Category Archives: The Buzz on the Biz

Flattery Won’t Get You Everywhere

Once every couple of days, I get an email from someone I don’t know telling me that they love my blog.

I know exactly what will follow — they want me to write a blog post about their company, website, product, store or book.

The usual reason they give me why I should spend my time writing a story about them: “Your readers will really be interested.”

So I send them with a reply telling them that this sounds like a great idea for a sponsored post on my blog to advance their marketing/advertising objectives and include a link to my press kit that includes my sponsored post rates.

Nine times out of 10, these people get back to me and tell me that they don’t have money in their budget.

I’m a nice person, but I’m not that nice.

My time is valuable. I can’t afford to take time away from paid work or my free time so that someone else can benefit financially.

When these people get pushy, I’ll ask, “Would you work for free?”

I’ve never had anyone reply in the affirmative.

Long before I started my blog, A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind (http://agoodwomansdirtymind.com), I’ve had an extensive career as a print journalist and in PR media relations and content marketing. I know and respect all of the aspects of marketing through media.

Here are some things people wasting their time trying to get free advertising should know…

– Just because you or your product exists doesn’t make you interesting or newsworthy.

– Readers don’t like reading advertising. However, I can write a story that’s informative and entertaining in which I can incorporate product placement. I have no problem asking for compensation because people who are compelled to click on the links and buy your product or service because they’re compelled or swayed by what I write.

– Sometimes, people who say they love my blog will hit me up a second time with an affiliate ad “opportunity”. Unless you’re offering at least 20% commission on sales, I’m not interested. If you have an unreasonable payout threshold (more than $50) or payout schedule (more than 30 days), I’m not interested. We all know what the click-through and conversion rates are. Some are profitable and compensate me for my work; most don’t. I stick with a few because they work.

– If you’re asking me to write for your website for free in exchange for exposure, obviously I don’t need it if you found me.

– Just because you can pull my content from an RSS feed doesn’t mean you can use everything I write on your blog or website. It’s copyrighted material. I don’t mind having linked or aggregated in original content on websites, blogs, newsletters, and social media outlets, but have the courtesy to ask first.

– If you don’t have a marketing budget, there’s something wrong with your business plan. It’s kind of like not having money in your budget to pay your gas, electricity and water bills.

– You found me because you saw value in what I can do for you. Why would you devalue me or my time?

– Flattery doesn’t pay my bills. I doubt if anyone has a plumber or mechanic who works for free because people say nice things about them.

– Asking me to work for free is not flattery; it’s an insult.

Advertisements

My Will Not Work For Free Manifesto – Chapter 2

Write for Our Cabana and get nothing in exchange for the cost of putting a roof over your head.
Write for Our Cabana and get nothing in exchange for the cost of putting a roof over your head.

I normally do not get hit up twice in one day to work on an unpaid “collaboration” with a revenue-generating website, but I am even now more committed to publicly outing companies like them that exploit bloggers and other creatives for their commercial gain.

Dear Chris,

How thoughtful of you to address me as AGWDM in asking me to “consider OurCabana to be something that your readers should know about.”

Please allow me to explain the cost to me for providing you with free advertising on my site.

My billing rate for a paid sponsored post is $200. That amount of money covers the time I spend writing, formatting and posting an article on my site. It also includes the worth of my web and social media reach. It’s money and time that I could have dedicated toward other paid work, pursuing paid work, or having the luxury of some downtime to watch a movie, read a book, or spend with friends or family.

To further insult me and all the other sex bloggers you have or will be contacting, you’re asking me to “consider becoming a Contributor to the Learn Section of OurCabana, or discuss how we can help promote your work within the OurCabana community.”

So now you’re asking me to provide free quality content to boost the SEO of your revenue-generating website? Do you really think that you’re helping to promote the partially unpaid work I already do and promote for my blog? Since you were able to find and contact me so easily, I can’t exactly say that you’re doing me any favors of reciprocal value.

Obviously, you contacted me because you saw the value in how I could add to the visibility and profitability of your online business. I’m sure you understand how I can use that same logic in using your company as an example of how companies exploit writers and other creatives to benefit their bottom lines.

From now on, be careful for what you wish. Our Cabana is now something my readers know about.

My Will Not Work For Free Manifesto

Write for them ... for no compensation.
Write for them … for no compensation.
I openly admit that I’m probably going to come off as sounding like a crazy kook, but how would you feel if someone asked you to work for free?

As a professional content writer/blogger who has a popular following and reputation, I get a fair amount of paid work to do the same for others with money-making business ventures. I’m lucky that I get do to work I enjoy with some pretty fantastic people. I’m happy, they’re happy. At the end of the day, we all go home and live the lives we’re grateful to live and afford. After all, that is the purpose of work, right?

And then I get pitches for “opportunities” all the time, and we all know that “opportunity” means “We want you to work for us for free.”

