Article by Wendy McCance
Back in 2012 I began a small blog and named it Searching for the Happiness. I had no expectations. I just wanted to have a place to sort out my thoughts. Within a few months I began to get offers to write for companies and a few months later companies asked if they could advertise on the blog.
Within six months of starting this small blog, I was getting noticed in a way I hadn’t considered. I began to explore offers I was receiving to test products and write a post about my experience, would I accept guest blog posts and what about advertising space? I ran with this new form of income and accepted some offers, placed some Amazon ads and I opened a small website store. Hell, I even put together a free forum to help bloggers, writers and social media marketers with questions they had (which, by the way, bombed horribly).
What I found out about myself was that I was enjoying writing and handling social media for businesses, but my interest in selling products on the website was not my thing. I don’t know if it was that I found other facets of my now blossoming career more interesting or if I just wasn’t very good at picking up on how to make money by offering products, selling ad space and putting together instructional classes.
I remember being envious of those who found success blogging on their own website by making a career from selling their advice, promoting their books, getting revenue from advertising etc… but I just didn’t feel the drive or the talent to continue down that path and so I pulled back.
It’s amazing what you find out about yourself when you begin a blog. It becomes clear rather quickly what areas you are most interested in and what you attempt to do solely because you see others having success doing it. I realized that for my blog to be a success, for me to feel fulfilled in my career and for my blog to have good content, I needed to shut out all the outside noise and focus on what felt best for me to continue doing.
This brings me to the temptation of email offers. As my blog grew, so did the offers. On a daily basis I get pitches from people who want to guest blog on my site or who want to buy ad space or who are looking to place a link or do a sponsored post. At first I was flattered and honestly felt as though I was hitting the “big time” simply because I was getting so much attention. It took me a while to realize that there are offers that should thrill and offers that are simply junk. And, just so you know, most (sadly) are simply junk.
Here is what I’ve learned:
- When someone emails you, begins by complimenting your blog and then asks to do a post on a subject that has absolutely nothing to do with your blog, it’s junk! (this format of gushing about the blog they have obviously no knowledge of is quite common and annoying) A good offer is one in which the person has looked over the pages, understands the brand and can pitch something that makes sense and adds value to the site.
- When I receive an email from someone saying they work for a company and would like to work with me to place an ad or share a link etc… and don’t mention the company’s name, what they want to post and there is no company signature, I put it in my SPAM folder. If I can’t get basic information out of the introductory email, who knows what type of person/company I would be working with. I could be wrong, but it just feels spammy.
- Emails that pitch a vague idea and then request information about pricing, who will see the post, how long a post will it remain up on the blog etc… is not worth my time. I have all of the information on sponsored posts and advertising information clearly labeled under pages at the top of the blog marked, Advertising Opportunities and Product Reviews (depending on what type of placement you are looking for). What’s funny is in the beginning, I just assumed that I was dealing with a very interested person who had mistakenly overlooked additional information. I would reply with links that would help them get their questions answered and I would either never hear from them again or on a rare occasion I would get the counter-offer of a very low-ball price which I would refuse.
I could go on with other examples, but you get the idea.
I am very decisive about what I want on my blog. I will offer guest post opportunities now and then under a particular theme or I will support other businesses, bloggers and writers by doing an interview here and there. As for the offers of advertising and product reviews, I haven’t gone in search of opportunities in a few years now. When offers land in my email, I dismiss most of them. Overall, it’s just not what this blog is about.
The few offers I do accept are basically from companies I love and products I am happy to use. My favorite offers over the years have come from a product review site called Influenster. After initially filling out a profile on the site, I have received emails from time to time with a review offer the company felt I would be a good fit for. I have had the pleasure of testing products by Marc Jacobs, SK-II, Lumene etc… Although I shy away from many reviews, these are definitely products worth trying!
So as you develop your own blog and are faced with the same questions as to what to say yes to and what might not be a good fit for you, go with your gut. When you receive email offers, be cautious. There are few great opportunities out there, but there are many offers you will receive that are just plain spammy and will do nothing but make your blog look bad.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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