I realize that as a mommy-blogger-turned-life-blogger I am a bit out of the loop where most of the women bloggers I know are concerned. I haven’t kept up with the pressing issues of the blogosphere because quite frankly, I’ve been a little busy with real life shit. Planning a conference, getting sued for herpes I don’t have, nearly getting kicked out of my home…Pretty heavy stuff.
Today I read about the Blogger PR Blackout, and I wondered if in my absence the mommybloggers of the world have started drinking. Heavily. On top of their Xanax.
Seriously ladies. What. The. Fuck?
In the three years I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned a good bit about PR. I’ve been offered, and taken, some of the cool products offered in exchange for writing about them on my blog. I’ve turned down at least 20x as many as have been offered, and lately I’m not taking them at all, because quite frankly I’ve got no patience for that kind of thing anymore. I barely find the time and motivation to write, much less write about some dvd that I could give two shits about just because someone offered to give me a free copy.
The thing I’ve taken away from my blogging/PR experiences? Just like writing in general, just like any hobby, you have the choice of how much time to put into it. You decide whether to decide to post daily, or weekly, or twice a damn year if that’s what your schedule allows. And the same goes with these product reviews, contests, and whatever else.
That said, I’m sorely confused by why anyone feels so burned out on doing this sort of thing that they feel a ‘blackout week’ is needed. Who granted these PR companies the power to thrust products and press-releases at these poor bloggers who apparently have trouble with the word “no”?
As far as I can see, any blogger who feels “burned out” on these things is sitting in a shit-pile of their own making, and I have absolutely no sympathy.
Unless you are a pro-blogger (and not many are), the fact is this- blogging is NOT a job. Those free products may stock your cleaning cabinet or snack drawer a little better, but most bloggers are not getting paid for these reviews, yet they seem to like to act like they are. They take themselves and their ‘job’ so seriously you’d almost think they are best buddies with the CEO of whatever company they are shilling for at the moment instead of a blogger giving away their time and effort for little more than a $3 box of yogurts.
And let’s face it, those reviews you so pain-painstakingly labor over? Unless you are giving away a product yourself, no one reads them. Even having previously run a review blog myself, I can honestly say in general, I’d rather have toothpicks rammed under every finger and toenail I have than read about why your little Johnny or Suzie loves pudding pops. It’s boring. as. hell. I may love you and want you to be my new online BFF, but please, for the love of christ do NOT make me read that shit.
My point here? No one is making you do it, so if you feel burned out, just STOP DOING IT. It’s not that hard, and unlike coming off your Zoloft, you don’t even have to ease off it. Just stop. Learn to say no. You know, that word you use so often when your man gives you that come-hither look? Yeah, that word. Or hell, maybe the reason you are telling him no is because you are too busy writing those crappy reviews.
The PR industry is not the problem here, it’s the bloggers who take the products and then bitch about how busy they are because they have to pay the piper for that cool new gadget they got.
And the fact that MomDot is the one calling for this “PR Blackout”? Did I miss the part where they have given up their own ‘special relationship’ with certain companies they work with? Somehow a site that very regularly runs sponsored contests and giveaways suddenly changing their tune and issuing a “PR Blackout week” reads less like concern for others, and more like a publicity stunt. But hey, what do I know?
Overall, I think this is yet another self-induced tempest in a teapot that mommybloggers are getting behind because by their very nature, they are quite prone to
A. Needing a cause to rally behind to give themselves a sense of purpose and
B. Having a hard time saying no. It’s a powerful combination, and one that I’m sure gives Excedrine a fair amount of sales every year.
It certainly gives me a headache reading about it.
In short, cut the crap, and just stop doing the damn reviews. I promise you the world will not come crashing down, and everyone will still think you are just as special, even when you don’t get the joy of saying you are working with this company or that.
And hey, without all the promotional garbage, I just might start reading your blog again.
A huge thank you to Tamara at Special Ops Media for thinking of me when the iCarly Season 1 dvd was released! My daughter and I watch iCarly together almost every weeknight, and she was over the moon excited to get to check out this disc. Seeing as how it has not once left the dvd player since it arrived, I can tell you it is a huge hit here. There are special features on the disc you should check out, but truthfully, she’s not stopped playing the episodes long enough to even look. LOL. If you have an iCarly fan in the house, definitely pick this up, and if your kids have not yet been introduced to the series, this is a great time to start! The show is tame enough for kids of all ages, but funny enough even adults in the house will enjoy it. Added value- kids at school will think you are wicked cool when you tell them “Of coarse I watch iCarly, who doesn’t?”.
