PR Monday: Stop Selling Yourself Short! PLEASE!

Sadly it seems that the middle ground for the pitches I receive is rapidly disappearing. I either get really, really great pitches or really, really bad ones. This is one of those that falls in the really bad category. I want to share it with some of you to show WHY I think this is a pitch that most people should pass on. I know when you are new to this you get all bubbly when a PR firm picks you and it is easy to get tricked into taking all the pitches that come your way. So lets dissect this one and if you still think it is worth your time at the end that is OK! We all have our things we will work for peanuts for. Just be educated about when you are doing it.

Hi, I have an item that you may like for your Blog. Blah Blah Company (I changed the name), a leading provider of school uniforms, this week launched a $15,000 contest in which kids who attend a school that has a dress code can show the world what makes them unique and special. The contest is titled, “Blah Blah Contest,” and it is designed to provide a forum for kids to express their individuality. Kids and their parents can enter the contest by visiting www.blahblah.com and following the instructions regarding submitting a video or essay along with pictures. The final day to submit an entry is September 15.

OK, so lets look at this in specific regards to me. I HOMESCHOOL. Now, I do say that my older one is going to Catholic school next year so maybe that was their thought but he has a liberal dress code so right off the bat I am not interested.

The link above? Right now has a google page rank of 0 and an alexa rank in the 4 millions.

On November 1, Blah Blah  will be posting the 10 finalists and the public will be able to vote for the grand prize winner – who will win $10,000 in cash and their school will receive $5,000 in vouchers from Blah Blah. The grand prize winner will be announced on November 30.

More than 1 in 5 public schools now have a dress code, and that’s on top of the many private, parochial and charter schools that have dress codes. Please let me know if you need any additional information, or if you’d like to speak to someone at Blah Blah.

As part of this outreach to parents and kids, Blah Blah is looking for 25 Blah Blah Brand Ambassadors (the first 25 who respond in the affirmative), who will help make moms and kids aware of the contest. As a Blah Blah Brand Ambassador, we will expect:

OK, this is where is gets good. Ready?

–         A total of three mentions/discussions of the contest – 1) A mention of the contest on your blog during the first two weeks of the contest, a follow-on mention/discussion in June, and a third in September.

–         At least two mentions – 1 in May and another in June – of our contest to your followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook

So, they want a total of three blog posts and 2 mentions to my social networks. Lets do the math. I get at least $10 for each ‘commercial’ tweet I send through Sponsored Tweets (referral link) So, I could make $20 for those two social network contacts leaving me $30 to run 3 posts on my blog.

We have established that this blog is not really the most organic place for this so these posts fall into ‘advertising’ in my book. Depending on which blog, time of year and my schedule I charge anywhere from $100-$300 for a sponsored post, usually around $250. I know putting my rates out there may be silly but honestly new bloggers need to know that $10 a post is INSANE. $10 for a tweet–sure, not bad, but a mention in a post? No freakin’ way. I should say, I can get that on some of my niche blogs (and I really don’t post advertorials here) but in talking with other bloggers I have found out their rates are $30-$75 per 300 word post. I, also, want to clarify that this is for a post that is ‘advertising’ not a product review or editorial for something that is organic to your blog. I don’t charge beyond the product for those.

In return, Blah Blah will provide a reciprocal link to your site on the Blahblah.com site and a $50 gift certificate after your last posting in September.

A link? On a PR 0 site? Oh yeah….I covered that above.

That giftcard? Given the average mark-up of 43% for family clothing they are really paying you $28.50 that you can only spend in their store. That $5.70 for your five points of contact. Minimum wage in my state is currently $7.24. Granted those 5 points of contact are probably not going to take you 5 hours. It took you a hell of a lot longer than that if you figure in the time you put building your blog audience and social networks. To essentially have a company come bless you with the opportunity to use your platform for less than minimum wage.
Sadly, I am sure they were flooded with responses. Mine was this:

Thanks for your pitch. However, you do realize you are compensating bloggers less than $10 per post…

I currently charge $250 for a featured post on my tween blog in cash, not a gift card to the company. Thanks

Something interesting: I did a quick scan and according to PayScale.com the average full time journalist position in the US pays $26,000-$47,000 a year. If you go on the low side of $30,000 a year and you post 350 times that year you would be making $85 a post. Even if you aren’t interested in being a full time blogger, you are a media source! You are a journalist.

