Ah, the “entitled blogger” conversation. An oldie but a goodie! I’ve stayed out of this debate for one main reason; as my Mother says, “I know what I know and I know what I think!” After last year’s Irish hotel blogger controversy, there’s been more exposure on how brand/creator relationships work, however, there’s no Centre for Content Creators to make press statements on our behalf. So we’re left justifying ourselves – if we can be bothered.
Well, after receiving an e-mail this morning that got under my skin, I thought I’d share my 2 cents on where I currently stand on this matter.
Without further ado, here are 4 times I’ve acted like an entitled blogger (and why):
Situation 1: Say My Name, Say My Name
It’s Sunday morning, I’m due to make dinner for Father’s Day. I have the dishwasher and the washing machine on, prepping for the week ahead. My hubby is sleeping so I’m I’m catching up on blog mails before we spend quality time together. I find a great mail in my inbox:
What’s the Problem? – Common Courtesy
I like this mail. I think this person was clear and polite. I think their concept is great. It’s definitely something that I could see myself covering.
Message: Hi ___________ .
Let me transparent. This is my Homepage and my About page.
Going back to the e-mail, “We would like to get our story out and want to know if it is possible to promote something on one of your platforms?”
Perfectly polite and kind and yet. YET. They could NOT BE BOTHERED to look up my name.
So Meg must provide:
- Content Creation (read HOURS)
- Positive Review
- Exposure on either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Blog.
In exchange for – NOTHING.
That’s not to say they don’t have a trade exchange or payment available, yet I’m expected to have the patience and maturity to mail back and enquire when the BASICS. THE VERY BASICS of common decency is ignored. And people wonder why we throw our toys?!
Lesson to brands: You want our time, at the very least, look up our names! This is NOT asking too much.
Choose Your Own Adventure: Do I mail back or do I unpack the dishwasher and use my valuable time for another brand/PR/my home life who has been bothered to look up my name?
Situation 2: Don’t You Know Who I Am?!
The classic: “Where’s my table” or “Don’t you know who I am?” at a restaurant/event.
What’s the Problem? – Bad Hosting
Bottom line – the restaurant/event/brand INVITED US there. So, “Where’s my table?” or “What do you mean you don’t have a table?” or “Don’t you know who I am?” isn’t:
It’s: you asked me here! You asked for my time, my presence, my collaboration. Now I have guests with me (as your invitation offered), yet you’re unprepared and now I’m standing here like a lost sheep. It’s NOT diva-ish, frustrating!
Choose Your Own Adventure
Do we walk out the door and reclaim as much personal time back that we can. OR do we keep calm and carry on? I usually do the latter, but it really can put a sour note on the evening.
This is an actual example of how this happened to me:
Last year a friend and I went to an airline wine awards event in town. We were really looking forward to it as we heard how reputable the evening was. Upon arrival, our names were not on the door. The hostess was really unprofessional, treating us like school children outside of the principal’s office.
Forgetting, we were invited guests of THEIRS. We had gotten dressed up, been on time, had arrived in great spirits, yet were the last to be seated after they would “see if there was space”.
Am I old school or what is actually the matter with you?
Thank heavens I was with a good friend so I didn’t need to be embarrassed, but the situation was handled badly and honestly put a sour note on the whole evening. (Yet I’m still expected to promote the event on social media and act all hunky dory?!)
Later when the hostess realised we were invited guests, she approached us and tried to suck up, but it was so transparent and uncool that we just rolled our eyes. I just don’t know why people do it!
“Don’t treat people badly when you’ve asked for their time and efforts.”
Situation 3: I’ve Bitten Off More Than I Can Chew
A few weeks ago, a friend of a friend asked me to write a press release for one of their clients. It was leading up to my holiday in Namibia and initially, I had more than enough time to interview the guest and create the piece.
Unfortunately, the interview was pushed out until the night before, or two nights before, I left for Namibia.
The Problem – Time Management
This was my mistake. In the four days we’d been in Namibia, we’d already broken down, had unexpected expenses, ZERO internet…all the while with this press release hanging over my head in the background.
I SHOULD HAVE SAID NO.
But you people please. You feel you can do the project. You want to help people. You want the opportunity. You don’t want to say yes and then have to say no…Five days later I’m trying to write a press release from my hotel room in Windhoek. STRESSED OUT and sending voice notes to my “boss” because it’s just not coming together.
Was that the best behaviour from me? No. But I felt I could be honest with her as we do have mutual friends. However, it’s NOT what I would have preferred. I would have preferred to do the work 2 weeks before when we started speaking about it.
Luckily, this PR is beyond a seasoned pro and her voice calmed me down. But trying to write a press release from a foreign country, in bed, before driving off to a game park at 5am the next morning isn’t the best idea to say the least.
Choose Your Own Adventure
GET A BACKBONE! The project ran out of time. I should have just said no. I’ve learnt something for the future because inconveniencing the PR, and causing myself, stress is JUST not worth it.
Best honest if you can’t cope.
Situation 4: We’ll Pay You, but We’ll Make You Pay
I was recently invited to create a content piece for a really big website about tourism. This makes me SUPER excited because I love South Africa! I have SO much more to visit of it, but love showing what I do know to the rest of world via my travel YouTube channel and my African travel blog.
Up front, they were honest about the paperwork, saying they would need:
- Supplier form
- ID copy
- Proof of banking (e.g. letter)
- Quotation/Cost Estimate.
Understanding it was a big brand, of which many ask for these security checks, I sent them through.
What’s the Problem?
Four weeks later I then get a mail asking for a BEE affidavit. WTAF. I’m ONE person writing ONE content piece, not a whole company! I LITERALLY have to fill out a form saying whether I’m BEE compliant. Newsflash – I’m not. lol! Because I’m just one random girl!
What’s more, is that I have to PRINT out the letter, take it to the police station and get it stamped. Rescan it and send it back. WHAT DECADE?!
On TOP of this, “eg. letter” is not “for example” it’s a fact. So the statement I sent through did not suffice. I had to PAY for a bank letter and send that through.
Choose Your Own Adventure
At this stage you’re just asking yourself, “How badly do I need the money?” “Should I withdraw my submission?” They put you on SUCH a run around that you really just wonder if your tiny amount of free time is worth the red tape.
But, I always feel guilty and know that extra money is a privilege so I do the running around. But YOH! They make you bleed for it, hey?! And they wonder why your replies get snottier and snottier. (PS You’ve already submitted the content so they have what they want from you.)
Be up front about EVERYTHING a blogger has to do because it’s their right to say yes or no in its entirety.
So these are four times when I’ve been SUPER frustrated and have acted out or been short with people. It’s not easy to keep a cool head all of the time. Overall, I try my best to deliver on my commitments to the best of my ability. But sometimes, just sometimes, I could really just lose my nut!
Thank You To the Professionals
Thank you to ALL the brands and PRs who DO go out of their way to deliver the best quality work. To do their research, the follow-up and to deliver great work. It’s not easy working full time and blogging as well, so thanks to those who help me succeed.