#BlogSchool: Check Yo’ Privilege (When It Comes To Brand Engagement)

Oh you guys kill me, seriously.

We’ve covered working with brands before, the do’s, don’ts and what the actual fuck were you thinking’s. However, I see the same mistakes when it comes to being polite to brands and it really grates with me personally.

As a pioneer of old age when it come to blogger’s being able to be part of outreach campaigns, I have had to deal with a lot of scorn in my time. Scorn from non-review bloggers, scorn from non-bloggers who think bloggers are a bunch of entitled, grasping, freebie hunters and blaggers.

For the most part, Bloggers who review are epic people, who will receive a product, go and photograph it for Instagram, write their review, and be polite and professional at all times. They also know, like me, that an email about a product, sponsor post or opportunity doesn’t always equal the end we’d like as sometimes, inexplicably, the lead goes cold.

If I had a quid for every time I have been contacted, on days out, holidays, products or anything else of all budgets that didn’t materialise, hell, I’d be that rich I could be like Katie Price and employ a Ghostwriter and go sun myself instead of slogging away at this blog.

Sadly, it’s not the same attitude adopted by some, and it’s a growing number as well. Which, to folk as vintage as me is a bit horrifying and irritating as it puts us back in the “blaggers” days and gives us all a bad name.

So to today and I won’t go into it too much for fear of being publicly hunted down and made to jog (seriously- one comment about this thought telling me to go jogging (ergo, I am clearly a fat burger stuffer compared to her svelte entitled self) as a reasonable argument to my shock and awe at the entitled bitch behavior being displayed).

Same old story- Blogger is approached. Blogger is offered item. Brand then, politely, and I cannot stress this ignored point enough as it was super polite, decides not to continue due to personal preference.

Nothing wrong with that. It’s up to the brand, however big or small, on who them work with. I can say this wasn’t a size issue, or gender or colour issue or I would so have joined in the righteous stamping and indignation over this one.

The blogger, inexplicably, screen grabbed this polite, innocuous message and placed it on a public, widely used Blogging group and then allowed others as mental as she is to publicly bitch the brand!

This, for the record, is the same group that, when I questioned the validity of the behaviour of a third party, frankly questionable blog/brand link up company who were not being open or honest with members, rather hoovering up as many names as they could to gain rewards from brands, I was rounded on. One of the third party was even given screen grabs of what I’d said then joined the group to harangue me whilst not making any attempt to answer my polite queries. That was OK.

However, no notice was given to the fact that:

  1. Plenty of times I have never even got a reason why a brand suddenly pulls out. This happens at least twice a month with products big and small.
  2. The brand person was super polite and apologetic, telling the blogger it was not her personal opinion.
  3. An email does not mean a contract. A collaboration only happens when you are in possession of the item/on the day out. An email is just putting the feelers out to see who is interested, however many are sent back and forth.
  4. It does not matter how many followers you have compared to the brand in question. If you’re not what they want, tough luck, move on with dignity.
  5. Slagging off a brand in public is not going to win other friends and influence people to work with you.
  6. The best course of action would be to be polite back and then, no doubt, another campaign would mean she would be top of the list for an item.
  7. My 9 and 7 year old are that savvy on brand/blogger outreach, they never question when an item doesn’t materialise.

I was told to calm down. I was told I was out of order. I was called all sorts. Admin, as is the norm with this group, told me off for saying that, actually, it was up to the brand, they’d been polite and perhaps some of the angry pitchfork wavers needed to educate themselves before attempting to work with brands.

I swear, the thing that made me laugh and then bang my head against a wall was when I saw someone, supposedly of intelligence, suggest discrimination was at play here.

WHAT!!!!?

No, ladies. Discrimination against women is rife, for sure. But it’s not discrimination to have a brand not send you a product for free! Discrimination is walking down the street and being called a fat cow by a stranger. Or being passed over for a job for having a child. Or being shipped off to a country to be married to someone you have never met. Or worse, being killed in the name of “honour” for refusing to marry. Or being a victim of FGM, domestic violence, rape or homophobia. Those are discriminatory practises.

Not getting a product is a bitch. Simple.

It’s disappointing, it’s a let down, but there will be other items, other things to try out.

No matter how many followers, no matter how big you think you are, if you don’t fit the remit, you don’t fit the remit.

Move on, behave, shut up, and don’t allow the attitudes of others to sway you. It’s called self respect. And it seems a fair few of the new breed of entitled, self important people who have appeared in blogging need to remember that.

One of my biggest brand engagements took me four years to cultivate before it paid off. The first time I reviewed them, I had gone off my own back and had simply reviewed it as I saw some constructive things which could be improved. That brand has now engaged with me for three years in a row, but, if they didn’t next year, that’s their call. Yep, I would be disappointed, but I would never go as far as to rubbish them on a group.

