If You Want Free Sh*t, Then Get Legit
I can’t believe he called me out at being bad at my job! To my knowledge, I’ve never been told I’m bad at my job in the nearly 10 years I’ve been doing it. But, it was meant to happen because I was meant to learn something…and WRITE about it.
In the PR profession, we work hard to engage traditional media (broadcasters, print publications), bloggers and the social media influencers to talk about our client and their products, services or initiatives.
Usually, we proactively engage them. This means we invite them to meet our client, or personally experience his or her product(s) or service(s) to net a (hopefully) favourable review or write-up. This means we tend to offer them them a complimentary experience or product with the goal of it being reviewed or featured in his/her blog.
But in recent years, we’ve seen an onslaught of bloggers, and many have established themselves as vital contributors to content curation. Many provide exceptional value to the online media world and are truly cherished by us PR pros.
However, there are a few people who have learned they can simply start a blog, and get a lot of sh*t for free. So, as a PR pro, how do you know which blogger is legit, or which is just in it for the free sh*t?
In addition to this, we will usually do our homework as well. We’ll try to find the information on the blog or website, and when it’s there, things tend to go smoothly for all involved. When it’s not…what happens?
A few days ago, when I received an email requesting a client’s product for free, I first looked at the website he provided. I couldn’t find other product reviews, I couldn’t find any blog posts, I couldn’t find information about the site, and couldn’t find a link to a media kit. It didn’t have links to shared content. It didn’t have links to Facebook. Twitter or other familiar social media platforms where I could try and learn more about this person. It did, however, contain a lot of lists. And some ad-like thumbnails of content that looked copied and hauled in from other locations on the world wide web.
So, I asked the person who emailed me to kindly provide me with two links to other reviews, the site traffic he generates per month OR his media kit. I said I was unable to find this information on his website, and due to the number of requests we receive for the complimentary product, I would need to validate his credentials before being able to send him anything.
His response: a URL to his website. No friendly banter. Just the URL.
My response: Thank you, dude (I’ll call him dude out of respect to protect his identity, plus I don’t need a law suit). However, I have reviewed your website already, and couldn’t find the information I was looking for. Could you please send me a couple links to your other reviews and a quick estimate of your monthly site traffic?
His response: Keep your item.
My response: Hi dude, I’m sorry if I have offended you with my request for your credentials. The reason I ask is because I receive numerous requests for this product, and we are happy to provide a complimentary item to legitimate and professional bloggers. However, due to the expense of the product itself, plus the cost to ship it to you, I do need to verify your credentials before I can send it to you.
HIs response: Never send me anything again. And then some stuff about how poor I am at promotions. (OUCH!)
So, what did I learn?
The importance of BLOGGER CREDENTIALS.
Don’t have them? Get them. Have them? Use them. If you want free sh*t, make sure you’re legit. Bloggers – help us help you because we know how much you can help us and our client(s). We appreciate you. We want to give you free sh*t. We really do. But please either put your credentials on your website (in a PR section), or don’t be personally offended when we ask you to provide the information to us.