Last week I received an invitation from Ashley in Alabama. It was less of an invitation, really, than a summons. Ashley’s PR firm is starting a blog targeting women “of a certain age,” featuring content that will focus on what they’ve decided are some of our favorite F-words: family, friendship, faith, fashion, friendship, fitness, finances and funny.
Ashley’s firm would like original, carefully edited copy, 500 – 800 words, please, accompanied by original photos and/or graphics. They reserve the right to do a little additional editing.
I know what you’re thinking. Ashley left out a few F-words. Like the Fortunes they aren’t paying for all that original content. Then there’s the Foolishness of my using my Free Time to come up with an entire blog dedicated to all kinds of F words like Flatulence, Fandango, and … and whatever else I might think of that starts with F.
Anyway, I didn’t answer Ashley’s email. At least not right away.
Confession time: I don’t actually answer 99% of the queries I receive through my blog. It’s impolite, I know, and really tears me up. But it’s also kind of a favor. I’ve stated right on my contact page I’m likely to make fun of people who ask for free stuff to support their commercial endeavors.
I’m sure every blogger on the planet is in the same boat as I, receiving regular requests to review games and toys, handbags, mattresses, skin care products, diets, or baby gear; invited to provide content for someone else’s blog, or editorial space on our own sites. All for free. All of which we’re told we should do because it’s likely to be of interest to our readers.
Well, hell, I’m not all that in tune to what’s of interest to my readers, judging by my wildly fluctuating stats. How is it that some marketer in Hoboken, or wherever, happens to have that inside scoop?
To tell you the god’s-honest truth, some days you’re probably likely to get more visibility for your product if I slapped a bumper sticker on the back of my nine year-old Prius, than if I posted a review on my blog.
Now, to be fair to Ashley, I do say on my contact page I’m open to guest blogging invitations. When I wrote that, I was thinking of other bloggers, and this fabulous, little community we have of talented, funny, generous people who do a great deal of cross promotion and love-sharing. Writers can ask for free stuff without fear of ridicule, and I’ll oblige as often as I can. It’s a little different for some PR firm somewhere, which probably just wants to say to their client “lookit the big pool of talent we have on hand to promote your new line of skin toner.”
I’m not keen on being anyone’s back-pocket blogger. Not unless it pays the mortgage, honey.
But maybe I should just be all a-twitter over invitations like these to do everyone a freaking favor so they can make money. I mean, what I’m doing here is obviously easy as falling off a log, I might as well be willing to do it for someone else on demand, at no charge.
I mean, goody. Wasn’t this just was just what I was thinking when I bought a URL, signed up for site hosting, commissioned artwork, and purchased photos? That I could one day function as some stranger’s billboard? Isn’t it thoughtful of me to get up at 5:30 every day and bleed my guts out on the page as audition for some PR firm’s blog for women of a “certain age?” Isn’t it fantastic that I spend gobs of time every week trying to figure out how to conform to Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm or pour over tutorials on how to design the perfect Pinterest graphic to get people to notice anything I write, as if it ever matters if anyone reads this stuff anyway?
That sounds unnecessarily bitchy. I actually love doing all of that, or most of it. Building this blog and maintaining it has been a challenge and a learning experience and something that makes me really happy. I also have a lot going on and a crappy memory, and writing is my way of trying to capture the little, insane, ironic or quirky stuff I’d probably otherwise forget.
And, okay, I’m also seriously addicted to attention and get a huge charge when people tell me something I’ve written made them spit out their coffee, or sounded just like what they were thinking. Someone told me recently they loved my “stupid little blog,” and their comment made me feel all warm and sappy.
And it also made me feel a little like punching them right in the junk for using the word stupid, but hey, thanks for reading.
Sure, there’s a little part of my brain, probably every writer’s brain, that thinks opportunity could come knocking any time, launching a career based on some mildly witty story about how I burned dinner or tripped and fell at a party.
There’s another part of me that feels really bad about constantly ignoring all of the inquiries, even if they’re relentless and my answer is almost always going to be a resounding nope.
That’s why I eventually answered Ashley in Atlanta:
“Am I correct in assuming, since it wasn’t included in your message, this is an opportunity for writers to provide free content for your new blog? Might there be some cross-promotional opportunity perhaps? Will you be shouting my name from the rooftops? Helping me get a little visibility for my own blog? Anything?”
I mean, come on, Ashley, you gotta give me something to work with here.
Otherwise, here’s an F-word you can work with, Ashley: Farewell.
If you click on the banner below for Top Mommy Blogs, then click again to show you’re not a bot or something, my blog gets a vote, boosting my visibility and inflating my ego. If that’s okay with you, I appreciate the attention.