biz ladies by 93

biz ladies: online etiquette and ethics (part 2)

rosie_the_riveter1
Last week, I dove into re-living our Alt Summit panel on Blogging Etiquette bit by bit. I got pretty in depth covering Part 1: Comments, Copying and Crediting and wrote over 4,000 words, so today I’ll do my best to be as concise as possible* while covering our next series of topics.

Today I’m tackling Part 2: Submissions, Sponsorship, Giveaways & Freebies. This section of our panel had Joy, Emily and I offering our advice and experiences dealing with a wide range of topics, many of which we had differing opinions on. So these topics are definitely open for personal interpretation and feedback. I still struggle with some of these on a daily basis, so I’m most curious to see what YOU guys have to say about today’s topic. Blogging has changed so much since I started six years ago, and some of these topics, while once considered controversial (sponsorship and advertising) are now totally commonplace. So I’m excited to see how all of you see these topics affecting your blogs or your experience with reading blogs. I hope you’ll chime in with your ideas and issues, and as always, I’m happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you have about these topics. So, let’s dive in and discuss the etiquette and ethics behind Submissions, Sponsorship, Giveaways & Freebies. xo, grace

*Sorry, I failed. Today’s post is over 3,000 words. Hopefully we can fill the comments section with 3,000 of YOUR words and get a mix of opinions, thoughts and ideas here. Stay tuned next week for the final installment: Contributors, Collaboration and — my favorite — Social Networking Etiquette.

CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!

Today’s topic is a bit more wide ranging, covering everything from submitting your work (or blog) to other blogs to handling the freebies and perks that come with blogging. I’m going to start with submissions because this topic is one that Emily, Joy and I agreed unanimously about and sailed through pretty smoothly (with most audience members agreeing on the ideas we discussed, as well).

SUBMISSIONS

Reaching out to other bloggers can be one of the best and worst aspects of being a blogger. Though it’s exciting to make a new connection and have your work shared on someone else’s site, it can also be intimidating. What do you say? What if they don’t write back? Do you email everyone at once? We all agreed that our perfect version of a submission would cover these bases:

WHO: A friendly blogger, designer, artist or reader
WHAT: A personal email tailored to the individual blogger you’re contacting
WHEN: No more than once a week (unless agreed upon by the blogger you’re contacting)
WHERE: Email (not Twitter or Facebook unless requested by the blogger you’re contacting)
WHY: To announce a new product, new blog, new blog column or new event that is relevant to the blog you’re contacting

Reaching out to a blogger is like shaking someone’s hand at a cocktail party. What would you say to them then? Would you spill your life’s story and beg them to help you with something? Nope. You’d be short, sweet, polite and friendly. And that’s how submissions should be. Bloggers at all phases of their blogging lives get tons of email, so keep your emails short and to the point. Our panel all agreed that a few paragraphs would do the job.

But before you write, you have to decide to whom you’re writing. And this was something that I was thrilled to see consensus on among my blogging panel colleagues: exclusivity matters. I’ve heard people say all sorts of nasty things behind my back about how my desire not to repeat content that’s been featured on other sites is snobby and elitist. But the fact of the matter is that most of us really care about and love our readers, and we want to give them something new and exciting as often as possible. And that’s a HUGE priority for me and for many of my fellow bloggers. So we really appreciate when someone emails one blogger at a time, giving her or him the chance to “debut” or “break” a new story, rather than emailing 20 of us at once.

Bottom line: Email one blogger at a time, starting with your favorite and working down a short list of sites you’d love to be featured on. Don’t hear from your first choice after a week? Move on down the list.

Pitfall to avoid: Lying about previous coverage. Most bloggers within a niche talk to each other and know who emailed whom. So while you may think that it’s clever to say you’re brand new if you’re not, it’s always better to be honest and work with us to find a unique angle on your product or story.

Once you’ve decided whom to target, you have to know what to write. We all agreed that short, personal emails that are, above all, RELEVANT TO THE BLOGGER AT HAND were the best. We didn’t care as much about long stories and perfect pitches as we did about emails that felt real and like we were having a conversation with an artist or designer who took the time to get to know what our blogs cover.

Note: Sometimes people think being a one-man or one-woman show seems weaker or less professional. But it’s not. Bloggers love to support and celebrate independent designers, so don’t feel the need to pull out the “we” card or write in the third-person to sound professional. It can feel forced if it’s not genuine, so feel free to say that you’re the owner, designer and PR person all rolled into one. We can totally relate.

Pitfall to avoid: Always address your email to the blogger’s real name and spell it correctly. If you can’t find one, it’s okay to address the blog by its name, but most people have a contact page. Use it frequently to get the correct address and see their comment policy.

Once you’ve written an email, what should you include in it? We all agreed that with today’s crazy email loads, something easy and fast to read is best. A handful of simple, low-res JPEGS is all we need. No fancy links, Flash sites, PDFs, slideshows or PowerPoints — just something easy and quick to load. Keep in mind that bloggers often check submissions on their phones, so if you have a Flash site, you might miss out on someone who often works while traveling.

Now that you’ve got your blogger, your message and your attachments sorted out, you’re ready to reach out to people. Don’t be afraid to email the “biggest” blogs you love — most blogs are run by one or more totally normal people who are happy to answer emails and talk to people. You may not hear back from everyone right away (or at all), but remember that it’s all about taking that chance. Maybe your favorite blogger will turn out to be someone with whom you have a lot in common, so don’t miss out on the chance to have your work/blog get the attention it deserves and possibly make a new friend in the process.*

*I’ve found almost all of my editors and many of my close friends via emails that related to Design*Sponge. A simple, personal email can be one of the strongest tools in your business arsenal.

SPONSORSHIP

Okay, let’s dive into the stickier stuff: Sponsorship, Giveaways and Freebies. This may sound like all the great perks of blogging to some of you, but I distinctly remember a time when I started blogging back in 2005, and these were nasty words that got you snarky emails from readers who felt you’d sold out. I remember the “I’m an Ad-Free Blog” craze that went around (and all the mean emails I got for having ads on my site), and it felt like it all died down after about a year when a lot of people realized that there were ways to sell advertising without selling your soul.

Joy, Emily and I defined sponsorship in a few areas: advertising, sponsored posts, sponsor-supported content and sponsor-supported trips/events. Before I address the details, let me stress one thing: All of us agreed that these decisions are entirely personal and subjective for each blogger. There is no “right” or “wrong” amount of ad banners, giveaways, etc. to have on your blog, as long as you are transparent about sponsorship.

The stickiest part about all the ways in which blogs can sponsor things today is that they can be misleading to readers. And we all agreed that it’s our job as bloggers to GIVE our readers the choice to care or not care about ads, sponsorship, etc. If you don’t reveal what’s sponsored on your site, you make that choice for your readers, and that can damage the trust you have with them. So above all, let people know what is sponsored. You can gauge by your gut (and the public) reaction as to whether or not it feels like something that’s right or “too much” for your site.

