7 types of opportunities bloggers should avoid

Bloggers are often offered "opportunities" or better put, unpaid workload nicely packaged as an "Opportunity". Many bloggers fall for this trap, accepting unpaid promotional activities, hoping that this will open doors to much bigger opportunities in future or simply because they fear saying No to PRs/brands. When you were a kid, a chocolate or two would have been enough reward to make you run some errands or do some work. But as you grow up, you learn to value your time, skills and efforts. Today you won't run the same errands for someone else just for few chocolates. Same when you're growing as a blogger. At some point of time you need to start valuing your time and effort and start saying No to workload that doesn't respect your time and effort. Here're I am listing some common traps bloggers are often tricked into. Read on to find out which are they and how to overcome such potential traps.
1. Barter system/Honorary Mention/Promotion of blog in brand’s pages: 
Many brands and agencies try to get some work done for free but package it so nicely, to make it appear as if it is a great opportunity for the blogger to work with the brand even if not a penny is going to be paid. Typical tone is that brand will give lots of publicity to blogger on their social media channels- this is outright lie. If a brand has huge follower-ship and engagement and ability to reach their prospective customers, then they don’t need bloggers in the first place.

Working for free is fine sometimes-if you’re very new to blogging and need lots of brand lables to fill your profile or the brand is highly reputable and you seriously believe this  free work will open lots of opportunities in future. Most small to medium range brands/PR firms won’t be able to give you that. (You will only get demand for more free work) Be vary of situations where PR firms charge a bomb to brands but try to get work done for free from unsuspecting bloggers.

How to deal:
  • Ask for samples of how much they have promoted any other blogger in the past
  • Check how engaging their updates are on the page- how many likes, comments, shares
  • Ask the brand to confirm in writing that you will have unlimited rights to use their logo and brand name in any kind of promotional activity/materials for free.
2 Blogger Ambassador trap:
Few brands go one step further and ask you to be their blogger Ambassador and promote them for free. Unless you're the sole blogger they will be working with, it is an abuse of the term Ambassador
Ever seen a brand hiring dozen celebrities as Ambassador? Will a country assign dozens of Ambassadors to another country? Ambassador should be unique. If not it is just another trap to get free work.

3 Guest Post Trap: 
Many individuals who can’t run their own blogs have made it a full time business to sell links to 3rd party sites, which they cleverly insert into the articles they write and offer to bloggers as “Guest Post”. Most of these posts are churned out sitting at home without any personal touch or expertise or value add. Avoid entertaining such guest post requests.

How do deal:
  • Say that all links will be nofollowed- this eliminates most of the prospects
  • Ask if the post has commercial interests or is based on their personal experience
4 Press releases: 
Never a good idea to dump entire press release on your readers. 90% of content in a press release is self-praise or corporate info which no one cares. Unless you can extract the key essence of the press release and summarize or add value with your personal expertise or experience visiting the press meet, don’t publish press releases to please brands. For them it is only a count (in how many publications the release got a mention). You will only be dumped with more press releases and nothing more.

How to deal:
  • If the news/topic is really interesting, summarize the release and share a useful extract, along with your personal opinion/analysis/experience
  • If the topic is not worth yours and you reader’s time and effort, simply ignore.
5. Promoting top blogger lists: For many new sites, an easy way to publicity is publishing a top blogger list. Bloggers featured in the list happily share the list, giving them free publicity and link. Even I am guilty of doing this at times. While it is good to be mentioned in some top blog lists, you need to check credibility of the source, selection criteria used (if any). If the website listing top bloggers has good reach and credibility on its own, then the list makes sense. If their only way to publicity is through promotions done by top bloggers who got listed, then the site has no value add and your getting featured there is a mere publicity stunt. Exercise some caution while entertaining such lists.

How to deal:
  • Check the authority of host site, how long they’ve been operational and other original contents on the site. If not found credible enough, ignore such top lists.
  • Ask the source on the criteria used for selection and see if the answer is convincing.
6. Buying followers: 
Many influencers find their short cut to fame by buying followers on twitter and Instagram, so that they can influence brands to give more campaigns or pay more. This party will not last for long. There’re apps that can detect what % of your followers are fake, what % of your followers engage on an update by liking, retweeting etc. Sooner or later brands will find a way to weed out influencers who have unnatural % fake followers.

