Blog posts are really, really important for PR and awareness these days. And posts on independent sites like this one are critical to get awareness and search engine ranking. I get dozens of requests every week from companies wanting me to write about them. So I thought it would be a good idea to lay out exactly what it takes!
You Can’t Buy Posts or Links Here
This blog is me. The diverse content here reflects what I personally care about, regardless of what I’m working on or who’s paying me. Some people don’t like the fact that I write about cameras, cat boxes, and Apple products alongside my server virtualization and storage content. But I don’t care: That’s why I have categories with separate RSS feeds!
Because this blog is me, I only write about things that I personally care about. Things I get paid for might find their way onto the site, but only if I am truly interested in them. And I will not sell or promise a post as a condition of a job or contract.
This comes up occasionally, since companies would love to be able to guarantee a Pack Rat post and see posts about events I’m attending or activities I’m involved in. I do often write about these things, but only if I feel like the writeup will be interesting to my readers. When it comes to events I’m attending, I often will write about these so that local people or other attendees can meet up with me.
I will not take money to write on this site. I often get offers to write a paid post about a new product or company, and I will always turn them down. These are usually unscrupulous link merchants anyway, and I don’t play that game. That’s a good way to get your site blackballed by the search engines and marginalized by readers.
I do not accept “contributed articles” or unsolicited “guest posts”, since these are usually little more than spam. And don’t even ask me to link to some specific URL!
So What Will I Write About?
The best way to get me to write about your product is simply to spark my curiosity. Talk to me, explain why it’s interesting, answer my questions, and there’s a good chance I will write about it. This kind of honest engagement takes some time and effort on your part, and is a leap of faith since I might decide it’s just not something I care to cover. But that’s what it takes.
Therefore, if you would like to get a writeup on the Pack Rat Blog, the first thing you should do is contact me to set up a briefing. I’m extremely busy, but I will take time out to talk about interesting products and technologies if possible.
Pro tip: Wouldn’t it be nice to brief a dozen bloggers at once? That’s why I started Tech Field Day!
In-person briefings work best, but it’s really difficult to schedule my time at industry events, and I refuse to do this sort of briefing on the trade show floor. Since I live in rural northeast Ohio, it’s fairly difficult for me to come to your office, too! So I usually end up doing more phone calls than anything else.
If I am not interested at all, I will tell you that before wasting your time with the briefing. There’s no use trying to talk me into it if it’s not in my “space” or if I don’t have any time. And I get frustrated when people e-mail and call multiple times about the same product or announcement.
My Blogging Commitment
Let me sum up with a series of promises and expectations for this blog.
- I promise never to write anything on this blog just for money
- I promise to disclose paid relationships anyway
- I promise to try to find time to write about interesting things regardless of how busy I am
- I promise to keep my readers in mind and not go too far off on a tangent
- I promise to be honest during briefings, and let companies know if I’m not interested or impressed
- I expect PR and marketing folks to respect my editorial control over the content here
- I expect them to brief me on upcoming announcements and promise to abide by embargoes
- If something is not interesting to me, I expect them to let it go and not pester me to cover it anyway
- I promise to fix factual inaccuracies, but I will not adjust my content or opinions to suit your messaging
- If you send me a sample product, it does not guarantee I will write about it
I hope this helps clarify my stance here on this blog. Note that I do take money to write content for many other sites and publications, and those topics are often outside my editorial control. Even there, however, I promise to behave in an ethical manner and refuse to sell out my opinions for a buck.