My learnings from useless to most useful conversations/negotiations with SEO/PR companies in last 13 years of Blogging - What do I do for my own peace and better outcome for my blog?

Recently I was chatting with a professional blogger on twitter about how some of the SEO companies reach out to bloggers and leave bad taste in the end. The chat was more around negotiations. I realised that I should sum up some of my thoughts and how I deal with it now in comparison to 5 years ago. Not saying that the model will work for everyone. As content creators, not everyone is at same level in terms of marketing that content, selling the value we create or negotiating appropriately.

Recently I was chatting with a professional blogger on twitter about how some of the SEO companies reach out to bloggers and leave bad taste in the end. The chat was more around negotiations. I realised that I should sum up some of my thoughts and how I deal with it now in comparison to 5 years ago. Not saying that the model will work for everyone. As content creators, not everyone is at same level in terms of marketing that content, selling the value we create or negotiating appropriately. 


Let me focus on the problems first and then share my learnings.


Some of the common problems I faced when some of the companies, PR/SEO, approached for publishing content on Travellingcamera.com or wanted to insert a link :


A. Many of these emails are bombarded to hundreds of bloggers, which indicate they haven't done enough research on my blog. The person sending emails has a database and goal for her/him is to convert a number of bloggers to do the job at their own budget or at times no budget. 

(Tip for 'A' - I would like to stay away from such collaboration and it's ok to lose these kind of opportunities. I have seen more loss as a blogger and as a part of the community in longer run. I am sure there can be exception which can be driven by alignment with the brand-name you see there or other aspects.)


B. There are another set of companies, who know about the blog, why their link is valuable for them on this blog etc. Some of them use tricks like sending an email from one email-id to gauge costing and then sending another email from other email-id to set anchor price much lower than what you had proposed in first interaction. 

(Tip for 'B' - If I know the worth of my content/blog, there is no point of changing your offers on the basis of how someone is approaching you. More on this, in solutions section. )


C. Some of the emails are purely about barter, although some of those offers can be good (depend upon how you leverage those opportunities)

(I used to have strong opinion about how to deal with them and then realised it's a personal choice. What works for me may not work for others & vice versa. And at the end everyone evolves through the journey. )


D. Some email proposals are about offering peanuts for first project and assurance for lot of work in future.

(Tip - just be very cautious about them :) ) 


E. The biggest problem I have with all these is 'time wastage' with hardly any outcome. I used to spend too much time in terms of responding to these emails on time, explaining what I am asking & why, along with lot of time/energy wastage. At the end, I used to have a guilt of having so many email exchanges and a feeling that someone out there had no value for my time, effort & content.


Here are few things that I do now, which give me peace and to be honest, I am not earning as much as I used to be. But today I am happier about whatever I earn through the blog and most of them are very good clients, who actually give repetitive work. In fact, during the journey I have offered free gigs for these clients and at times more deliverables than agreed upon in our agreements. 


1. The first mantra is to chose people/companies wisely with whom you want to spend time working. That's most important and early you gauge this, better you would be. 


2. If the email from other side is not to the point, my very first goal is to make it clear in terms of asks and my expectations. Too many email exchanges on getting clarity is also means that I will stop responding. 


2a. - A few basic indicators, which should make you more careful :

    - No name in front of "Hi/Hello"

- No mention about your blog and whole language is generic in first email.

-  Grammatical mistakes and some major ones. 

- Pretentious language or sender's name etc. I have seen examples where Indian PR companies reaching our with names like Peter, Ella etc.

    -  Time to respond to your emails is a good indicator to gauge how much you can rely on the communication of the company/person on other side. This also indicates how serious the other party is and is your time being respected.   

  

 

3. I have a fixed template of response with all pricing, conditions, deliverables, timelines etc. Whenever there is anyone approaching, nothing is changed in that template and shared as is. 

3a. Now when response to my template tells me where this conversation is going to go. Some clearly unprofessional email responses go to my ignore list and I don't bother responding to them even if they follow-up again. That's for my own peace as I will not be happy working with unprofessional team on other side. That always creates pain in terms of payments, clarity on timelines, deliverables etc. I feel, this is pretty easy to gauge on the basis of 2 email exchanges. 


3b. Some really smart marketers know how to respond to email and how to send personalised messages with meaningful details. These are folks who are trained well. In case you are interacting with one of these, you need to gauge the speed at which you and that person moving towards constructive outcome. If there are too many email exchanges with very nice/professional responses but needle is not moving, I rather stick to my template and let other person decide what to do next. No responses from my side. Either other party gives up or comes back with more reasonable offer. Both are fine with me, but not at the cost of wasting too much time on endless email exchanges. 


3c. In case of #3b, many times you meet people companies who directly come to the point of offering very low price and showcasing that they can give lot of future work. Answer is very simple for them - I have shared my rates for first gig and I can offer discounts if you have bigger project or I may give you discounts in future depending upon kind of project. 


4. Above all, go with your gut and be forgiving in some cases or be ignorant about small glitches. End of the day, you want to make things happen and nothing is perfect. So see where you should ignore some aspects and move ahead with collaborations with calculated risks.  


Learnings from what I have been doing so far (It's important for me to share this, as I lost some long term customers because of these principles)


1. I have worked with some PR agencies in India for a very long time and I know those folks personally very well. But almost every time, I had big struggle to get payments on time or change content strategy multiple times because they were not clear what they wanted. As of today, I don't get any work from them because I have my listed conditions which don't align with how they want to operate. At times, I am called 'arrogant' but it's about my peace and nothing else. 


2. It's ok to let go off some potential opportunities in short-run as it leads to lot of great outcome driven quality opportunities for longer run. Initially it hurts, but has multiple benefits - it gives you more confidence, ratio of quality offers increases, less things are there to bother about etc. 


3. Kind of projects/collaborations you do today defines what kind of future opportunities will knock your door. So it's important to be clear what kind of things you would want to do in longer run. 


4. Clarity about priorities help a lot in achieving happiness by avoiding unnecessary guilt. 


This post is about common challenges and not about all the good things happen in this process. May be someday I will share some of the most amazing conversations/collaborations I have had. Some of these memories give me lot of energy to associate with like minded people and create higher value for everyone involved. 


While I shared all above from my viewpoint, I feel responsible to share that I have another full time job so even if I don't earn anything through this blog that doesn't hurt me. This blog is and will be a way for me to express myself and keep helping travel community with learnings I have had during my exploration in terms of photography, travel, culture, lifestyle and food etc. So please read it and only pick things which may be meaningful to you. It's ok if none of above makes any sense for you. 


I would certainly love to hear your thought in comments section below. All content creators, bloggers, influencers have different kinds of experiences & learnings. So please do share some with us as well through comments. Please feel free to leave your blogpost link if you have written about it. 

Comments

A related blogpost by Shrinidhi - How freelancers are often cheated by agencies! : https://www.enidhi.net/2021/04/how-freelancers-are-cheated-by-agencies.html

Trending Post Today !

Travel & Music || Enchanting Himachal and its Charming Songs

タイムターナーを回しましょう || スコットランドの高地の忘れられない思い出

Dennis Special Whisky from Rock and Storm Distilleries

How to reach Kasol/Malana and top things to do around this stunning hill-station of Himalayan State of India

Main places to see & Top things to do around Dalhousie : Stunning Hill Station in Himalayan State of India