How to deal:
  • Try organic ways to grow your followers, resist temptations to buy
  • Use tools to check others who you feel have had sudden surge in followership, do share such findings so that those who are guilty get the message
7. Trying to grab every opportunity out there. 
Don’t try to grab every deal from Rs 250 to 25000. Identify a price range that represents your time & effort and the value you provide, identify kind of brands and campaigns you would like to associate with, stay around these. Don’t dilute your pricing and theme for every small deal that emerges. There’s always someone who can do it cheaper, so you can never fight on pricing alone. If something is not worth your time and effort, say No.

How to deal: 
  • Identify a price below which you will not work no matter what. Reject offers below this price range.
  • Over time, try to increase your price range, focusing on better brands and bigger deals. Cut time spent on low value deals
Do you agree? Do share your thoughts...

Similar: Sponsored posts-how much to charge

25 comments:

  1. Thanks.. was much much needed... now want a blog which can help in deciding the cost also what are the packages offered & how to ask ???

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  2. Completely agree with you ...It's good to know your value and quote accordingly.

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  3. सावधानी वाली पोस्ट, आगे से मैं भी ध्यान रखूँगा।

    ऐसी गलती ना हो याद रहेगा।

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  4. @Deepila

    I have some guidelins in this post - check if it helps

    http://www.enidhi.net/2015/11/sponsored-posts-how-much-to-charge.html

    @Swati and Sandeep: Thanks

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  5. Absolutely true and brilliant! Declined one offfer yesterday. The carrot was 'This is first meet up which is non-commercial. After this the brand will come up with a road map'! I let it go!

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  6. A good learning. I get a lot of guest post requests which I have been declining. Your point on buying followers on twitter and IG was amazing. I have lost quite a few projects due to less number of followers on my IG account. It is demotivating but I guess that was for good.

    Thank you for the share. :)

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  7. @Hiral - Thanks. Everyday new things to learn

    @Dipanwita - Thanks. I am sure you will get more good things coming your way

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  8. Wonderful comprehensive guide for bloggers, old and new!

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  9. Completely agree with this list! Even I am guilty of the 'list trap' but like you said, it is important to see the credibility of these sites.

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  10. Very helpful and informative, needed for the new bloggers like me.Thanks a lot for sharing with so many details.

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  11. Well said, Shrinidhi! Helpful for many newbie bloggers too who will know what to expect

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  12. Some good ideas here, Srinidhi but you also have taken money to posts about some matrimony sites, some shopping websites when it was clear you never used those services and just copy pasted the press releases.

    What you are advising here to others , you yourself won't follow. so other people should refuse offers and you are open to take any money and post any content?

    Such promotional posts from your blog is why I stopped visiting your site often. You should keep posting content that gets you the highest daily/ nightly rate , it is your duty to do what is best for your income. Visitors like me have no authority to demand any change.
    But some of us also have a brain and see through the promos and freebies you keep advertising and will decide to walk away and not visit.
    There is no compulsion from all three parties, the blogger, the companies and us the audience you are targeting.
    Thanks for the memories!

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  13. @Sandy & Vijay- Thanks

    @Bhagyashri- Thanks for your critical feedback and sad to know you've reducing your visit.

    I think I have attempted to address your concerns here- please check and let me know if it helps. http://www.enidhi.net/2016/12/ethics-of-sponsored-posts-and-how-to-deal.html

    I've never copy pasted press releases- have edited and added my bits all the time. Check this post http://www.enidhi.net/2016/04/offroad-driving-tips-from-ford-endeavor-engineers.html

    % of commercial posts are very very low on my blog- readers are at liberty to skip them

    I can respond further after you read and comment on that post. Thanks for the comment again and hope you will revisit. Only with critical feedback like this we can look back and see what improvements are needed. Hope you will revisit.

    @Sangeetha- Thanks.

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  14. Fabulous one Shrini! So well put. This is a great guide for new bloggers!

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  15. I am still confused on how to handle that last point. PR agencies keep pushing the prices down. It's difficult to reject, esp if you've known them for a while. How do you handle?

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  16. As long as you keep accepting lower amount they will keep pushing it lower. You need to draw a line beyond which you need to say no. Your time, effort is precious, spend it wisely elsewhere.

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Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days- Shrinidhi

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