Mom-101 wrote a great post about this as well. I hope you go read it. For some reason I can’t link direct to her post but right now it is the third one down.

We all do things to get “in” with a company but take it from me, the pitches from these companies don’t tend to get better.

I will leave you with this….

you work really hard on your blog, don’t let someone take advantage of you!

Since we are all working on our own, I think it really helps to know what average rates are. I would love it if you shared yours below or any other thoughts on this.

Best Carterism EV’AH

Carter to Dad:

What is a housewife?

Sad thing? Neither of us had a clue how to explain that. Best example I could come up with in modern culture? Marge Simpson.


Special Needs Moms Sorority

I am not posting a PR Monday post today because I found this instead and as I am typing tears are running down my face. I didn’t have a particularly fabulous Mothers Day. It wasn’t for lack of trying on my husbands side. It was teenage drama and lots of work. But when I opened my feeds this AM, Laura’s post just struck me as something I needed to share as a belated mothers day to all the Mothers in the Children With Special Needs Sorority. I hope every mom out there had a wonderful day and to my special ‘sisters’ I hope this brings you happy tears.

To You, My Sisters
By Maureen K. Higgins

Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I’ve searched you out every day. I’ve looked for you on the internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores.

I’ve become an expert at identifying you. You are well worn. You are stronger than you ever wanted to be. Your words ring with experience, experience you culled with your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations of this world. You are my “sisters.”

Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail.

We were initiated in neurologist’s offices and NICU units, in obstetrician’s offices, in emergency rooms, and during ultrasounds. We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations, evaluations, blood tests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.

All of us have one thing in common. One day things were fine. We were pregnant, or we had just given birth, or we were nursing our newborn, or we were playing with our toddler. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changed. Something wasn’t quite right. Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.

We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our children’s special needs. Some of our children undergo chemotherapy. Some need respirators and ventilators. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live in a different world. We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children’s needs are not as “special” as our child’s. We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.

We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever materials we could find. We know “the” specialists in the field. We know “the” neurologists, “the” hospitals, “the” wonder drugs, “the” treatments. We know “the” tests that need to be done, we know “the” degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could become board certified in neurology, endocrinology, and physiatry.

We have taken on our insurance companies and school boards to get what our children need to survive, and to flourish. We have prevailed upon the State to include augmentative communication devices in special education classes and mainstream schools for our children with cerebral palsy. We have labored to prove to insurance companies the medical necessity of gait trainers and other adaptive equipment for our children with spinal cord defects. We have sued municipalities to have our children properly classified so they could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their diagnosis.

We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if that means walking away from it. We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during “tantrums” and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us in line. We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers. We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining about chicken pox and ear infections. We have learned that many of our closest friends can’t understand what it’s like to be in our sorority, and don’t even want to try.

We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley’s “A Trip To Holland” and Erma Bombeck’s “The Special Mother.” We keep them by our bedside and read and reread them during our toughest hours.

We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children to the neighbors’ front doors on Halloween, and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the words, “trick or treat.” We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing yule log with our words for our blind children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family.

We’ve gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we’d make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.

We’ve mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine in Italy. We’ve mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first visited the travel agent. And we’ve mourned because we left for the airport without most of the things we needed for the trip.

But we, sisters, we keep the faith always. We never stop believing. Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in life knows no bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs. We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors, and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.

But in the meantime, my sisters, the most important thing we do, is hold tight to their little hands as together, we special mothers and our special children, reach for the stars.