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The title isn’t meant to be misleading. There are many brands that works with agencies all in the name of blogger outreach. Some are professional public relations firms while others are more boutique firms. But the reality is that they work as the intermediary between the business world and the blogging world. And frankly, the few brief times I’ve dipped my toe in the waters of blogger outreach have made me realize it’s not a business avenue I want to pursue (at least, not right now anyway).

Why is it so difficult?

Based on my experience, these are some of the biggest issues:

1. Finding quality bloggers

Sometimes you want numbers. Sometimes you want quality. In a perfect world,  you get both at the same time. But that’s not always the case. The biggest numbers don’t always come from the best, most engaging writing. And the most engaging writing doesn’t always attract the biggest crowds.

2. Getting bloggers to respond in a timely manner

You have deadlines. They have inundated mailboxes that are sometimes imperfect. Emails can sometimes unnecessarily go to spam or they can simply get buried so quickly, they never really see the light of day. Sometimes communications get missed and it’s necessary (and worth it) to do a follow up email.

3. Having bloggers adhere to deadlines and requirements.

I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to tell you that many bloggers simply aren’t reliable. They don’t treat their business transactions as business transactions and when they are in danger of missing a deadline, they may simply fall off the planet and never respond to any means of communication, leaving you scrambling for a replacement to make your numbers.

If you’re in the business of blogger outreach, God bless you. And despite all of these complaints about bloggers, there are plenty that meet or exceed expectations on a regular basis. The problem is that many of these types of bloggers are getting the opportunities they’re looking for.

Realizing that we’re all medium sized fish in a medium sized pond, it’s difficult to understand sometimes why  we don’t get noticed and why we don’t get selected for an opportunity. If you’re a blogger, you might be wondering some of these same things. In my experience, these are just some of the reasons you might not be getting selected for agency campaigns:

  • You (and/or your audience) aren’t the target demographic. This can be based on geography, race, ethnicity, age. Especially age.
  • Your social media footprint isn’t big enough. Not enough followers, subscribers, or, more likely, UVM.
  • You don’t have enough engagement. No comments on your posts. No responses on your Facebook page. No real Twitter interaction.
  • You’ve written negatively about the brand or you’ve written for a competitive brand.

And there are more factors that go on behind the scenes that are simply completely out of your control.

So if you’ve been with an agency in hopes of getting opportunities and you never hear from them, is it time to break up?

I’ve recently been evaluating the relationships I have with some of the blogging agencies (intermediaries) that I work with and here are some of the criteria I’m using.

Do they require me to have a badge on my site?

A badge isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good thing! But when the badge includes a piece of code (typically javascript), it not only slows down my site (even if incrementally) but it also adds my statistics to their overall agency reach statistics. They’re using my numbers and influence to help gain clients. What’s my return?

Have they ever selected me before?

If I’ve never worked with the agency, it could simply be that I’m one of many on a list and they may not have any personal familiarity with me. If this is the case, make sure you email someone there and make yourself be known! Better yet, find out if an agency rep is at an upcoming conference you plan to attend and scheduled an in-person meeting. It may make a difference.

If they have selected me before and I haven’t had any campaigns in months (or years), it’s either me, them, or the clients, in which case, maybe the agency relationship is no longer a good fit for anyone involved.

Do they work with brands I want to work with?

I’m nowhere near the millennial age and if an agency is starting to focus almost exclusively on that group, those aren’t the right brands for me. And I probably haven’t even seen campaigns I want to apply for.

Do they offer the types of campaigns I’m looking for?

Do I want to blog for the chance of winning a gift card? Do I want to participate in Twitter parties just for the social aspect? Nope. I want to get paid. And agencies do get paid, for every campaign they do, even if bloggers don’t. You need to decide what you’re worth.

So in answer to the question in the title, what’s in it for me? Sometimes, a relationship has simply run its course and when it’s been years since they’ve even considered me for a campaign, it’s time to move on. Code down, badge off, other new opportunities on the horizon.


My Almost Famous Blogging Betties Interview

by Fadra Nally on June 11, 2014

It’s funny how the internet can lead you down a rabbit hole. I’m sure we’re all guilty of logging on to just check one thing and next thing we know, five hours have vanished from our lives. In fact, one of my favorite finds from Pinterest is a quote that says:

I came online to check the weather.