Okay, now that transparency is out of the way, let’s get into details:

Advertising is pretty straightforward these days: banner ads, ads in-between posts and ads in Twitter feeds. People are all over the map in terms of what they feel is too much or too little. But the bottom line is to remember why you started your blog. Was it solely to make money? Probably not. So should you be spending ALL of your free time worrying about ads and ad clients? Probably not. Find a level of sponsorship that allows you to focus as much of your time as possible sharing your voice through content. When you find yourself spending too much time dealing with ad requests and worrying about ad dollars, you’re taking away from the time you spend on the voice of your site, and that’s what keeps your readers around. Ads are so commonplace that they can disappear to your readers; no matter how much time you spend carefully choosing them (which is a great thing to do, by the way), your readers are always going to notice CONTENT first. So make sure content is still the focus of your site and workday.

Sponsored posts and sponsor-supported content are slightly different. The first is something that an advertiser buys and for which they supply you with text or tell you what sort of post to write. Assuming it’s clearly marked as “sponsored,” it’s an FTC-sanctioned way to make money, and it’s up to each blogger to decide how they feel about doing it. I don’t do sponsored posts on D*S, but Emily at Once Wed has had great success with them because they offer her current advertisers a way to bump up their presence on her site and provide her readers with more valuable resources for wedding vendors.

Tip: Most audience members at our panel and our panel members agreed that no matter how many sponsored posts you do, make sure they’re always spaced out between non-sponsored posts. So if you want to do several a day, make sure they’re sandwiched between original posts that you aren’t “paid” to write, so to speak. If you find that you have to write more and more posts to sandwich-in the paid posts, that may be a sign that it’s time to cut back on the number of sponsored posts you do.

Sponsor-supported content is something that’s done on a more custom basis between you and a company. Maybe they supply materials for a DIY project or snacks for a party, or they want to have their brand associated with a column you do. This sort of brand association isn’t always clearly labeled as “sponsored,” so much as labeled as “brought to you by” or “supported by,” meaning they provided a monetary donation but didn’t necessarily dictate what you say in the post. I love these types of arrangements because they let you get to know a company well and find a way to creatively align your two brands’ missions. This can be a great way to support costlier content ventures (like video series, etc.), but the bottom line is to always be transparent about when a post, party, video or other aspect of your content is supported or provided by a sponsor.

UPDATE: AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

One quick note that I forgot- affiliate programs are an example of profiting from an editorial mention. The FTC requires that all bloggers divulge that they’re paid for any editorial mention so be sure to disclose that an Amazon links, etc that you’re profiting from are part of an affiliate program. It can be as simple as saying “You can pick up a copy of the book here in my affiliate shop” or just a disclaimer at the bottom of those posts that say “All Amazon links on [this blog] are part of our affiliate shop”.

GIVEAWAYS

This topic was a mini-hotbed of controversy at Alt. I listened to a fantastic panel on advertising with Erin, Maggie and Liz, and they were split two to one about whether or not giveaways were something that should be paid for by the company giving something away. I personally feel that you should never give away editorial space (which is what a giveaway is) for free, even if it gives your readers a free necklace, etc. It’s a nice way to boost traffic and give people a gift, but in the long run, it can be equally valuable to “give back” to your readers by dedicating more time to original content and fun ideas. But of course, there’s no reason you can’t do both. Here are some things to think about when it comes to giveaways:

1. They can be a traffic-building catch-22. Yes, they give you a surge in instant “gimme gimme” traffic from people just looking for free things. But those readers often only stick around if you KEEP giving them free things. So avoid doing so many giveaways that your readers come to expect them or feel like they’re owed them.

2. Giveaways, like sponsored posts, are best spaced out. If you’re doing a few giveaways a week, make sure you’re spacing them out between original, non-giveaway content. Blogs that build lasting loyalty with readers tend to do so through their voices, not giveaways, contests or gimmicks. At the end of the day, people want to get to know YOU. And they do that when they hear from you, not a sponsor.

3. Giveaways should be worth the cost of the precious editorial space you’re giving them. Maybe you do a special small giveaway every now and then, but is a full-post space on your site only worth the cost of a $20 pillow? Probably not. Today’s blogs are so busy with ads, flashing buttons, Twitter feeds, blogrolls, RSS feeds and other distractions that your editorial section is the one place where your voice can shine through loud and clear. Respect that space, and your readers will respect you. Choose your giveaways wisely, and make sure they’re worth your time and your blog’s space.

4. To pay or not to pay. Erin and Maggie both agreed that giveaways should cost the giver the gift itself in ADDITION to a fee for hosting the giveaway. I agree (see number 3 above), but Liz thought that, for the most part, if you were working with a small, independent artist, there was no harm in not charging for them. So when deciding whether or not to charge for giveaways, consider a few things:

  • Is it a company that could normally afford to advertise with you (like a national box store)? If so, they can probably afford to pay for that editorial space that they’re getting for the cost of a pillow.
  • Is that company a small indie seller or Etsy shop owner? Maybe they can’t afford to advertise, but giving away a small piece is something that would be a big help for them. Liz felt this was a great way to use giveaways — letting artists with smaller budgets give away something in exchange for exposure.*

*I am pretty protective about my editorial space on D*S, so we make sure giveaways are few and far between (and valuable when we do them). That said, I recognize the limited budgets of indie artists who can’t afford them. So if you’d prefer to charge but don’t want to edge out those indie artists, consider offering them some sort of ad sales discount, so they can still advertise with you but maybe at a smaller ad size or lower location on the site that suits their budget. There are always ways to help our indie artists if you think creatively about your needs and theirs.

FREEBIES

Oh man, I was the old lady dinosaur of the panel when it came to the topic of freebies. Freebies are often the perks that most writers and bloggers get excited about, but I shun them like the plague. Mostly because I was taught not tot take them when I worked at my newspaper and magazine jobs, and I always want to make sure I stay as impartial as I can when it comes to covering things. That said, there’s no reason for everyone to be as puritanical as I am about occasional gifts, discounts or free items.

Joy and Emily both agreed that gifts offered AFTER a post was written were fair, as long as they didn’t affect the post or future posts and especially when the gifts are small and not of significant value. The same goes for press discounts or discounts given after the fact, as long as they aren’t so significant that you’re expected to do some sort of future post based on that gift.

As with sponsorship, if someone gifts you something that you end up writing about, it’s always important to note in the post that it was a free gift/product sent to you for review. Most readers won’t have any problem with this (it’s common practice in the beauty and fashion blog scene), and disclosing gifts means you’re being honest with your readers, which is what’s most important at the end of the day.

