Friday, October 4, 2013

Middle Man Blogger

I don't blog about "blogging" all that much. I stand true to the belief that to each his own when it comes to monetizing blogs and product reviews and that whole thing. But something funny and intriguing occurred today that cleared a bit about where I stand with (this one particular actually) PR companies and Brands.

There was a time, a few years back, before Lily got sick that I was more than a "once-a-month" blogger. I pre-scheduled blog posts and pitched companies I wanted to work with and spent hours upon hours on the computer doing my SAHM "job". Now, so many Moms (and Dad's) are doing this. Making full-blown careers out of blogging and social media, but ever since my hiatus about 2 years ago it just hasn't been the same for me. I used to get pretty amazing offers/opportunities and it was truly a win-win situation for both myself and the Brand. But once my readership plummeted and my posts became extremely scarce I wasn't mad. I was spending my time elsewhere, somewhere more important for me at the time. I hadn't become dependent on my blogging jobs, for me they were nice perks and unexpected paychecks that helped pay an extra bill here or there.

And today, I still get numerous pitches daily and I am slowly but surely trying to move myself back up the ladder to being a more prestigious blogger again, but it will take time, and it is in my hands alone if I do succeed or not. I totally get that.

But I got an email today from a PR company on behalf of a Brand. Shortly after receiving the original email, I got another email from the same person, "recalling" the previous email. And not a minute later, I received an edited version of the original email. The edited version had one paragraph removed, the paragraph was precursored with a short statement telling the PR person sending the email to

"{INSERT IF TOP TIER MOM BLOGGER}....we'd like to send you a gift card in order to try out our product (and this portion is paraphrased in order to not OUT the company and/or Brand)"

Actually, I'm not totally surprised by this. And I know that Brands and PR Companies will offer certain perks to more prestigious bloggers. That's their perogative. Those bloggers work hard at what they do and certainly deserve additional perks that Middle Man Bloggers like myself haven't earned (recently). But seeing it in black-and-white, right in front of my eyes, that obviously my blog and time isn't as valuable to them was a bit of a punch in the gut.

Now here is my thought process on this, just my humble Middle Man opinion, and take it for what it is.

I highly doubt they will get the coverage they are expecting by only offering "top tier bloggers" to try the product. It's the same "top tier bloggers" who will most likely want to be paid actual MONEY (and rightfully so!) to cover/review the product on their site, which this company will most likely not want to do.  For me, I sometimes will cover a product without being paid as long as the product I get to try out is worth it. Because I feel the more products I cover the more I can prove my worth to the "bigger" companies again. I know these PR companies and Brands aren't sitting there waiting to write me a paycheck in order to talk about their stuff on my site. I have to earn it again, and I own that. But I do believe it is a big mistake to only let those "bigger bloggers" to touch/feel/use/experience your products, and only offer us "Littler Guys" a high-resolution versions and a few fancy statistics, in hopes to get both parties to write about the same product.

So here's my answer to this particular PR company. 

Dear PR Company,

I thank you for the statistics and information you provided to me in your email (or EMAIL'S) regarding "Brand X". The information is useful and the product seems like a good fit for my family and my blog.  Essentially, I would love to try out the product and share the experiences with it with my readers. Unfortunately, without actually trying out the product it would be unethical for me to cover it on my blog. Even if I were to disclose that I did not actually TRY the product but just out of the goodness of my heart I wanted to make them aware of it, I would be performing a disservice to my readers as well as myself. Please explain to me what I would get in exchange for sharing this product with my readers? What about the hour+ I would spend compiling a well-written, edited and put together article? I would certainly lose that time in my day, all for the sake of sharing a product with my readers? An hour+ that I could spend with my family, or running an errand, or God-forbid take some time out for myself. When you realize that the "Middle Man"bloggers (or as you refer to us, NOT the Top-Tier Mom Bloggers) time is just as valuable as the next guy and you stop insulting us with your lopsided emails, then feel free to pitch me your clients product. Better yet, share this information with your client and see how they feel. Who knows, they might be in the same boat as you are. But realistically, if you are going to insult me with wanting me to WORK FOR FREE, then keep your emails to yourself. Save them for the "Top-Tier Mom Bloggers" and then let me know how that works out for you in the end. I'm actually looking forward to that email.

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