…even if you think it’s not that much.
I wanted to do this quick blog entry for those of you who are blogging (whether you’re new or somewhat seasoned) who may not be privy to this sort of information. Truthfully speaking, what I’m about to share should be considered common knowledge but I don’t fault anyone for not knowing better. Since a lot (not all) of larger bloggers usually withhold certain pieces of information, every now and then, I’ll share with you my own experiences. You can either take it and use it to your advantage or completely ignore it. But somewhere out there, there’s somebody that can benefit.
When I started my blog in June 2009, I had no clue what the possibilities were. Even in witnessing some of the huge transformation of some of my favorites, I was still somewhat oblivious to how the blogging game worked. I asked questions, I google’d, I did all that I had to do to fill my head with as much knowledge as possible. Although I am absolutely NOT in the same ranks as some of the more notable bloggers, I will say that I have learned quite a bit. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned (aside from DO NOT WORK WITH AD GROUPS) is that it’s important to know you and your blogs worth.
There are several of you who will read this and write it off as something that you don’t need to hear…either b/c you’re blog is already the shizzle dizzle or because you seem to think that because you don’t have the same large audience that some of the bigger blogs have, you have to take what you can get. But every publicist, label, marketing director, etc., is NOT looking out for you and your best interest. Trust me.
Once you start a blog, what generally happens is you’ll get contacted by various publicists or street teams, people from labels, etc., who are looking to get the most publicity possible for their artists/clients. The emails usually read as follows:
Hey _______ (and feel blessed if they spelled your name right or remembered to change it from another blogger’s name to yours)!
I wanted to tell you, first of all, that I love your blog. I have been reading it for a while and am a huge fan. I wanted to see if you could post this story on _______, a new artist signed with XYZ records. I’m sure your readers would love it.
Let me know when/if this is possible, so that I can send you exclusive pics/videos/performance dates/social security numbers/blood types, etc.
Now, if you’re a new blogger, the first thing that comes to mind is your level of crunkness that ______ from ________ label or PR firm contacted YOU in the first place. The second thing that I’m sure you notice is the word exclusive.
Aside from the fact that 98% of the time, I have NEVER heard of the artists that they’re throwing around in my inbox, I often question….what makes you think that whatever information that I publicize about your client is going to benefit me and my readers?
And usually you won’t receive just one email. That’s not how it works. You’ll continuously get emails saying that they can grant requests for interviews (keep in mind, you didn’t ask for it), continue sending you exclusive whatevers…just enough to sucker you in.
So you bite the bait. You post all the material that you were given by John Q. Publicist. You interact with them several times via email and you’re excited as hell that you’ve established this “relationship” with this publicist. But then _______’s album drops or movie debuts. You log on to _______’s popular blogsite and see that the celebrity you’ve been responsible for publicizing over the past couple weeks/months has placed paid advertisements on the blog (be it in the form of banner ads, sponsored posts or site take overs) while you sit with your regular ass wordpress background and Google ads (with NO love from whoever’s in charge of the artist/celeb you just helped publicize).
Feels shady, doesn’t it?
THIS is where I say you should know your worth. I am not, in ANY way, trying to shade any bloggers, big or small. The fact is, there is enough money out there to go around 10 times over. But if that publicist was able to find and email you, requesting that you ‘scratch his/her back,’ why shouldn’t they ‘scratch’ yours in the form of advertising dollars? I mean, you did throw out some publicity for their client, right? It’s not about whether or not you’re as big as _______; it’s the fact that you were contacted about helping to draw publicity to their client, you complied and rightfully so, you should be compensated for it. You may not get as many hits as a bigger blogger…but John Q. Publicist surely believed that SOMEBODY was reading your shit well enough to contact YOU and have you write about their artist/client in the first place.
Granted, I will say that sometimes, in order to foster relationships, you may have to bend over a little. Every now and then, doing something for a publicist/marketing company now could mean bigger and better opportunities for the future. But where do you draw the line? How do you differentiate between those who are truly trying to establish positive relationships with you versus those who are simply trying to “get it in” for this one client real quick before they bounce on to the next blog to pay them instead of you?
A perfect example would be a couple months ago…a certain entertainer’s publicist hit me up and said that they were interested in getting some publicity for their clients upcoming project. They said that, in addition to having an album release, he/she was also working on collaborating with another company for some new products. She said that they’d send me samples of the products, exclusive information about her client and also offer me the opportunity to interview and get pictures. Well, some of the things I posted…not only b/c of the publicist’s request but also because I am a fan. Weeks go by…this person releases their new album. Almost every single blog I visit had SOME sort of paid advertisement from this artist’s label and MissJia.com had zilch. And truth be told, I don’t fault anyone but myself in this situation; but I do want to drive the point home that it doesn’t have to be YOUR job (as the smaller blogger) to do the dirty work while other bloggers get the pay check. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying in an email, “Mr./Mrs. ______, thanks for providing me with new information regarding your client, _________. I also wanted to know if I would speak with you directly about possibly having some advertisements placed on my site during the day/few days before your client’s album release?” See what the response is…if they get silent on you, it’s a safe bet that you’re not likely to get anything in terms of advertising dollars. Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s another contact that you could speak with regarding promotion for the client so that you can forward a media kit/rate sheet. It’s their business to publicize their client; it’s your business to assist them AND make money.
A lot of times, I see many bloggers doubting themselves because of their numbers; they seem to think that they should simply take whatever treatment necessary because it’s assumed that all blogs are doing it. While I definitely support making business decisions with an open heart, you have to also learn that it is IMPERATIVE to operate a business with a sound mind. Making a good business decision now could mean the difference in making a few quick bucks here and there every month to making enough for you to comfortably live off (and still walking away with your dignity, not feeling as though you’ve gotten fucked in a deal).
Pick your poison wisely. You don’t always have to slight yourself to ‘get in.’