Pitfall to avoid: Not declaring gifts of large monetary value. Gifts are considered taxable income if they’re of a sizable value, so be sure to check with your accountant about the laws in your state. Small gifts are not a problem, but if a company buys you a car, home or expensive vacation (lucky), you may need to declare it.

One of the questions people asked me about after our panel was how to politely turn down gifts, free samples, etc. from designers. The answer is to send the same short, sweet email we discussed earlier. Most business owners are people just like you trying to be kind and do their job, so just thank them for their kind offer and explain your gifting policy. Most business owners will understand and respect your decision. If they really, really insist on doing something as a thank you, come up with a creative way to give back to your readers or people in need. They can make a donation to a charity in your name if they really want to thank you, or perhaps they can give your readers something interesting or sponsor a contest that benefits your readers in a valuable way. Use that positive interaction and offer as a way to open the door to a long-lasting relationship that can result in opportunities or content that is beneficial for all your readers.

Today’s topics are definitely forming, changing and shifting under our blogging feet as we speak, so I’m curious to know your feelings about these issues and how you’ve handled them or feel about them in general. The more we all discuss these topics and know how people feel, the better we can handle them when and if they turn tricky, or if we need help or advice from each other one-on-one. See you in the comments section! xo, grace

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93 Comments

Laura @ Atomique47

I think you touched on some great points but as an indie designer – I have some issues with this.

Most bloggers are not very big. They’re not getting big ticket advertisers or big box store giveaways. Your points certainly apply to the big guys like yourself but when it comes to the average blog – I think you’re giving them the wrong idea. Bloggers asking for free stuff is getting out of hand!

I get several requests a month from bloggers who ask me to give something away to be reviewed and something to be given away to readers and buy ad space etc.. I think that is alot to ask of indie designers! The idea that you’d then want to charge me for editorial space is getting kind of nutty.

Can you speak more on what the giver gets out of this experience?

grace

laura

i’m discussing this issue from the blogger’s point of view- so whether you choose to donate something as an artist is entirely up to you.

depending on the site’s size and reach, a giveaway can be a very valuable way to get your product seen on a site (especially one that may not have necessarily done an editorial post on your work) and garner goodwill with readers/customers who see that donation as something nice and friendly to do. is it required? necessary? a must? absolutely NOT. i know companies that never give them, and as a blogger than rarely hosts them, i know they’re not for everyone.

my personal point of view with this topic is that they should be used sparingly- so i would never expect a blogger to ask for things to giveaway on a regular basis. it’s a lot to ask of indie designers and it’s a lot to ask of your readers if you’re giving up original content in exchange for what is often something that’s not applicable to the audience as a whole.

the bottom line is this: you have the right to say no to requests like that. i feel strongly that no reputable blog would ever demand a giveaway or free item in exchange for any coverage, so beware of any that do. that said, part of your job as a designer is getting your work out there, and if you choose to promote your work, that will often involve press outreach, advertising and more creative promotion strategies. giveaways basically fall in those last two categories. and if you consider how much ad space would cost, the cost of the giveaway and any fee attached (which isn’t something all bloggers ask for) is typically far lower than the cost of advertising.

grace

Claire

I have always like the Biz ladies column but this three parter is particularly helpful! I had wanted to go to alt, and after this I am going to make sure it happens for next year!

Liz/Cool Mom Picks

Oh my gosh Grace, I love every word of this. What a great service for your readers, and all kinds of bloggers.

I should clarify one thing: Cool Mom Picks generally doesn’t do “giveaway posts.” We recommend products we love, and if we give that sample away, it’s added value. It’s never the reason for the post, and in fact pitch emails headlined GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY are generally deleted unseen.

Just another option, among the (very) many to consider.

You’re one smart cookie, lady. I love these posts from you.

Alison

This post is just perfect for today! I was just looking this morning for guidelines on what to write in submissions to bloggers for my design work.

Thank you! :)

victoria

this topic was one i sadly missed not being at alt this year, so i really appreciate this post.

i have many issues with sponsored posts, and haven’t done them until now (at least not paid posts – i will do a post about a new sponsor, but i always say they are a sponsor and i don’t take on new advertisers with the promise of a post – it’s just something i do if i believe in the product, and think the readers will enjoy the post).

anyway…a lot of people have been telling me i’m missing the boat by not doing the sponsored posts, so you’ve provided me with some food for thought, and perhaps a way a can still earn a living, and not lose my soul.

thanks, grace, and all the others who provided input. xo, v.

colleen [there comes a yes]

I’m a dinosaur about freebies too. I went to journalism school — mixing editorial with advertising is still a big fat no-no in my head. I’m not at the advertising stage yet with my blog, but it’s not something I’m totally looking forward to either. I think you tow the line well.

Laura @ Atomique47

Grace – thanks for responding. I hope you don’t take my comments the wrong way. I think giveaways, advertising etc.. are all great ways for designers to promote. I happily participate when it feels right and politely decline where it doesn’t.

I realize that your post is targeting more established bloggers – I’m just seeing a scary trend of new bloggers demanding alot from indie artists without really understanding how it helps them or the giver.

Since this is a post about ethics – I was hoping you could touch more on both sides of the giveaway situation so that it is not abused.

Anna @ D16

I really appreciate this series of posts, Grace, and I agree with so much of what you’ve written, but I do have point I want to address, and that’s what you wrote about ad-free blogging.

I’ve been an ad-free blogger for about 12 years now, and during that time I’ve had two fairly popular blogs. This is not a “craze” that I bought into or something that I’ve decided to do on a whim. Not accepting advertising in any form whatsoever is really important to me, and is at the very root of the reasons why I started blogging in the first place.

I have zero interest in making a single dime off of my blog. I don’t want my home, my life, or my family to be a source of revenue, for myself or for anyone else. Period. I also don’t want to act as endorsement-by-association for a slew of sellers, corporations, and products, which at its root is what advertising is and why it works.

While I respect that there are now a very large number of bloggers who have made the decision to monetize their blogs and turn them into business ventures, that isn’t the model I’ve chosen to follow. That doesn’t mean that I’ve made the right choice for everyone or that I look down on those who do want to make a career out of blogging, mind you. I’m just speaking up on behalf of those who feel differently.

There is no way for me to have advertising or other types of sponsored content on my blog while still staying true to who I am.

I hope that other bloggers (both new and seasoned!) will take to heart what you wrote about focusing on content versus ad dollars, and stop to think for a bit about whether they really need or want to have any ads or sponsored posts on their blogs at all. Not everyone will reach the same conclusion, of course, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.

Brigitte

Grace – Thank you so much for sharing the details of your panel. I wish I could have been at Alt this year, but I had a work conflict.

If you are a dinosaur, so am I! I nodded my head throughout this post. Two things really struck me.