Things change quickly, and we can all learn that the best course of action is to simply keep on doing what you’re doing and wait for the next opportunity to come along.

If you get a rep for being a bitch, shit sticks, and you’ll find the work dries up. If they have less followers and decide to ditch you, that’s their loss, not yours, and the best thing to do is keep a respectful silence, or, at the least, politely email back that you completely understand and hope that you can work on another campaign another time. Bloggers who wish to bitch should learn they aren’t the only one’s who know how to screen grab, and no doubt this brand has already been shown this blogger’s anger, and others who joined in on bollocking them for daring to deny her an item, and I bet they won’t be high on their work with list from here on out.

Before working with brands, please, get a thick skin and know that not everything will appear in the post. You will be dropped without so much as a tweet.

It’s how you deal with that rejection that counts so much in an ever growing medium.

Suck it up bloggers, and check yo’ privilege.

🙂

 

 

 

Advertisements

Is It Just Me: That Actually Kind Of, Sort Of, Agrees with JosiDenise?

I could’ve actually put this post under the #BlogSchool tag as it’s a bit of both that and Is It Just Me to be fair.

Its (another) howling at the moon, bloggers up in arms moment in the old homestead of Blogland, this time an American blogger has managed to rattle the collective chains of many thousands of bloggers across the UK and US.

Her post “Dear Mommy Blogger” has certainly divided opinion, but for the most part the post has gone down like the lack of wine at a blogger event- not well indeed.

She’s not a blogger I was aware of, I don’t think many people were over here, but her click bait and rant fueled letter of anger towards all thing Mum Blog has certainly brought her front and center now.

I first heard about it on facebook but the site had been suspended, probably because it had been shared around 16.1K times and had countless and relentless traffic. I was given the abridged notes that basically it was rather derogatory to parent bloggers, especially those who review, so I waited to see if it came back online and prepared myself to be as cross as a lot of my peers.

I read it twice, at about 6.30am.

At first, I read it and read the angry bits, and the swearing, and the waffle bits and thought, well, this is a bit off isn’t it?

But, as I was only on my first coffee, I made another and read it again.

The point is, and I think the point that is lost due to the righteous indignation of people who don’t like being called out by anyone, much less a fellow blogger and the fact it is so in your face and directly put, there are several issues brought up that are spot on if you remove the swearing.

If you take out the fist shaking, in need of Valium and a nice sit down of it, I found myself nodding along and recognising some of the things she said that I had said myself many times in the last 5 years. All be it in a less shouting Harridan way.

I have often lamented the old days when we would comment because we actually liked a post or had an opposing viewpoint to express politely to that in the post. I have noticed that, since DA reared its ugly, manipulative head and ruined blogging forever, as my blogs are either on WordPress or a vanity url which has shit DA, I barely get a sniff of a comment, even from people who regularly commented on every post I ever posted before. Despite the fact that my writing style and my debate and opinion fueling posts are still here, it seems that the DA rule has meant my blog is not worth bothering to comment on as it wont allow someone to get a hit off my virtual stats.

I agreed 100% that the idea that anyone actually reads every single post we post is a daft notion- even Elder doesn’t read my blog, his sisters probably don’t get the blogging thing so don’t, in fact, I bet the fact my DA here is WordPress and not therefore good enough to bother with means I barely get a sniff of the action anymore, unless I write something which could be a bit controversial (to Mumsnet) and then I get thrown a bone. I don’t check my stats, so I don’t care, or bother to care, as my blog is my space to unleash the stuff in my head so I would write it anyway.

I agreed too that, actually, sometimes going to upteen conferences, and following advice from “experts” (most of whom are self appointed) can be very tiring, very expensive and get you precisely nowhere fast. I have long since gone to conferences to see people I haven’t see since the year before, drink gin with adults away from the kids, get a goodie bag and then I might, might, just take home some knowledge in the form of notes which I will be unable to decipher or cant be arsed to implicate once I get home hungover. BlogOn was the only conference I’ve been to recently where I actually learned anything, and that was down to the fact it was done in a fun, non preaching way. However, a lot of bloggers are still caught up by these (again, self appointed) better blogging Gurus and their lists, awards and seminars that are better than another, similar seminar run by another, similar outfit.

The best person to know how to do stuff on your blog that works for you and is your style and niche? Is it these outfits cashing in on blogger outreach, working as middle men? Is it old skool bloggers who have had varying degrees of success? Is it online marketers who will make your blog work and get you meaningless numbers of fake followers?

No.

Its you.

You write it, you put your personality into it. No one can know how you want to portray yourself online better than you.

I cannot even begin to imagine how needy someone would be to buy fake followers and comments. Seriously. I guess this is more of an American Mom Blog thing, as the stakes seem to be infinitely higher over there. But no doubt, give it a while and it will happen here too.

