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An open letter to outreach ‘specialists’

May 5, 2015

Last year I wrote a piece on why I was disillusioned with the world of blogging, and why I would be cutting back even more on brand partnerships. For the most part I’m getting pretty good at responding politely to PR requests (I got into a bad habit of ignoring these emails entirely) but lately there seems to be a new breed of outreach ‘specialists’. A new, lazy marketer who has developed a ‘strategy’ of working with bloggers that involves them coming up with a fantastic theme – like travel! or home decor! – and their campaign outline is… pfft. You do the work for me.

Every week I get a string of emails from agencies asking me to write a blog post on their chosen subject, include a couple of their carefully selected links, and then promote it on social media using their handles and hashtags. In return they will… possibly tweet about it. And I might win something. That’s it. No campaign idea, no comp, no nothing.

So my question to agencies that think this is an outreach strategy. WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY. And why are you being so ignorant and insulting?

For me personally, if you ‘love‘ my blog so much – why don’t you read the About page? Heck, why don’t you read my one sentence bio on the right, above my email address?! If you did, you might have spotted that a) I’m a freelance writer – I get paid for writing about things. Funnily enough, I don’t do it for free! And b) I’m a digital marketing manager. I do what you do. Except I have half an idea how outreach programmes should be run (from both sides of the coin) and again – I get paid to do this! I make sure that the brands I work with understand that you have to give something to gain something, and like to think that on the most part these are a success for both parties involved. Make things fun, give bloggers something new to experience and write about, comp them appropriately and not only will you build a relationship with them, you won’t be a total arsehole in the process.

So, in conclusion, when you note in your email footer that you’re an outreach specialist – you might want to re-think it and switch it up to, ‘lazy content writer that can’t write for shit and expects bloggers to do it for free, for the chance of possibly, maybe, winning something and possibly, maybe, getting tweeted from our account that has 473 followers!’ Tempting, isn’t it?

Why does this need to be said? Sigh.

 

13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2015 8:46 pm

    PREACH!

    But seriously, yes. Ugh.

  2. May 6, 2015 12:33 am

    Seriously. Don’t give them free work and free advertising!

  3. May 6, 2015 9:43 am

    Amen! I’m a blogger and a content writer. I get paid to write content for brands. I do not want your guest post, your infographic or your press release (unless it is for a cupcake shop). The worst recently was a well known magazine wanting bloggers to write content for free for their local blog. In exchange for an ‘event’ which will probably never happen. I have a very ranty post in draft….

    • May 19, 2015 1:29 pm

      Have you published your rant? Point me to it! I love reading what others get ‘offered’.

  4. May 6, 2015 6:54 pm

    Yes! I feel like those kinds of emails have gotten even more frequent lately. I used to be way less discriminating with products I accepted too but have become much more so recently since a free sample doesn’t exactly qualify for the time it takes to write a blog post – especially if recipe development and photography are involved.

    • May 19, 2015 1:30 pm

      Exactly – I never really thought about the time that I put into blog posts until now. If I set up a proper shoot, edit the photos, write the content, seek out links, add social media platforms, share on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… seriously?!

  5. May 7, 2015 11:15 am

    YUP! I have heard that your “about” page was the most read page of all on your blog? I actually dont think this is true at all! Sometimes I actually hate the blogging world for this very reason!

    • May 19, 2015 1:31 pm

      Really! I never knew that. As you say, I find it hard to believe judging by half the emails I get!

  6. May 11, 2015 12:58 pm

    I think you’ve just articulated how lot’s of us established bloggers are thinking. I hate how they mention one thing you have written about that they ‘loved’ to make you think that they read your blog! I’m afraid I’ve started to not reply to most and the above mentioned well known magazine wanting free content for the local blog particularly annoyed me.

    • May 19, 2015 1:32 pm

      It’s the free content for no comp that really gets to me. I’m trying to get better with my email responses, although I have to admit I did just copy and paste the link to the blog in response to one…

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