1. I am shocked that people talk behind your back, because you insist on posting original content. Why? As a reader, it’s a waste of my time to see the same items featured on blog after blog. And, the content that you feature is everything – that’s your brand. How else can you offer any kind of value?

2. Freebies. I’ve gotten to know more and more bloggers, and it pains me to see how many bloggers demand freebies behind the scenes but don’t disclose it to their readers. There are some people that I “should” reach out to, because they could potentially help me gain broader exposure for my writing, but I will not engage with another blogger that doesn’t share the same ethics about disclosure that I do (or, going back to last week’s topic, attribution).

One are I struggle with is affiliate programs. I have a posted policy that I do occasionally include affiliate links — all of which are for items I paid for and use and love. But I don’t always re-iterate which products they are if I link to them in posts. On one hand, I think it gets repetitive and kills the flow of a story. But, on the other, I do want to be as transparent as possible. It’s a pickle.

Asiya

I don’t think exclusivity is snobby at all. In a subject with thousands of ideas like weddings, there’s no shortage of possible submissions and topics. In an area where there are few ideas, exclusivity protects bloggers who are trying to build a name for themselves.

The one challenge for creatives is that they may have a limited product line but want to reach different people by targeting more than one blog.

Heather Davidson

Grace, thank you so much for this detailed post! I’m a super new blogger (two weeks) now, following your advice from previous biz lady posts (short post 5x, medium post 3x, and longer post 1x). I’m definitely still developing my voice and what exactly each blog entry will be about. When would be the right time to submit my blog to other bloggers? Now, since I’m very new and have a good amount of content? Or in a two to three months when I’m much more established? Thanks so much for your time!

grace

Hi heather!

Id wait until you have at least a month of content built up so the blogger you’re emailing can get a sense of your voice and style :)

Grace

grace

Asiya

Thats a good point- we always suggest finding another angle on your work to pitch- maybe you share a video of your work process, a house tour or something else personal that puts a spin on your work that’s new and different.

Grace

grace

Brigitte

Thats a great point- I forgot about affiliate programs- those are required by the FTC to be disclosed- most people forget about that.

Grace

Laura

Hi Grace,
This was such an interesting read as I have been discussing these very topics with blogger friends. Since I identify myself as a designer and subsequently a small business I tend to have a slightly different take then my blogger friends. It makes for great cocktail conversation!! My concerns boil down to ethics and usually end on the separation of “church & state” i.e. ad sales vs. editorial content. I trust that you, being from a publishing background write your content under the guidelines of a strong ethical code, however I question whether other bloggers have the same resolve and fear that some operate under non-published pay to play standards. I have received many ad sales pitches in response to media materials which I think is incredibly inappropriate.

Some additional concerns include; If my annual ad budget is $500 which allows me to advertise on xxx blog & xxxx blog will the other 50 blog outlets that I didn’t advertise with still be interested in writing about my product? The same could be said for glossies etc… but they operate under certain ethical guidelines.

And finally having previously worked in PR I understand the importance of timeliness when launching a new product. If I were to submit my work, starting with my favorite blogs, to one blog a week waiting for a “hit” and did not get one till 6 weeks out. That is 6 weeks of potential online impressions that I have missed out on as a small business owner. To assume that readers of xxxx blog also read xxx blog & xx blog daily seems archaic.

I could go on and on but I will stop myself. As you can see this is a subject that I am very curious/opinionated about.

P.S.I love your work and have been reading Design Sponge / recommending it to friends since 2005. Thank you for providing great content and leading the industry.
Laura

maureen lynne

just yesterday I removed my ads for other businesses to advertise with me..initially, I thought an extra grand or two a month would be nice but then I thought it might slightly influence my readers about the integrity of my blog and content..I’ve decided to do my blog strictly for the joy of it..and since I post about other blogs and artist occasionally, I think that my reader’s wont have any suspicions about my real motive in doing so.. but that’s just me …
you offer a lot for bloggers to think about and also their readers..I think it’s good for readers to see what’s going on behind the scenes of their favorite blogs and the issues bloggers face…
good post…
maureen

Elvina

As a beginner Indie designer and a blogger, this article has been very useful to me. Especially, the part about what do big bloggers like yourself expect us ( smaller bloggers and Etsy shop owners) to do, say in order to catch your attention and spark an interest in checking out our designs, shops, blogs,etc. Thank you for being very clear about what kind of qualities you are looking for. Many times, either out of nervousness, intimidation or simple misconception, people tend to make themselves look like something else. I know, it happened to me :)
As for giveaways, I had no idea that a giver has to pay for editorial space in addition to the gift itself. Good to be aware of that, as I was planning to submit for giveaways, promotions via my favorite blogs, which happen to be “big fishes”.
Great informative post!

Pam Kueber

This is a terrific post, Grace, and you are so generous to have taken the time to create and share it.

I was at Alt, and one of the issues regarding giveaways that also came up (at a different session, I believe) was that Facebook now has strict guidelines regarding contests. So, be sure to check the guidelines before launching a giveaway/contest there.

Randi

Wow! I had no idea there was all this blog “etiquette.” This is very helpful… as an artist, I never thought to approach a blogger to get my name out there. duh!

Sara

Grace,
Thank you for sharing this information! Last week I learned about commenting etiquette and this week about Sponorships and Giveaway…2 great topics for a blogger in their first year. I hope to attend ALT next year as well as lavish again!

grace

Randi

Please do! Bloggers love hearing from
artists- we depend on hearing from artists as much as artists depend on outlets like blogs (and others) for exposure and press.

Grace

Liz/Cool Mom Picks

@Laura/Atomique47

I agree that there’s a huge problem these days with bloggers asking for a lot from businesses big and small. We hear it a lot from small companies who are concerned about alienating a customer, but can’t afford to send samples to everyone with a URL.

It’s really incumbent on you to determine whether the blogger seems like someone you want to develop a relationship with, and it’s okay then for you to ask what you might get in return–traffic numbers, stats, conversions, testimonials from previous sponsors.

It’s a business relationship. And it only works if you’re getting something worthwhile from the post too.

Good luck!

grace

Hi Laura

You raised some good points, let me weigh in on a few I feel differently about.

For me, PR doesn’t have to be a 6 month waiting game if you play it well- you can email bloggers WELL before you launch with previews (we hear from designers like this as much as 3 months ahead of time) to get an idea of who will cover what, and how to give them different angles on the same product. Exclusivity requests are commonplace with larger blogs these days so it’s part of your work as a designer to come up with multiple pitches so you can get leverage out of a new collection.

In terms of what readers read what other blogs- it’s actually not an archaic assumption- it’s one we can prove easily with tracking software. Multiple software services can tell you exactly what other blogs your readers read (and what they’re searching go for) so you can try not to overlap with those sites too much.

