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.
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.
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
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?