Once something becomes more drama, more cost, and more aggro than fun, that’s when we need to reevaluate if we don’t need to find a better hobby.

You only have to look at “issue threads” and comment rings where people are really pissed off with one of the chain for not commenting back. Why would you care? Because it hits your DA, that’s why you care, if you’re the type of blogger who possibly didn’t set up with the ideal of telling the web about your day or getting stuff off your chest. If I comment on someone’s blog, I don’t chase them over social media to bitch them for not commenting back. I just think perhaps they didn’t catch my post, or they didn’t have anything to add. And that’s fine by me.

Blogging should not cost more than a domain, should you wish to monetise your blog. It should not cost x amount of pounds for layouts, or y amount of pounds for fake followers and hits.

Yes, its frustrating when you read a blog where the effort has gone more into the layout than the content, and these blogs are the one’s I tend to avoid going back to.But never would I ever buy my way up the ladder.

When all this batshit crazy stuff in blogging has gone, I’ll still be here, tapping away at my blog, with it’s wonky layouts and its shit DA score.

So, whilst it’s hard to read what Josidenise says in her OTT, smack you in the face way, some of what she says is bang on the mark.

Perhaps its time for the Blogland massive to reflect on why it pissed them off so much?

 

 

Bloggers, Blackmail and How Not To Behave with Outreach #BlogSchool

Jesus.

I refer you to my previous post regards bloggers, and summer holidays and sunshine getting to us all, but bloody hell, the latest round in Bloggers making other bloggers look like shit has even shocked me.

We are talking serious piss take to make me blush and my jaw drop.

It seems that, not content with approaching a perfectly nice, small business, and asking to work with them, and them saying hell yes, come on down, no, this was not enough.

She wanted, actually demanded, £100 of stuff, for her and a guest she didn’t even tell them about, when they had put together a small gift bag of treats.

They rightly told her they couldn’t give her that much stuff, so she got the hump and stormed off, returning half hour later, like some sort of  modern day Highwayman after cakes and told them in no uncertain terms that, should they not give her half their bloody stock, she’d “review them anyway”. In other words, hand over the loot or I’ll slag you to death across Instagram.

Which is exactly what she did.

Yeah, I’ll let that sink in. She tried to gain a shit tonne of stuff for a write up, didn’t get given in to, so slandered the brand.

Now, the brand, having seen this on Instagram, wrote a post about what actually happened. The problem is, they had to do something, as it’s their small business, which they could have lost down to nasty behavior like this classless idiot, and they had a right to reply.

And reply they have, and named her too.

Are they wrong to do that?

In essence, I feel we can hardly blame them, as our little Blagger friend decided to slate them across not one but four separate posts on Instagram. I would have been  mortified as a brand who, like many others, would have thought a bit of brand promotion via the relatively cheap medium of bloggers was a great idea and would never have foreseen the bad publicity this grasping, greedy cow gave them.

Some suggest they should not have named her, and others have said they should not expect decent behavior from someone who promotes they give good reviews based on getting their own way (although she denies this and has since deleted the images).

However, the fact that, instead of apologising for her shouty harridan behavior, she has now suggested they are bullies for writing a response to her slanderous bollocks says it all.

In both sides there is right and wrong, but frankly, I feel the weight of balance certainly tips towards the blogger being a complete no mark and ridiculous to think she can write in the post that she has since deleted the images and “expects” at least a £100 before she will review something.

Expects!!?

I have reviewed everything and anything, and price to me is irrelevant. Being recognised as a blogger who can and will put something to the test, be constructive and then move on to the next thing is enough for me.

I think possibly this lady is from the realms of those who started a blog purely to get freebies. I started a blog before that all came about, and was flattered when brands found me 4 years in.

The thing is, you can say when something is less than you’d expect. As long as you do it in a  respectful way, and give the brand right of reply, then that’s great.

All this blogger has done is make herself look bad. And as for the excuse that she has deleted the images, well tough, they are out there, the brand saw, and frankly you knew what you were doing when you posted it.

The whole thing is just disgusting, from the minute this lady walked into someone’s business, got the arse and stormed out, and then bought the cakes just so she could slate the brand, all whilst menacing them that she would give a review “no matter what”, well it leaves a sour taste n my mouth for sure.

Once again though, its not just this one tit that looks bad, its all us bloggers who review.

I have enough trouble convincing brands I’m not some idiot blagger as it is without #BloggerBlackmail trending from here to China.

Oh yes, it has its own bloody hashtag trending on twitter, most of which contain links to both posts.

I really hope this blag artist gets herself offline pronto. There is no justification for her behavior at all.

If you want to review, you don’t get to go into someone’s business and expect to raid her their products. You aren’t a sodding celeb. You have a small hobby blog online.

Get serious!

And to brands and PRs now shaking their heads and re considering blogger outreach programmes, please know we are far from all that graspy.

