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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday's "Living With Your Pet" Tips: Free Writing And Free Advertising ?

      Fabulous photo of me by John Clark of Clark Creative

Today we're taking a different approach to living with your pet tips and pivoting to some ideas (call them tips if you will) about blogging, and what our skills as writers, and the blog Internet platforms we've created, are worth. I'll let Parental Unit take over this one...

I've spent much time in the last few years communicating with web "content" writers and what amounts to advertisers who want me to publish their content on my blog for free, and wondered if you had too. Well, today's hilarious and spot-on editorial in The New York Times inspired me to write about my frustration with these trolling Internet bimbos. Have I set the right tone? 

             Post Typography courtesy of The New York Times

This Times op-ed, brilliantly written by Tim Kreider, focuses on the endless requests he receives to write for publications...for free (in exchange for "exposure" or social media shout-outs, or sometimes nothing at all). As Kreider, whose sister is an MD, said: "Nobody asks my sister the pulmonologist to do a quick lobectomy, just to get her name out there." So what is it about writers and other artists that people think they're willing to trade their hard earned skill set for nothing, or practically nothing? Kreider thinks this is a by-product of our information economy, "...in which 'paying for things' is a quaint, discredited old 20th-century custom..." And the term 'content' as it is now defined, "...is predicated on the assumption that it's the delivery system that matters, relegating what used to be called 'art'-writing, music, film, photography, illustration-to the status of filler, stuff to stick between banner ads."

 I have written for a limited number of organizations, blogs and other web publications for free, primarily to help promote their good work on behalf of animals. Likewise, I often and freely promote content on my blog for non-profits that work on behalf of companion animals, and also happily promote the content of for-profit companies that discusses their donations or other good works on behalf of companion animals, rather than the products they sell. I also accept a limited number of "compensated posts" for companies whose products I like and believe are high quality. I also fairly regularly receive pay for both my Internet and print writing and have for the last decade or so. 

But what I'm "beefing" about today is the flip side of the coin that Kreider discusses: Companies or their PR firms, or individuals employed as freelancers for those companies, who prowl the Internet for  already established platforms on which to spout their ideas or peddle their wares. And just like Krieder said, they all start with a sentence or two of flattery, sometimes even using your name and/or the name of your blog, before launching into their pitch about how much you need their content (which they euphemistically refer to as a "guest post"), that typically contain several live links to for-profit companies. And if you dare to request payment for the use of your Internet platform, on which you've toiled away for years to build, promote and maintain its integrity, these trollers feel the need to explain to you what you're missing out on: "free content"! I can (usually) come up with my own content, thank you very much, and while not always riveting, at least it's on topics that I think are important and what my readers will enjoy. 

But these web prowlers seeking free advertising for their "clients" and already-built platforms for their "content" are around for a reason: They get folks, with platforms that have a much greater reach than mine, to allow them to publish their often, sub-standard material-for free. I say: Just say "No" to their faux flattery and preying tactics-set what you believe is a reasonable price for advertising, whether contextual or otherwise, and stick to it. If we take away their market, much like refusing to buy pet store puppies or dogs from sleazy breeders, they will slowly disappear into the vast Internet wasteland.


Unknown said...

Just say no....and we do. Have a marvellous Monday.
Best wishes Molly

Two French Bulldogs said...

We get those requests all the time

Unknown said...

Wonderful....pets are going so smart these days and follow everything and no doubt that it is the result of pending a lot time with your pets. Also, I was wondered when my dog eagerly looking at the paper of the dog insurance plan I had taken for my dog.

AnnStaub said...

Great post. These content writers really bug me sometimes...

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