I won't name names because I'm not that kind of guy. But one of my biggest pet peeves in my inbox these days is people--usually someone from a business--who write me and would like my help with something they're doing. Then they fail to grasp that it would need to be a partnership. Two way street. They love my blog and we may even have intersecting interests...so, "hey could you write something up for us and maybe we'll use it on social media." Umm, ok. What's in it for me?
Anybody who comes to my blog from the triathlon or running community knows that the first rule of getting sponsored is to not ask "hey could you give me some money or free stuff?" Not without offering something in return. Sponsorship...and I'm proud to say I am partly sponsored with discounts to several companies I love...is about mutually beneficial relationships where you only get the discounts and freebies if you provide them a good payoff in return. Good word of mouth, endorsements on your blog, wearing their race kit, showing up to do product demos or enthusiastically join in when they need people to help volunteer at a local race.
It almost goes without saying that most of the pet peeve requests I get are not from endurance sports related brands then. Though I love hearing somebody say, "could we send you a product and would you write up an honest review of what you think?" I'm happy to entertain that situation and have done so in the past. No, most of the something-for-nothing requests come from parent or family related organizations or general companies who simply want to harness my brand to help their brand. I don't blame them on a certain level. But I think some of the gushing love for my blog sometimes assumes it is written from a place of narcissism where they can easily get the author on board via playing the "me, me, me" card. (Or is it really the parent thing that leads them to believe I will selflessly do them a favor?) And anybody who is reading carefully will definitely understand that isn't what this blog is about. I like being read more widely, but this is not the kind of blog dying for exposure.
If it's not thoughtful and honest, you will not find it here.
So a word of advice for all you businesses or brands or orgs out there who'd like me to help you get the word out on social media, take part in some marketing campaign, or review your product...my first question will be "would you like my address to send a sample?" Do you have a discount code for my readers? Are you a non-profit or charity with a mission I support?
I'm happy to hear from anyone who thinks we could make great partners, but please don't e-mail with a proposal that doesn't include something for both sides. Unless, of course, you have a job offer, want to give away some gently rolling farmland, or want to hand me a bag of free money. Then ignore the above.
Side note: if you're interested in having me as a speaker, I've considered getting into that and it's a different animal that can be discussed. You're not my intended audience for this rant either.