In other ‘Way too cool not to share’ news, special thanks to Lia at Exponent PR for introducing me to the Groovy Girls RSVP line of dolls. Never heard of them? I hadn’t either, but boy am I telling anyone who will listen now!
Unlike most fashion dolls today, the Groovy Girls line does not include hooker heels, skimpy clothes, or little faces with what looks like 6 tons of painted on makeup. In fact, they aren’t even hard plastic, but soft cloth, so they are appropriate for kids as young as 3. Don’t let the soft-doll thing fool you though, they are anything but boring. With boutique-style clothing and several with colored streaks in their hair, these are definitely not your mother’s Raggedy Ann dolls. Come to think of it, Raggedy Ann never came with codes to use in a virtual world like that on GroovyGirls.com either. Welcome to 2008!
It’s not too early to start your Christmas shopping, and I give these two products a hugely enthusiastic two thumbs up
If you are a blogger, chances are at some point you’ve been contacted by a PR rep, asking you to pitch some product or service to your readers.
“Here are some images,” they say, “and here is a link to more information, quotes from the author/director/creator, and look what somemagazineyouhaven’theardof said about it!” Then it comes..”We hope you will spread the word to your readers about this amazing random product, and please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help you promote it!”
Why do they send these things? At the core of it, bloggers are influencers. We put pen to paper(so to speak) about everything we love and hate, and other people read them. Sometimes lots of people. And those people tell other people. Bloggers are a PR company’s dream in the age of people putting down their tv remotes and instead turning to blogs, networking sites, and other forms of social media.
Like most bloggers, I don’t mind telling others when I have found a great new product or site. I also don’t mind companies suggesting products to me. What I have a hard time with is the idea that bloggers don’t need to be compensated in any way for their time and effort.
This concept was driven home to me when I received a pitch from NewMoonGirls.com asking me to check out their business, which promotes a website and a magazine for pre-teen girls. Having a daughter in their target age, I was interested, and replied back, stating that while I generally charged for a full review, in this case I liked the product enough I would be willing to give them a bit of positive promotion in exchange for a 2 year subscription to their girls’ magazine(A $40 total if I remember right.) I get a nice gift for my daughter, and they get the benefit of the eyes and ears of my readership, some of whom might be interested themselves. Win-win. I do deals like this fairly often, and most people are happy to do so. Those that don’t just don’t reply, and that’s ok too.
What surprised me was when I got an answer like this-
Hi Sara -
Thanks for your e-mail and interest in New Moon Girls. I’m so glad you liked the site! While we appreciate your kind offer to feature us on your blogs, it is our policy not to offer compensation for reviews.
We do have an affiliate program and would be delighted to work with you in that way to help generate revenue for your site. If you’d like to learn more about participating in that, please let me know.
I do hope that you will let me know if I might be of assistance to you as a resource for a guest blog, interview, or anything else. Thanks again for your interest in New Moon Girls.
(Name removed to protect the not-so-innocent)
Let’s recap, shall we?
Thanks for your e-mail and interest in New Moon Girls. I’m so glad you liked the site! While we appreciate your kind offer to feature us on your blogs, (Kind offer? Did you not contact me asking for just that? )
it is our policy not to offer compensation for reviews. = We expect you to make us money, not the other way around.
We do have an affiliate program and would be delighted to work with you in that way to help generate revenue for your site. If you’d like to learn more about participating in that, please let me know. Ok, we’ll throw you a tiny scrap, but in general, we still want you to make us money for pretty much nothing.
I do hope that you will let me know if I might be of assistance to you as a resource for a guest blog, interview, or anything else. Thanks again for your interest in New Moon Girls. One last shot at trying to get you to work for us for nothing, and let me make it sound like you contacted us, because really, we are doing you the favor here.
What got me here was not the rejection, but the attitude surrounding it. No “I’m sorry, but…”, just the matter of fact-ness that they expect this done for free, and continued to pitch me after stating this. Truly friends, these people have bigger balls than I do.
The lesson to take away from this is that when you come to a blogger’s house(their site), act like the guest you are. Appreciate your host and the hospitality they are giving you through space on their site, and don’t promote the attitude that they should just be grateful you have barged into their inbox uninvited.
Even when you can’t give us what we deserve, we might still offer you tea and cookies if you can remember the manners your mama taught you about how to act in someone else’s home.