Some of us are lovely, in fact most of us are.

And please ignore idiots with porn site names or stats who clearly have ideas above their blogging station.

How to Approach Brands Without Causing a Multi Platform Sh*t Storm

OK bitches. This is where I jump in a virtual rocking chair, grab a blanket and sit you mad ass mofos down, Granny style and impart my hard earned words of bloggy wisdom.

You are welcome.

Its the summer holidays, always a time when blog folk get bored and caught up with looking after our children ‘cos them god damn pesky and frankly inconsiderate teachers bugger off for six weeks down the pub. The bastards.

Its also a time when clearly the heat (or in this case, widespread rain and gales) makes us all go a little bit stir crazy.

Such is the norm in this situation, bloggers be bitching at other bloggers, then other bloggers join in on either side and it all kicks off, with me in the middle requesting peace and using words like shizzle in a vague and futile attempt to make everyone laugh and thus stop acting like nutters.

Today, one blogger in a rather ill advised newbie error, decided that, as it was her birthday next week, she would tie this in with brands.

Now, if she’d done this via email, I’d have to give Brownie points and think “why didn’t I think of this?”.

But she didn’t, and in a move not wholly uncommon for new folk, she used the much maligned #PRRequest hashtag on twitter, several times to every brand in the known universe (or so it felt).

This does have the effect of finger nails down a blackboard to some bloggers. Not to me personally, I don’t really hate on anyone who tries to get themselves out there to brands when there are flipping shitloads of bloggers these days. However, annoy people she did, and faced a backlash from some who didn’t decide to @ her in their bitchie comments.

Someone did though, publicly, finger waggling for her publicly contacting so many brands. It gives us a bad name she said.

Yes, it probably does. But there is a certain irony, not lost on me, for publicly bemoaning someone for publicly begging companies to work with them.

So, how do you go about approaching brands with a cracking tie in idea without causing the sort of multi platform social media shit storm that happened over these two and their tweets and Facebook passive aggressiveness?

Well, the best way is not to carpet bomb twitter.

The thing is, you can, and I have done myself, say hello to a brand on Twitter, have a little social chat, then say, “oh, are you looking to work with anyone at the moment?”

In fact, I would suggest that, if you put the work in and play the long game, you can happily build up a rapport with a brand are/or PR firm or individual and end up working with them. If you do chat with them, they will no doubt have a look at your Twitter bio, and they’ll know you’re a blogger. That way, if you are a friendly soul who sparks up a nice little chat routine with them, they’ll hopefully think of you when they are putting together a list for their next round of outreach.

If you aren’t in it for the long haul, or have a deadline to meet, say with Back to School or Christmas, then the best way to contact your desired brands is to make a list.

Once you’ve got your list, you need to fire up Google, and do your research. Attack it like you did your GCSEs.

This will take a while, but you now need to go to each of the brands, and scroll down the page, right to the small print.

Most brand’s websites will have a small Contact link, or, even better, one which says Press.

This is where you have to forget you are a lowly blog (cos we aren’t lowly. We rock) and click that press link. If the contact us link is there instead, you need to click it and find press inquiries instead. Take down the email.

I find with carpet emailing, the best bet is to write a standard email which I can insert the name of the contact in and the brand I want to work with. I also add my important stats, or my media pack with these in.

BE POLITE!

Do not be graspy, do not act like you are the best thing since sliced bread, but do say what you feel you can do for them and their brand. Explain that you can test an item out and will then insert a link to their chosen brand page, and that posts are then put out on all your social media channels. Got an instagram page? Make it known that you can show what you are currently testing and of course @ their instagram page.

You have to bear in mind that these people get lots of approaches, so you kind of have to sell yourself but without sounding too up yourself.

If you don’t get a reply, move on, try again next year. DO NOT DRIVE THEM CRAZY on Twitter. They will think you are nuts and they still, definitely will not work with you.

Most importantly, work on your blog, work on your social media output and gain a following first, If your blog is basically two three paragraph posts, and your twitter follower list is nearing on empty, that is not the time to hit up companies to work with you.

If you have a less than great DA (DA, this years PR for annoyance and smugness in equal measures and sure to be replaced by something else as before), but a good twitter following, mention that.

So, to recap, do not carpet bomb twitter in an epic style which will do nothing but offend.

Do build up relationships with brand, PRs, and other bloggers.

Do work on your blogging and social media output first.

And for Gods sake, please don’t be bitching at each other and causing fuckwittery. We were all new once upon a time and we all make epic faux pas. Just take it to private message, even if you have to ask said blogger to follow you first.

Elsewise your point about “making bloggers look bad via overuse of the PR hashtag” will result in “making bloggers look bad by causing epic who said what, she did this” anger and side taking. Which makes us look even worse.

And if you’d like any tips, send me a Tweet 🙂