I am writing to you because I really enjoy reading your blog, “Henry’s Blog (parenting)” and I have a great opportunity I’d like to offer you. How would you like to write a post about a subject of your choice, and in return I will supply you with two HIGHLY relevant links which you can insert in to your article, for FREE! I won’t even charge you to do this. Let me tell you more…
Yours sincerely, A Clueless Marketer
As somebody who both works in the world of digital marketing AND writes for a number of blogs, I feel reasonably qualified to critique the efforts of marketers, PRs and SEO folk who try to work with bloggers like me – and often fail. I should obviously point out that these are of course my own opinions – I dare say other bloggers have much different experiences (both better and worse), so please don’t get too annoyed if you disagree. But these are my pet-peeves, compiled over a number of months thanks to an impressive amount of bad ‘introductions’ I’ve received lately:
[Note: All the quoted examples are based on genuine approaches I’ve had from marketers – though I’ve removed any distinguishing details to save their blushes]
Don’t do any research on the blogger
Unless you’re offering something absolutely amazing to the blogger, your approach has got to engratiate you to the bloggers you want to work with. A little bit of research in to their blog and what they write about will go a long way. Otherwise, you end up doing what this PR does, which resulted in their approach going straight in to my “bad examples” folder:
I’ve read your blog for a long time, so I know how much you love writing about your three children. I’d like to tell you about some toys we’re promoting at the moment, which your little girls will LOVE to play with…
Treat them like idiots
Unless you’re a brand-new, wet-behind-the-ears blogger whose knowledge of the digital marketing world is zero, you will doubtless know of the many reasons why marketers might want to utilise your blog. One of the most common reasons you will be contacted is for SEO benefit – i.e. they want you to put links to their/clients’ website in order to help them rank better in search engines. I’m sure I’m not telling you anything new here – which is why I get particularly pissed-off when people approach me asking for links, and try to con me in to believing they are doing ME a favour, rather than the other way round….
Hello Henry, My name is X and I am 30 years old, from Bolton, England and about to be a first time father in July. I was wondering if I could contribute a post about the good/bad thoughts, feelings and anxieties about becoming a dad? Would I be allowed to include a link back to my own blog or my work site if ok? Many thanks
Expect something for nothing
Whilst I regularly post guest-posts from fellow fathers, I very rarely accept submissions from people I don’t know in some way. But it doesn’t stop people from sending me endless requests (like the one above) to provide me “free” content – and they propose it like I’m supposed to be grateful to them! The worst ones of all are the ones which imply I’m obviously a lazy blogger who would welcome somebody else doing the work for me for a change…
Good afternoon, I hope you are well, I am a researcher at X, and I am currently running a campaign for a major UK website. At present I am looking for sites with relevant content to host an article with a link back to their site. Based on the high quality and relevancy of your site to the campaign, I thought you may be interested in participating. The article that we could write for you would be unique to your site, relevant to your audience, and in the tone of your choice.
Ask for your stuff back
If you’re offering up something for a blogger to review for you, it’s considered very rude to ask for your stuff back afterward. After all, what are you going to do with a second-hand product which a blogger has thoroughly tested? No, much better is to let them keep it – consider it a small payment-of-sorts for them taking the time to review your product for you.
I’ll be sending the game for you to review, and I will expect to see your review posted by July 28th. After that, if you could please send it back to me within the week…
Once you’ve had your wicked way with a blogger, chances are you will be asked to quantify the result you got for them by your bosses. Obviously there are literally hundreds of different ways you could do this, but the laziest thing you can do is expect the blogger to do this for you – not least of all because it makes you look really slack. If you were lucky enough to make it through the blogger’s bullshit-censors, don’t then spoil it by revealing your ineptitude right at the last moment!
Thanks so much for posting that review. Could you just do me a favour and let me know how many readers your blog gets? Also, are you on Twitter, or Facebook?
Well, there’s five of my pet peeves, but as I said at the start there are hundreds of others. If you have a blog of your own, I’d love to hear about your own experiences in this area – drop me a comment below!