Grace

grace

Laura

Two more things- I totally agree about the church and state comment. Its why we built a small separate ad team at DS and it’s definitely the easiest way to avoid sticky situations between ads and posts.

That said- most bloggers can’t afford to hire an ad team right away so theyre doing the best they can to manage both- but I agree that mailing someone an ad kit in response to an initial outreach email can feel totally uncomfortable.

Also- no blog should require you advertise with them to get editorial coverage. Those are separate arrangements and they shouldn’t have anything to do with each other. Of course both parties might hope for that (for a post subject to advertise and for a blogger to cover a current advertiser), but it should never be required either way.

Grace

Grace

Heidi S.

Grace,

Thanks for this post! As a new blogger, this post is VERY helpful and timely. It is also nice to gain some of the insight from Alt. Summit, for those of us who could not attend.

Ashley

Thank you for this! As a new blogger (I’ve only been at this for about a month now) your insight is very helpful.

Ilana @ mommyshorts

I just started my blog in August so I am new to the idea of getting paid for ANYTHING. But yesterday I featured a necklace made by an artist on Etsy (one that I sought out myself) and an online fashion trade mag (the editor is an avid reader of my blog) saw it and wants to feature it in their upcoming newsletter. This means that the artist will most likely sell tons of necklaces based on my initial feature which was free. I think bloggers have to recognize that the exposure they offer is valuable and price things accordingly. Although, I’m pretty sure if I had asked the artist for a fee, it never would have happened to begin with.

alysha

Thank you ladies! I have learned so much. Many things I would have never taken into consideration. Much appreciated!

Laura

This is so helpful- thanks for posting! The idea of creating different types of content/coverage for a limited line is fantastic.

On a tangent – I’d also like to chime in on the PSA to newer bloggers- I’ve seen a rash of bloggers sending mass emails to small indie designers demanding freebies for coverage, including threats to promote competitors if they aren’t given freebies (seriously). I’d advise bloggers in general not to go around emailing independent designers asking for freebies, but especially not designers whose products have nothing to do with your blog’s focus (ie baby product blogs emailing mens’ fashion designers). If you are going to ask for freebies/giveaways, at least target related designers and provide traffic statistics for your site – otherwise it seems scammy. I guess this is more of a PSA for designers that you don’t have to give your things away for free- the only legit free sample requests I’ve gotten have been for television or magazine coverage, and they often return samples after they’ve photographed them.

Thanks again for sharing all this great info from the panels!

grace

ilana

you’re right, and paying for giveaways is definitely something that has to be handled on a case by case basis. that said, i can tell you from experience that a lot of companies (with and without budgets) use giveaways as a way to get around buying advertising space, so keep that in mind. it’s one thing to work with an indie artist on a smaller giveaway and another to work with a larger shop that has a budget for ad spending, etc.

grace

grace

laura

are you serious? good lord. if that’s true and it happened to me i’d out the hell out of them. it’s like small-time extortion. lame lame lame. sorry to hear that anyone in our community treated any of you that way- it’s shameful and unprofessional.

samples and giveaways are one thing- if someone requests a sample and agrees to send it back (which is what a sample should be about- not keeping it forever), then that’s a separate agreement than giveaways. if someone demands a giveaway for coverage beware- that is NOT a professional person. demanding payment, giveaways or any other sort of financial arrangement is unethical any way you look at it.

grace

Liz Kaplan

Hi Grace, I read today’s piece and then went back and read last week’s. They and all your other biz ladies are really thorough and helpful. I actually like how long your posts usually are. It’s important stuff. I noticed at the end of last week’s post that you said you were on your way back from Tarrytown. Next time you’re in town you should let us know. We’d love to show you our favorite designspongie spots!

Laura

Hi Grace,
Thank you for the information on blogger lead times. I often treated them with a shorter turn around like newspapers as I have had bloggers “spill the beans” when pitched too early. Nice to know the big guys work that far out. I often have considered pitching multiple concepts to different online publications, so it was nice to get a “green light” on that. I do appreciate original content & hate nothing more than seeing reviews about Kate Spade’s latest collection on every other blog I read, which is why I often have questioned the requests from blog writers for exclusivity, if they do it for Kate can’t they do it for me? Though, as of right now I am no “Kate Spade”.

I also found the information on tracking interesting. As for the rest I will just try to continue to suss out bloggers who write with integrity vs. those that don’t.

Thank you for facilitating an open and honest discussion. – Laura

Laura @ Atomique47

Thanks other Laura for saying what I was tip toeing around.. I hope Grace’s post here will help teach bloggers a more professional approach to working with designers to feature, advertise, do giveaways etc..

Laura M.

Hi Grace,
Thank you for posting this! When we launched our product line in May we consulted with blogger friends to get a sense of pitch protocol, because there was really nothing out there on the web about it. Thank you for formalizing this. It is helpful for both sides of the equation. Cheers,
Laura

Kaitlyn

this was really interesting to read and i’m glad i did (i didn’t mind that it was long- it was informative!).

these are all things that you think of, but don’t necessarily get to have a conversation about. it’s nice to read the comments and see the dialogue. thanks for opening it up beyond alt, for those of us who love reading everyone’s followups to the event. i don’t usually comment on posts, although i am an avid reader- but i wanted to make sure the appreciation was acknowledged.

Jeanie

I can’t imagine emailing someone to ask for freebies to feature them. This actually happens?! Wow, that seems so rude. I learnt a lot in this post, thanks.

Jessica

Very insightful post. I really appreciate your focus on original content — it seems so many design blogs these days are little more than shopping lists!

notabilia

Thank you much, Grace. I don’t have much to add as I have no plans to monetize my blog right now.

I too come from a journalistic background and I very much appreciate when bloggers disclose all. I wrote the following on PRÊT À VOYAGER and I’d like to repeat it here: “A few weeks ago, I was given press passes to Art Stage Singapore and made that fact clear to my readers. In March, I’ll be attending some press conferences for Men’s Fashion Week Singapore and, if I blog about it, will do the same. My point is: it’s not just about being transparent about advertising/giveaways. It’s about being transparent and giving credit where credit is due, period.”

Madigan at madiganmade

This was a great two part series. I wholeheartedly agree with you about quality over quantity on blogs. As a blog reader, I hate wading through a blog for a real ‘topic’ that is not a giveaway or sponsored post.
As a blog writer, I do not have sponsors or giveaways (my blog is pretty new). Great advice! Gave me lots to think about if I ever do.

Laurie from House to Your Home

This was a great article filled with some great information. I’ve only been blogging for a year and am amazed at the amount of information there is to learn. As informative as the article was the comments were just as helpful! I was blown away that bloggers are asking artist for free things! I currently am ad free not that I am at all opposed to ads but because I wanted to learn as much as possible and be the best blog I could be before I took my blog to the ad level so to hear new bloggers are asking for free stuff, well…this is pretty unprofessional but they’ve got some balls!

victoria

man, this is one hot topic. and i feel like a cave woman. i’ve been blogging now for almost 5 years, and i have never ever asked for freebies, or even considered not writing about someone’s products because they advertise elsewhere. i don’t even have the time, or the inclination to hunt down where else they might be advertising.

i find this whole monetizing issue quite a struggle – i write my blog because i love it. i have advertisers because i was lucky enough to be asked, and eventually between the ads, writing for other magazines, styling shoots, my posters and any other way i can be a ‘renaissance woman’ and make a living – i was able to quit the 9 to 5.

i know we gotta make a living, but i hope the whole thing doesn’t blow up in our faces. readers have to be able to trust what we’re writing about, and honestly, i have a really hard time posting “this was a free vacuum cleaner, but here’s why you should like it, too.” it kind of gives me the heebie-jeebies, and is so not what i want to write about. i will probably fade into oblivion if i don’t find a balance here somehow, but even ‘transparency’ is somehow kind of lacking authenticity to me. i guess i’ve got a lot to learn. still!

thanks again for the valuable discussion!

lizzie

this is such an awesomely informative post…it’s tough to navigate the waters of blogging, even with a degree in journalism (i graduated a month ago and they’re still saying blogging is just emerging as a legit form of communication – some of us know that not to be true, thanks to awesome ladies like you), they don’t teach you this stuff…you know? thanks for the info.

Kathe Lehman-Meyer

Thanks for providing such useful and practical information. I’m sharing this in my Fundamentals of Oral Communication Class today at the small Liberal Arts College where I teach and run a digital media lab. This will inspire my students and help them design and write better.
I can’t thank you enough.. When in San Antonio come be a guest lecturer!

Emma

Best biz ladies yet (at least, for a blogger!). Grace, you offer content of true value to your readers — thanks!

I’ve never taken payment for giveaways, mainly because I think my blog is too “small potatoes” still to do so. I’m happy just for the freebie for my readers. So, in addition to Grace saying that these guidelines can change depending on your own blogging philosophy, I think adjustments also are made for the size of the blog.

I wonder how bloggers’ policies have changed at different maturity levels of their blogs. Might be an interesting post!

ann shumbo

Thank you for posting this. I cannot wait to go through all your posts on blogging and reading all these comments when I have a moment. As a new blogger, I appreciate from your point of view what all these things mean. This will help me understand when I am reading other peoples blogs what content I am reading. I have been approached and more and more now for me to post on items. While it’s someone elses choice, it’s something I have chosen not to do. Being in sales, I am sensitive and polite in my response and just advise them them that at this time I have to politely decline and maybe it was something I would consider in the future but at this time I have to decline. Very informative and much appreciated.

Margarita Lorenzo

A lot to take on, specially things I didn’t even know that were happening in the blogsphere, I have learned a lot from this post, my blog is still very small, to have ads included or me bothering with them. I don’t mind well placed ads and relevant to the posts, it is my choice to click on them or not, gives away, I have been asked many times for my products, but rarely have offer them, as I don’t like this way of advertising, if I do it would be on my blog as a way to thank my readers for their loyalty to my blog. I follow a blog for its content, not to get free stuff, things are changing very fast for me to catch up on them. An Alt event in London would be great!!!

grace

Emma

That’s definitely a good point- but one good thing to remember is the precedent you set by doing things one way at first and changing them later on. Any sort of policy change is met with resistance from advertisers, etc at first, so I’d just be cautious to not do too many giveaways up front so if you decide to charge for them or do less down the road you don’t get a big pushback from existing advertisers who don’t understand why they could do it for a long time and now can’t. Just something to keep in mind.

Grace :)

kenzie

grace I have a question about submissions, if you submit to a blog (maybe your top choice) with a new debut, and don’t hear back for a week, then email another blog, what do you do if maybe your top choice gets back to you 2 weeks later, but you’ve already submitted it to another blog? What do you do in that situation?

Especially if maybe the submission is a column or write up that would be exclusive to one blog? Is there a right way if you get excepted by more than one blog (the top choice maybe was a little late) to maybe rescind your offer if it means getting on the blog you really hoped for? What is the right and not rude way to go about this?

grace

hi kenzie!

great question- i’d follow up with that first blog after a week and tell them they’re your first choice and that you’d love to move on if they’re not interested. it’s usually the type of nudge that gets people to respond pretty quickly. but if they don’t, at least you were up front with them. i’ve had that happen to me and i can tell you from experience, that sort of follow up is SO appreciated and it makes me work harder to get to my emails faster because i lost a good thing ;)

but you can always say “hey! so glad to hear from you, i’m a big fan…” etc and then explain what happened and pitch a different angle. maybe some process shots the other blog doesn’t have, or some other aspect of your company or life you can share (home tour, recipe, videos, advice, shopping roundup to go “with” the style of your new work, etc). anything that gives you a different angle usually helps. so don’t be afraid to sort of “negotiate” the story with them. if you gave them a week and a follow up email they shouldn’t be mad or upset- you did everything you could to communicate your interest in their blog :)

grace

annawithlove

Hey Grace, I love these bizladies posts, I don’t always have time to read them between work & everything else! I have a 8 hour flight tonight and I’m printing out a few…SO looking forward to a quiet (hopefully) plane and indulging myself with some blog info!! Thanks so much for all of this! xo

kenzie

thanks grace! means a lot that you follow up. I love your blog advice coming from an aspiring blogger.

kenzie

Thanks grace! That is really helpful. I’m always concerned about feeling naggy or annoying to bloggers, it can be pretty scary to put yourself out there and just wait!

Dacia

I read this post with much interest because I just dealt with sponsorship on my blog (and I love to learn about blogging etiquette, it’s important to me!). With that said, I decided to tackle the sponsor space on my blog by offering basically free space to my readers, many of whom have blogs of their own or are indie crafters and artists. I did this for two reasons: I don’t feel comfortable, at this time anyway, collecting a monetary fee for space when I can’t back it up with huge stats and two, because I know that it’s difficult to promote your blog and/or business and I’d just like to help when or where I can. I’m anticipating running into some minor speed bumps w/this- like having a random person wanting to place a banner just b.c they stumbled across my post about placing their ad on my blog for free (or are they readers, just never commented? so how would i know, right?) anyway, in my post announcing this topic i think i gave a clear “policy”- and hope it was transparent enough, as you put it. if you have any tips for me, i’d love to hear them! thanks for this write up and all the others. -dacia

grace

hi dacia

that’s a very kind and generous thing for you to do, and i’m sure your readers greatly appreciate it. my only suggestion would be to have a clear policy for when you DO (if you do) start accepting ads. you’ll need to make space for both and people may assume they can always have that space, so just be sure you have a clear policy that you’re doing this “until” you start accepting advertising, or that these spots won’t be in a guaranteed location, etc. people can get touchy about that- free or not- if you start moving their spots. ;)

grace

Dacia

grace,

holy fast response batman! you’re good. :) thanks for the suggestion- i can see how this can get tricky at some point, so i’ll definitely plan to implement a policy about the duration of their spot and all that. thanks again! -dacia

grace

haha- you caught me while i was in here publishing comments ;)

i really think what you’re doing is super sweet and a very generous thing to do. i definitely don’t want to discourage it, i just want to make sure you’re protected from the unfair, but sometimes inevitable, backlash that comes from changing or removing a freebie people are given.

g

Dacia

yes, i appreciate it! i read your other summary from the alt summit and learned some really useful tips. someone made a comment suggesting you make a book of the biz ladies series… i agree! i’ve already envisioned myself making a blog entry with a picture of me holding the book with a really excited smile. :) -dacia

grace

dacia

thank you, that is one of the sweetest things/images i’ve ever heard from a reader. thank you, that made my day :)

grace

Carrie

Like many of the commenters here, I am also a new blogger. I’ve been looking to the big guys to see how photo crediting is “supposed” to be done. Seems that even some of the more established blogs aren’t getting it right. Thanks to having read this post, I can no longer claim to be ignorant.

Susan

Excellent.

Also. Another dinosaur here. No freebies. (though from a blogger or two who have become personal friends, yes…but I don’t do giveaways, etc. & they already knew that before sending me a bday gift, etc.)

maureen lynne

Dear Design Sponge and readers…
I feel I have lied when I said I removed my ad for accepting ads from businesses…it seems wordpress has placed ads on my site and I never even knew it!!!! they don’t show up when you’re logged in..it was sorta by accident that I discovered the ads….I make no money from these ads…some posts have 6 ads on them, what a shock…I’m now looking into my options to get a little more control of my blog…
sorry if this has been a little confusing for your readers, as some of them have come to my blog via my previous comment about no-ads…
thank-you for understanding…
maureen

Sara

Grace,
Thanks for all the amazing advice! I totally LOVE that you only feature new content. I am eating it all up!

cecilia

Grace and Victoria:
Victoria, I appreciated reading your comments. Transparancy and full disclosure seem to be the new buzz words even in the interior design field. I recently attended a seminar at the Design Center about how to conduct business in this New World Economy and the main theme was full disclosure (being upfront about pricing for services and products and disclosing our trade discounts to clients) – that being upfront and honest with clients and gaining their trust is the way to sucessfully run a business and to have a happy client.

cecilia

Grace,
With regard to the backstabbing comment about being elitest. When I was reading your post, all I could answer was, “seriously?” Someone seriously was that catty? I think that you set the bar high for all of us – as a new blogger, everytime I read Design Sponge, I’m impressed and often blown away with your content. How can you be snobby or elitest when you have created one of the greatest “free” online resources – Biz Ladies? I think you and your Design Sponge team set the standard as being the best – the most ethical, professional and the most creative – and yes, you stand apart from all of the Kate Spade and Elle Decor posts out there!

With regards to advertising and giveaways, sponsorship. My head was spinning (new blogger that I am, who hasn’t really delved into that realm yet). This was fantastic information (I love that Kathe is sharing with her college students). From a reader’s perspective, I prefer to know that the author of a blog is promoting a product, another blog, service – because they love it – or recommend – not just because they’re being paid to write about it (so maybe the affiliate posts are what I’d tune into more). I saw a banner ad on a design blog for a grocery store brand air-freshener, and it kind of disheartened me and slightly discounted how I felt about this blog that I have enjoyed reading (bc I thought the blogger was environmental and green and the ad just didn’t seem to match the blog). I do like and discovering new businesses and resources in sidebars, but as it relates to the blog.

grace

Cecilia

Thank you so much for your kind compliment- that means so much to me and everyone here at D*S.

I understand your feelings about related ads- that was something I was very, very strict about for years here at D*S. Unfortunately, it’ something that most of us have to be a little bit more lenient about as our operating costs grow, because ads like that are typically something you see when you work with Google Ads, etc. You can select which types of ads you’re willing to run, but often the advertisers don’t select the correct category for their ad and you end up with say, a political ad (which happened to us and was devastating for me) that is against what you stand for as a site. Sometimes ads like that slip through without the blogger’s knowledge or permission, and sometimes it’s just about being able to use the extra money that comes from larger campaigns to provide better content for readers. It’s a tough line to walk, but I can tell you from experience most of us are doing the best we can to make sure we run related ads as much as possible. :)

Grace

cecilia

Grace,
Good to know – about not being able to choose which types of ads show up – i.e. the air freshener one I saw on another site. I thought it was odd, but great to know that it may have not been that blogger’s choice. Thanks for the clarification – just goes to show, you shouldn’t judge…her content is excellent – and that’s what matters.

Lisa

I’m so glad a few commentators are mentioning the not-insignificant problem of some bloggers using their position/audience to actively get free product from designers that don’t know any better (etiquette goes both ways after all). I feel this isn’t a problem that is acknowledged much and I’ve had so many friends who got a raw deal early in their business – some vague promise of editorial coverage (“review”) in exchange for the writer getting free stuff (and generally, the more expensive product in their line). Any professional would not operate their blog like that but when you’re just starting out it’s difficult to know the difference and you’re hungry for publicity. The best way to compliment a designer is deem their work worth spending your hard-earned dollars on. There definitely should be a PSA for new business owners on what’s typical to ask for (IE samples are meant to be returned), and what’s simply preying on ignorance.

Tagsmith

Grace,
Thanks for the great tips. As a man I learn a lot from biz ladies. When I submit to blogs I usually send an email telling them about myself and what I make, and a link to my website. I don’t pick out one item to pitch them. I will try pitching one item per your suggestion.

Thanks so much,
Steve

PKae

Great info once again! Thank you sooooo much for helping us all be the best we can be and doing so without charge! :-)

I am newer to blogging than the rest of the commenters (whom I’d also like to thank for their insights and experiences). I have not yet started blogging.

I wonder if you could tell me or, better for you, direct me to something like “blogging for dummies” :-D

I’ve been reading Biz Ladies for sometime, as well as anything else I thought might help me understand and properly enter this new worl.

I decided to start a blog as an indie art/crafter because one of the Biz articles said it is the smart thing to do if you want to sell your product. So I’ve continued learning by surfing the web on such things as free websites/hosting, blogs, and becoming a member of Etsy.

My head is spinning due to this Part 2 article. As I read the comments I was confused on what blogging is actually for. Is it to show your product and discuss how it came to be (as many blogs I’ve been to seem to do) or are there a plethora of different types of blogs?

I also wanted to let Maureen Lynne know that while I was looking over various free blogs and what their Terms of Service were, I found one called 1&1 that seemed more “pure” if I can use that discription. They said they would not put ads on that you didn’t ask for. Something to check out perhaps,

Even tho the Biz Ladies article did seem to say I should, do I wait until I learn more about blogging or just jump in, using the great info you all have provided? Can I do that without having to worry about all of the above in the ‘first blush’ period?

Is sooo late and I think I’m rambling now o_O . I would truely and hugely appreciate any insight you OR your commenters could offer!

Bless you each and every one :-)

grace

Hi PKae

Thanks so much for your comment. In terms of books, there is one on the way. So stay tuned for an update about that soon. I’m hoping to be able to post something about that in the next couple of weeks.

As for what types of blogs there are- tons! People use blogging for all sorts of purposes and I think that’s fantastic. Blogs are like a blank canvas so you’re always free to use your blog the way you see fit. That said, there are definitely ways you can use your blog that may not gel well with other members of your community, which is why we sat down to talk about the ethics/etiquette side of things. But those conversations shouldn’t stop you from starting a blog when, and how, you want to. So please feel free to dive in to blogging as soon as you like- you can always learn things as you go (like all of us do) so don’t feel you need to wait until you “understand how it all works”, so to speak. :)

Grace

stephanie

grace, thank you for all of this invaluable info, and to all of the commenters for a great discussion from so many different points of view.

i must admit though (as a fellow dinosaur) that my stomach is a little knotted up right now thinking that my readers might suspect that any links or love i’ve given are sponsored or compensated in any form or fashion! yikes! i’ve been writing my little “journal” for over three years now, and the thought of being paid for any part of it never crossed my mind…!

my biggest challenge so far has been other bloggers using my images without permission or credit, so it was great to see those issues addressed in your post last week.

here is my question: whatever happened to just putting something good out there for the sake of sharing a little love or inspiration? or writing in support of a friend or a cause you believe in? when did it all become so mercenary? i will think twice now when reading other blogs…and i never ever want to question others’ motives or judgements….but obviously, the blogging world has shifted, and – while i understand that we are all trying to make a living – i did not realize the extent of the changes. i am reeling.

thanks for for presenting all the different angles on the new reality, and helping me get out from under my little rock and up-to-speed…i have lots of thinking & processing to do about all this.

susanna

This is such a terrific, informative post! I’m so glad that I stopped over tonight. While I don’t have sponsors, etc. on my blog (I’m certainly not opposed to it.), I’ve wondered how it all works. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Laura

(I confess I haven’t read all the comments…)

I’d be curious to hear from you and your readers about the appropriate time to start reaching out to advertise yourself. I run two blogs, one is almost a year old and the other is an infant of just a month. I have yet to really do much in getting blog mentions because I’m always afraid I have too few readers or too little content. And I don’t seek out giveaway opportunities because I have too few readers for it to do anything for the artist.

How do you know when it’s time to look for these opportunities?

Doorknobs and Daiquiris

I’ve always found it interesting that people refer to bloggers as “sell outs” once they start making money off of their blog via advertising. Why shouldn’t bloggers benefit monetarily? Especially when it requires dedication, time, and a unique vision. Thank goodness bloggers have embraced advertising as means to continue doing what they do best!

Brian Everett

Thanks again for putting together this advice. It is very handy for us artists/designers.

However, I do have one constructive critique. I know the topic of overlapping posts has gone in circles, over and over again and I can completely understand your stance (and others) about not wanting overlap. However, I’m hoping that bloggers can grow to be a little more understanding to the fact that some of us are relying on sales of our products as a source of income, and often times just being posted on one blog is not enough. I know that blogs aim to be high quality, but keep in mind that most of the time we have already sunk our money into the products/goods and now need to sell them. So sitting around waiting a week to not hear back or hear back from one blog at a time, just doesn’t work for the most part. That would mean I could potentially sit around for a month or two trying to get the product promoted.

I guess what I am getting at is I hope there can be some sort of middle ground of understanding. I completely agree that designers/artists should not just bombard bloggers and definitely need to customize emails for each blogger. But I’m hoping bloggers can be a little more understanding that we cannot afford to just email one person at a time and wait a long period of time before emailing the next.

Brian Everett

After leaving my comment and thinking about it, I certainly hope to not offend anyone. Sometimes I just get caught up at how difficult it can be to launch a product on your own and then try to get blogs to pick it up. I apologize for any rudeness on my behalf.

Grace Bonney

brian

i understand your point, but i hope you understand that bloggers have to make the same living, too. i agree that there’s a middle ground, and i think asking someone to wait a day or two to get a response (especially from larger blogs that get hundreds of emails a day) in exchange for a larger post with more exposure is actually an efficient and effective use of a maker’s time. bloggers have to do their best to make sure they’re not re-running the same thing as other sites, in order to maintain some sort of edge or separation from similar sites. if they all blend together, your traffic goes down. so everyone’s business sustainability is an issue here. but i think a few days of waiting time isn’t unfair to ask for, and asking bloggers to respond within a 2-4 day period isn’t too bad either.

grace

LindseyBee

Hi Grace! I am interested in starting some giveaways this year (probably 2-ish or so)–nothing extravagant, & this may or may not be a silly question…but what would your advice be on promoting a product I felt fit in well with my blog “philosophy/voice/style” as a “giveaway,” only I bought it myself to gift to the winning reader of that giveaway (Shall I call it, “giftaway”? :) )? I know typically a giveaway is where the designer offers the product for free for you to giveaway in exchange for more traffic, etc. for both involved, but I just want to keep it simple & truly treat my readers myself this way? I hope this makes sense, & didn’t know if this was in any way frowned upon, unprofessional, what have you, etc.? I may be thinking too much about it, but wanted to make sure I am doing this the best way possible :)

Thanks a bunch!
lindsey

Grace Bonney

hi lindsey

if i’m understanding you correctly, you’re not being paid to give away those goods, right? it’s truly a gift to your readers? nothing unprofessional about that at all- in fact that’s incredibly kind and generous of you. that said, don’t bleed yourself out of house and home doing things like that. every now and then a giveaway with a brand you trust and align with (and that’s transparent) isn’t the end of the world ;)

grace

LindseyBee

Okay great–yes you understood correctly :) I was feeling that was the case, but just HAD to be sure it wasn’t looking cheap or anything of the sort–since the term “giveaway” is such a controversial subject. I’m on the fence with giveaways as they stand typically, so I just wanted to treat it simply & as a “thank you” to my readers & move on to my content! Thanks so much for the quick reply. Have a nice weekend!

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