That was 12 years ago.

But sometimes the rabbit hole leads us to a good place.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to meet the very talented JC Little who writes and illustrates the popular blog The Animated Woman. We were both attending BlogHer, both speaking at the Voices of the Year, and both on time for the show. I mention that because we were the only two and we sat there alone, bonding in our nervousness.

Since that time, JC and I have become friends on Facebook and in blogging circles. And it was JC who suggested that Tammy Soong of World’s Worst Moms try her hand at illustrating a post. Tammy subsequently submitted her hilariously written and drawn post, First Reason Not to Get a Tattoo: Your Mom Probably Has One, for my annual Blogmas awards.

Are you still following me? I loved Tammy’s writing and we connected online. Then she recently tweeted how she had mispronounced my name in her podcast. My thoughts scrambled…

Tammy has a podcast?

What exactly is a podcast again?

Ooh, she was talking about me?

Wait, what did she say?

I learned than Tammy is part of a trio of women known collectively as The Blogging Betties. It’s a blog and podcast dedicated to making YOU a better blogger. And here’s the crazy part. They asked me to participate in one of their podcasts.

I never think I have much to say about the business of blogging (which is why content is so light over here these days) until I start talking. We talked a good 30 minutes and I could have kept going. It turns out that writing, blogging, and marketing with brands for over four years had definitely made its mark on me.

Also, I’m a talker.

If you want to take a listen, I encourage you to check out all the episodes of the Blogging Betties podcast (including mine). It’s great for a listen in the car and you’ll hear lots of gems like this one. Oh, the stories I could tell.


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Who Needs a Media Kit?

May 6, 2014

It all started over four years ago. I decided to start a blog simply for the writing. Then a few months in, I realized there’s a business to blogging and I went all in. That’s when I really started building my brand (insert gag relax and eye rolls). I am not a brand but my personal [...]

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Blog Design is NOT for Dummies

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My friend Melissa Culbertson, the genius behind the blog Momcomm, is officially a published author but I hesitate to tell you about her book. Because it’s called Blog Design For Dummies. And frankly, I don’t think blog design is for dummies. First of all, there’s knowing the difference between a blog and a website (not too much). [...]

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Why Bloggers Should Stop Promoting Each Other

April 3, 2013

You read that right. Bloggers need to stop promoting each other. But don’t worry, as with most statements, there are some caveats. Let’s start with the why. Way back when, in the early days of my blogging career (circa 2009), I stumbled onto the blogging scene. I was a newbie to the extreme not really [...]

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Thinning Out the Twitter Herd

November 13, 2012

I joined Twitter back in 2008. I wear that like a badge of honor that indicates that I, for once, was an early adopter. The fact of the matter is that while I joined at an early date, I didn’t really get Twitter until I started using it in earnest in 2009. And then a love [...]

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5 Reasons to Celebrate a Blogoversary

October 11, 2012

Let’s get something straight. There is no correct way to spell “blogoversary.” You’ll see it as blogoversary (my preferred spelling), blogiversary (like anniversary), or blogaversary. But let’s face it. It’s a made up word. Does that make it a made up celebration? Of course. But here are a few reasons I think you should pause every year [...]

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Pitch of the Week: How Cheated Me – UPDATED

September 27, 2012

I should know better. I read bad pitches on a daily basis. Most I casually discard because they are so poorly written or completely irrelevant to me. But I do usually read them. I do a quick scan for the following: What product or brand is this pitch for? Who is contacting me on behalf [...]

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Just Say NO to Blogging Contests (and other rules about compensation for blogging)

September 11, 2012

As I celebrated my third “blogoversary” this week, or the third anniversary of my very first post on my personal blog I took a little time to go back and read some of my early posts and reflect on how much I’ve learned in those three short years. I must admit that I’m not offended [...]

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The Problem with Blogger Lists

August 28, 2012

Every time a top 100 Blogger List come out, I find a problem with it. And no, it’s not that I’m not on it. The problem is that they are subjective and subjectivity reigns supreme in the blogosphere. Looking at tools like Klout or PeerIndex, everyone is trying to assign a score. They are trying to [...]

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