Yes, The Airstream Chronicles Blog has been incredibly quiet over the past few years. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want free stuff. I’ll take free stuff any day of the week! But that’s not really what this post is about. Today I’m writing about inquiries to my clients over the years from “Bloggers” who are looking for free stuff when they really shouldn’t be.
Blogging = Freebies?
Over the years of working with clients from Massachusetts to Washington state I’ve spent a good deal of time helping to get my customers recognized online. We spend years helping customers rank for keywords they want to be found for. We help them build a base of regular readers on their websites, and we help them reach a broader audience. It takes time for sure, and success isn’t overnight.
In addition to understanding how long it takes to get established online for client websites I have my own personal experience here at The Airstream Chronicles. From 2006 through about 2011 I was a prolific blogger. Writing about travel, building a business from the ground up, and the trials of being a full time RV’er. For years this website had tens of thousands of readers each year visiting and reading along. Regular readers. It took years to develop such a large following. Today that following has tapered off as I’ve been busy with other website work beyond my own musings.
Along the way I’ve always wondered how I could monetize my blog? Or at least get free stuff because of my blogging. Even with a large readership years ago I never got on the free stuff wagon. Companies didn’t send me free computers to advertise their wares on my website. RV parks didn’t let me stay for free because I was a well known blogger. The grocery stores I visited continued insisting on payment even though I promised them exposure on my website. It just didn’t happen. And that’s okay.
Just because you started up your very own blog, it doesn’t mean that companies are going to give away valuable products to you. While some full time RV families do actually get paid for reviews, the vast majority of RV bloggers out there don’t find any compensation for their park reviews, restaurant reviews, funny stories, etc. And what’s amazing to me lately is how many start up bloggers think once they type a few paragraphs out, companies should immediately line up to provide them freebies.
You don’t have a readership yet…..What are you expecting?
This morning I read another inquiry to a client. A new travel blogger was getting in touch. They wanted to get a free solar system for their RV from my client. What they were offering was “exposure” on their blog about my client. Sounds great, right? Free advertising? In exchange for a solar power system that will cost over $10,000 with parts and labor included…. Yeah, jump on that wagon……
Oh wait. Let’s do a little research.
With all of the tools at my disposal, whenever I see requests on my client sites for free products in exchange for blog posts I go off and see about the blogger in question. In the case of today’s request? No traffic to the website. It’s brand new. Nobody is following it yet. It’s not clear how long the blogger plans to be on the road. Nothing is concrete yet.
The blogger offered to bring my customer additional exposure, although the blogger has no traffic whatsoever to their new website. So, exposure to who?
Currently this particular customer gets at minimum 1 inquiry a day. That’s an average of 365 contacts per year for an expensive very specialized product. The client’s name is very well known in the RV industry, and well known among many RV owners considering RV Solar Power. With that in mind, offering someone who already has great traffic to their website promotions on a site that currently has absolutely no traffic is laughable.
Putting up a blog a few weeks ago does not guarantee a following! Before reaching out to businesses to plug them on your new website, shouldn’t you have an audience? Or is online success not necessary, only the perception of success? The blogger getting in touch has built a pretty new website, but there’s no content yet, no readership, and no reason for anyone to want to advertise with them……Yet. Maybe down the road after building their content and credibility their online exposure would be worth $10,000. But today, not even ten cents.
Free stuff isn’t free….you need to offer value in exchange
It’s that simple. A blog that has tens of thousands of followers in a specific niche’? Yeah, you might want to be featured on their website. A blog that was launched a few weeks ago with no history or proven track record? Not so much.
If getting free stuff from companies was as easy as making a new blog on Wix and then start collecting cash, goodies, and freebies we’d all be flooding Wix with new website builds….. But since that’s not how the world really works, it’s time to stop reading this post and get back to work.
P.S. I’ve been a blogger since 2006. And I still have a sizable following and great presence on Google Search Engine searches. So if you’d like to send me free stuff, well I’ll be happy to take all the tech gear you’d like to send me….. I’ll take free drones, new cameras, and free groceries.