip posts and always look forward to reading the next one 🙂 I know I need to get loads more motorcycling on my blog, just as soon as the weather improves!

  5. I very much agree with you! I get emails a lot….and never from any company I’ve heard of. I never respond. But they keep coming. Does make you feel good briefly. Then annoyance comes. And it makes me want to take their product and give a terrible review. :).

    1. That’s a move i never thought of.

      “I like this tankbag but, holy shit! The online seller has THE UGLIEST, most chaotic store and HORRIBLE outreach people that won’t leave you the fuck alone. Buy it somewhere else.”

  6. I’m one of those who took one of these online gear retailers up on their offer. After numerous emails and challenges such as why the marketing manager was using a Gmail account instead of a company account, I agreed. But they wouldn’t send me what I asked to review (battery powered heated gloves). So I settled for a tail bag that I thought might be useful. There were no requirements for a positive review but they did ask for an impartial review and if I never heard from them again, that would’ve been fine. That seemed like a reasonable request. And given the almost non-existent traffic on my blog, I wonder why they even bothered.

    I had been ignoring emails from this company for quite a while until comparing notes with a couple of other bloggers and decided that it was harmless. Not really much different from leaving feedback on Amazon.

  7. Well said Fuzzy. Where’s the like button x100?

    If I could figure out how to block all emails from Motorcycle House, Viking Bags, Kiara Wilson, and all her cronies I would. Sigh.

    1. A while back, I simply removed my contact info from the blog when things got ridiculous. A smarty or a person who really wants to can find it or a way to communicate with me easily enough. But it helps filter things down to the legit or truly crazy :lol

  8. Very well written post! I don’t post enough to have any of those kinds of offers, despite having written reviews that I chose to write about items that I bought and thought good enough to report on. I would have absolutely no problem using and reviewing an item at the request of a company, as long as the product is something I would want and use, and BTW, I share your taste in companies as well. I definitely don’t think that makes you a snob, just discriminate.

  9. I have done and will continue to do reviews if asked, but only on my terms. First, I get to publish what I consider an accurate review – good or bad – without interference. Second, the item has to have some relevance to my readership and not be aftermarket ATV parts, for example. Finally, the item has to be something I need and would use, otherwise any review won’t be realistic. So far the few companies I have a relationship with have been fine with that. Some others who have reached out weren’t, so I don’t deal with them.

    Personally I find reviews done by others to be helpful as, like most riders, I am always on the lookout for that perfect bit of gear to make riding that little bit more pleasant, warmer, cooler, safer, what have you, and I trust reviews from this community much more than those posted on the company website.

    As for my readers I leave it up to them whether they want to read a product review or not, the same as they may ignore some of my own original ramblings as not being worth the bandwidth – the ‘delete’ key is but a button push away.

Leave a Reply to curvyroads Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: