I am an independent blogger. Yes, I own a small business that provides copywriting, editing, and blogging services for companies for a fee - but this blog here? It’s just me. And I’m not getting paid a salary by a large media company or even a local newspaper to do what I do.
I make a small amount of money from advertising, but that’s not even enough to buy my groceries. I do occasionally write sponsored posts in which I am monetarily compensated for the service I am providing. And it is a service.
When I write about your brand on my blog, you are benefiting from more than just my writing skills and the time it takes to publish a post. You are benefiting from the years I’ve spent building a reputation based on authenticity, professionalism, and trustworthiness. You are benefiting from the time I’ve spent building my readership – not only here on my blog – but my following on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
For years, PR has gotten “free press” from mainstream media outlets who pay their staff writers a living wage salary. These media outlets have entire departments devoted to making money through advertising and subscriptions. Their staff writers use content from PR agencies to fill the empty spaces left after they’ve covered the other items the outlet is paying them to cover.
I have no advertising department, just a link at the top of the page for potential advertisers to contact me. (And sometimes those messages get buried among the deluge of press releases I receive every day.) No one pays me to blog – unless I specifically disclose that I am being paid to provide blog coverage in order to satisfy FTC guidelines.
When I receive a press release that comes only with an offer of “high resolution images available on request,” I see a PR agency that does not respect me as a professional. You are not doing me a favor by providing copy for my blog. I would be doing you a favor by giving you the benefit of my links, my implied testimonial, and the influence I have on the multiple platforms on which I promote my blog. And I can’t afford to offer favors to brands that are paying a PR person to mass mail generic press releases when I have bills of my own to pay. Unless I have already made the decision to provide such coverage to a brand I’ve already developed a meaningful relationship with – which I promise you is nothing that started by reading a press release.
I do have some really great PR contacts I would work with for practically anything, but they have worked to cultivate a relationship with me, and I do not work with them without some form of compensation. Compensation does not always have to be monetary, but I do have bills to pay. See my review policy if you are interested in trading product for blog coverage.
That being said, I won’t blog about just anything for money. I will only blog about things that I feel fit me or would benefit my readers. And that sort of editorial scrutiny is another benefit of working with me as an independent blogger. Newspapers and magazines will print ads from pretty much anyone that markets to their target demographics. They may print content with a disclaimer that: “the content of this do not represent the views of this publication…” You won’t get that with me. I have to personally believe you have something to offer if I blog about you. That’s worth something, because it’s something my readers understand, too.
Admittedly, not all bloggers operate with a “code of ethics.” Not all bloggers use due diligence when getting into compensated posts. Not all bloggers even bother editing press releases before publishing them on their blogs, because more content = more pageviews = more money through programs like Google AdSense. You probably don’t want to be associated with those blogs.
So in conclusion, please stop sending me (and other bloggers) press releases with nothing more than high resolution images offered in exchange for a post. This blog may be my passion, but it’s also my profession. Please consider the difference beteween salaried news writers and unsalaried bloggers when reaching out for coverage. If you do a little vetting, you can tell who the professionals are among the bloggers you communicate with. We really are worth the investment.
P.S. If you’re a blogger and would like to use the image I created for this post, you may save it to your computer, upload it to your own server, and link the image back to this page to provide proper credit: http://WELLinTHIShouse.com/pr-free-press-independent-bloggers/3352/