Almost all bloggers find themselves at the sharp end of ‘social media outreach’ and receive emails from brands who think a sample of their product is fair exchange for space on your blog. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. But recently, I’ve seen a huge surge in emails where brands assume that the entitlement is purely theirs.

To put it into context, I’m really not talking about the lovely approaches we get from many, many delightful brands that are courteous in their outreach. More this kind of thing which is a portion of a real email:

“We would like to engage you to become part of XXX bloggers community and appreciate if you can write a product review on your Blog or do a review in your Youtube channel.

We would also appreciate it if you could include the following in the product review:

  1. Posting of Before and After picture on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest
    2.            Describe result of the product
    3.            Share your honest opinion on the brand experience
    4.            Link to our Website, Instagram & Facebook
    5.            Invite reader to join campaign on XXX Facebook fan page.Note:
    1)      For all reviews made, XXX has the right to republish the Testimonial / Content / Photo / Video and etc.
    2)      1st  Posting XXX product review, 2nd Posting Promotion Campaign.

Has all the rights to pictures, video and content? Maybe they’d like our firstborn as well? In exchange for a tube of spot cream? I’m sorry for all the question marks but ?????!!!!!!

I don’t know any bloggers who would jump through all these hoops purely to be allowed to promote a product! My friend Hayley over at LBQ blog said something the other day about blogs becoming ‘brand fodder’ and I do think that brands have a huge expectation that somehow it’s absolutely incumbent upon bloggers to give publicity to any and every brand that asks.

It’s just not so. Bloggers take their words very seriously – there are one or two that just regurgitate press releases and can be viewed exactly as that; information only. But on the whole, a blog gives a rounded view of a product that the writer is actively interested in for the benefit of their readers – NOT the brands!

Once again, the blogosphere is changing and this time it’s the weight of expectation that has undergone a transformation. The day before I had the above email, I had one asking to participate in paid-for market research. However, it was so convoluted and over such a long period of time that it would barely meet minimum wage. There’s a huge misconception that blogs are still all about cupcakes and free products. We’ve moved on from there!

Blogs are a vast information source – combine us together and we are a force of nature when it comes to spreading the beauty word. But here’s what brands don’t know about us:

  1. We talk to each other. If you send out a generic ‘We love your blog and we want to work with you..’ email, we’ll probably compare with blog friends to see if it’s quite the opportunity it seems.
  2. There are Facebook groups for bloggers that flag up brand ‘misbehavers’ so the wool won’t be pulled over our eyes twice.
  3. We understand the term ‘work together’ as us not doing all the work for no pay. The moment you say ‘work’ you are in different territory.
  4. We know that hidden links are illegal and so is asking for them. So just don’t.
  5. We understand our value is not always limited to a bottle of face cream.
  6. We don’t exchange blog posts for food. A cake might be very nice but it doesn’t buy opinion.
  7. We don’t understand the word ‘opportunity’ as you do. An opportunity for us to feature your brand is your opportunity and good fortune, not necessarily ours.
  8. Your brand might be what you live and breathe for but we see many, many brands. Don’t expect to pin a blogger to a chair for hours while you explain each product in detail and expect to be thanked for the ‘pleasure’. I will (and have) literally run from this situation.

Back in the day, when there was just print to rely on, brands without ad budget were wholly dependent on the good nature of an editor to get seen at all by anyone. Ever. Blogging has changed everything for brands – the right day, the right blogger, the right product and a brand can have an overnight sell-out. This very, very rarely happened before blogs. So, before you offer out these ‘opportunities’ that give you all rights to our pictures, our words and our souls, manage your expectations.

*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.