Here’s a fun weekend read! OK, not really, but I thought some of you might be interested in part of what it takes to be a professional blogger. A lot of people think it’s just writing a post and publishing it. But in addition to promoting posts, invoicing, dealing with plugins, keeping abreast of new programs and updates, staying current on best practices, networking, applying for jobs, dealing with contracts, and producing images and videos, there’s also email.
I was involved in a huge private group discussion recently that devolved into a PR-vs-Blogger fight. I won’t go into details, but I think a lot of PR people (the people tasked with getting media to cover something for free) don’t realize just how crushing their off-base pitches are, and how much time they take to deal with. I get so many pitches that start off, “I know you don’t write about this, but…” Any email that starts off that way just shouldn’t be sent.
But at least those people bothered to read my contact page. Most people who pitch me haven’t even looked at my blog for more than five seconds, if at all. They’ve gotten my name from a list that they found online, or that they bought. They’re probably emailing hundreds or thousands of bloggers at a time. We call that “Spray and Pray.”
I can totally see how someone who isn’t in my position might say, “Yeah, this probably isn’t a good fit, but sending it can’t hurt.” I’m telling you, it can. Dealing with emails takes up way too much of my day. And when I get behind, I miss important ones, because they get buried beneath pitches for baby toys, celebrity appearances, and iPhone apps.
In that same group discussion my friend Vera posted an example of a day of pitches that a typical blogger gets (well, a typical superstar blogger, which Vera is; seriously, she was on The Today Show this morning). Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I’ve totally stolen her idea. I kept track of a week’s worth of blog-writing-related emails: everything that came in that was trying to get me to take some kind of action on behalf of a brand.
I did not include emails for projects that were already in the works – negotiating for a job can involve a dozen emails. I also did not include work-related emails that weren’t trying to get publicity for something in an actual post. For example, no back-end stuff, no services, no emails about past projects, no sidebar or video advertising, etc. Just new stuff where somebody wanted me to write something on my website or social media.