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I try to be polite. I really do.

One of my coffee break favourites is Amber Strocel’s blog. Visiting her site is like being welcomed into a friend’s home for a chat. She’s got this great writing style that is so calm and inviting — even when she’s speaking about something annoying like the less-than-respectful manner in which some marketers approach bloggers, as she did recently in her post: “Moms, Blogging, Marketing and Respect.” 

Anyone who has worked in sales or marketing has generally had to do some kind of cold-calling before. I know that many people don’t mind this work and are quite effective at it. But I always found it painful. So when a telemarketer, or door-to-door marketer or a social media marketer approaches me, I try to be polite. I really do.

For example, here is a recent email I received:

Hi Julie

[Name] here, Co-founder of [Company Name]. [Company overview for a few sentences.]

I took a read on Julieharrison.ca and really liked your content. I thought you’d like to know about [product] that (we feel) would fit your site’s audience perfectly.  We’d greatly appreciate you helping build up exposure by re-posting it on your blog. You know, to get the word out :)

INTRODUCTION TO [PRODUCT NAME]

[245 words of marketing copy here]

As always, video speaks louder than we ever could so we’ve added a Youtube vid link [link here]
Please feel free to embed it along with the story.

Personally, as a dad, I know that spending quality time with our children are moments no parent can afford to lose. I sincerely appreciate your time and consideration in promoting our client’s [product].  Be sure that we’re going to amplify any mention you make on your site through our social presences which means more visitors coming your way. If there’s anything else we can do, just let us know!

[signature block]

P.S Don’t forget to let us know once you’ve published the item so we can help get the word out. Keep up the awesome work!

Sure, it’s not personal and clearly my name and website have just been slapped into a generic form letter, but hey, he’s trying right? So, I figure I could politely advise what might be the best way work with me (or other bloggers, for that matter).

Hi [Name],
 
I’m flattered that you enjoyed my blog content. You probably noticed then that I have never re-posted a company’s marketing copy. If you’re interested in purchasing an ad on my blog, that might be a better fit.
 
Best,
Julie

It’s not the most subtle response, but I thought it was polite and to the point. And it certainly was way more subtle than, say, what The Bloggess would have typed back (she really is a goddess!). He responded quite quickly with this:

Hi Julie

Since we’re just building up our offering here at [Company Name], we’re not yet at the stage where we can purchase ad spots.

Also, what we know that will be effective is really letting the blogger review [products] and give it their own thoughts. That’s what I’d love to have happen with you. Of course, we’re always building up our clients base so we’re going to be working with you on various [products] which eventually will require us to buy ad spots for them.

In the meantime, would you be willing to try the [product] for free and give it a review?

Keep up the beautiful work.

[Name]
New Media Marketing Specialist

Again, I try to take the high ground and explain that reviews aren’t really my thing. Unless you want me to review a fabulous all-inclusive resort or some sweet new Fluevog Shoes or perhaps even a new car. Then, okay, let’s talk.

But this? This is a product that retails for $1.99. Why would anyone spend time reviewing a product for $1.99? I just don’t get it. I wouldn’t even bother reading a review for a product that was $1.99 — I’d just buy it and try it out for myself. I reply:

No thanks, [Name]. But there are many bloggers who do enjoy and welcome products to review. I’m sure you’ll have great luck with them.
 
Take good care.
 
Best,
Julie

He takes my response well. And replies:

No worries :) Thanks Julie,

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you once in a while, I might have the right client that will fit your vibe :)

At this point I’m thinking that he hasn’t really heard anything I’ve been trying to say ( i.e. buy an ad if you want to promote something on my blog!). So, still trying (“trying” being the operative word), I reply:

Hi [Name],
 
Let’s just cut to the chase here: You want to use the space on my blog for free (by reposting your content) or you want me to spend time reviewing a product in exchange for its $1.99 price tag.
 
It’s a bit insulting, frankly. So sure — it’s a free world — you can contact me again. But I won’t bother responding next time unless you have something reasonable to offer.

Julie

I guess he’s moved on to the next mommy blogger on his list now since I haven’t heard back from that last reply, but I have noticed him tweeting up some folks.

I think it really reinforces the truth behind the title of Mom 101’s blog post: “Nothing in life is free. Except it seems, a mommyblogger.”

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the shout-out!

    I have had exchanges like this. Although, truthfully, I usually give up after the first reply. I’ve also had people tell me that they reviewed my site and saw I had no ads (when I quite clearly do), and one who asked me to re-print copy about an event that I couldn’t attend because it was 3000 miles away for free.

    Pitch me, fine. You have all my respect for doing that, I’m not sure that I could. But don’t ARGUE with me, and understand that my time and my platform have value. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, and thankfully many PR people do just that. The ones that don’t, though, can really raise my blood pressure.

  2. I have a blog post perculating about this topic too. This is exactly why I had to create a pitch policy. To STEM THE TIDE of Bad Pitches. Such a huge waste of time.

    Next time, just hit delete. Or better yet, develop a pitch policy of your own and just send them a “form letter” with the link. :)

  3. Sometimes you just have to be blunt. And even then they still don’t get it.

  4. Yeah. No means no.
    Clearly the key is to swear, or to write about stuff more. LOL. I rarely get pitched (the last one was for jeans which I accepted). (Not complaining.)

  5. Really enjoyed this this morning. As one communicator to another, I don’t get this crap. (Sorry, being blunt). Where did these people learn to do their job?

    Had the same discussion with a marketer recently. Replied much like you did: “I have never done a product review. Frankly, if you actually read my blog you will see that it doesn’t even fit with what I do there.”

    Hello, research people.

  6. Our priority would be to satisfy readers like you. Cash should come us a bonus

  7. Carmelia Shonkwiler says:

    Good blog dude Thank you

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  1. […] blogger Julie Harrison had this hilarious exchange about a review for $1.99 product, including this classic line: This is a product that retails for […]

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