Normally, I don’t tell people and their business ventures, “Here’s what I think of your opportunity,” when I hit the delete button on my laptop, but this time, I decided to tell a profit-generating website what I think with an email reply. It’s not nice (neither is the expectation that people should work without compensation) or kind, but it’s something that needs to be said.

Here's the "fantastic opportunity" this company is taking advantage of from uncompensated writers.
Here’s the “fantastic opportunity” this company is taking advantage of from uncompensated writers.
Hi Jason,

I’m going to be very blunt with you. When I see pitches like this from commercial websites that offer me “fantastic opportunities”, it means that they’re asking me to provide unique keyword-rich quality content to bolster their SEO and digital footprint for no compensation for my time, talent or online reputation and clout.

And then you expect me to promote my uncompensated work through social media contacts you don’t have to promote your websites? Who is this opportunity for, me or you?

If your car breaks down, would you expect a mechanic to fix it for free because you called him an expert? If you went to a restaurant because you were hungry, would you expect to eat for free because you called the chef who prepared a wonderfully delicious meal an expert? Would you be willing to work for someone for free? I don’t think so.

Since you found and approached me, who is really helping who here? Don’t you think that I should be able to reap some reward from the risk that you and I are taking in this “fantastic opportunity”?

Content writing and management, social media consulting and online marketing is something I do on a professional basis. They’re skills that a lot of people don’t have or don’t have time to do on their own. It’s time I spend that puts a roof over my head, lights on in my house, water running in my faucets, and clothes on my back. Having someone call me an expert and taking time away from my paid work does none of those things. I fail to see where the opportunity is for me and I consider expecting a free ride on my coattails as an insult.

Why Sponsored Posts Rock!

A few months ago, I stopped doing product reviews on my site, A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind. Except for really popular or exceptional products, reviews aren’t very popular with my readers. Heck, even I don’t read product reviews on my favorite blogs. The only time I read product or service reviews is when I plan on purchasing something special or expensive, and even then, I look for a mix of blogger and customer reviews.

I’ve also cut back on banner ads. Way back. The fewer ads I have on my site, the better they perform for my clients as well as my own retail sites. Plus, having fewer banner ads keeps readers focused on finding and reading quality content and keeps my site from looking like the Las Vegas Strip. And I’ll be the first to admit that I ignore 99% of ads on websites, social media as well as in traditional media.

I’ve found that giveaways perform horribly. They attract relatively very few people and they’re always the same people for every giveaway I’ve held. I could be giving away a bag of manure and they’d enter for a chance to win just because it’s free.

What I’ve found works best in giving clients excellent exposure and call to action are sponsored posts. Here’s how and why…

1. Readers don’t like being sold. The more you push a product and try to convince readers to buy something, the less likely they are to respond. However, when readers read quality content – something that’s newsworthy or relevant to their interests — the more likely they are to click on a photo or a link that’s related to the topic in the story. Readers want the same experience that they’re reading about. It’s much more compelling.

2. Sponsored posts cost more, but the ROI is much quicker and higher. I’ve been writing sponsored posts and advertorials in print publications, on my blog and for clients for years for years. In one case, I had a client say that he recovered his cost in a weekend.

3. Sponsored posts have the power of SEO behind them. When I write sponsored posts, I take great care in using keywords very strategically in headlines, photos, copy, meta descriptions and links. I pay more attention to keywords in sponsored posts than I do in my own content. I also make sure that keywords appear natural and not gratuitous or saturated.

Looking back on my top posts over the past year, three of the Top 10 posts were sponsored posts. The Top 2 sponsored posts have been live on my site for over a year.

SSD AGWDM Top 10 Posts 1 year

Drilling down into the Top 11-100 posts on my site for the past year, nine of them are sponsored posts ranging in 5,186-1,046 page views just for this past year alone. Considering that I post about once a day on my site, have over 1,100 posts on my site, and have been averaging about one sponsored post a week since last September, I think the performance of sponsored posts is pretty damn impressive.

4. Click-through rates in sponsored posts far out perform banner ads. The number of clicks from links embedded in sponsored posts and content far outnumber clicks from banner ads. While some of the clicks listed in the Top 10 URL clicks over the past year have had banner ads, about 90% of them were embedded in content. Since some of the clicked URLs lead to my affiliate links that I’ve included in content, I can attest that they’ve been very profitable. That’s why I no longer run affiliate ads on my site. They don’t pay for the amount of real estate they take up on my site, yet I make a nice chunk of change from embedded affiliate links on posts and pages on my site.

SSD AGWDM Top 10 clicks 1 year

5. Aside from quality content, sponsored posts get extra love. I do more than write quality content on one of the Internet’s most popular sex blogs. (Check out No. 12 on this list for my site and social media stats and analytics.) This is what you get according to the sponsored post package you select…

$200 Sponsored Posts

At least three outbound links to your site.

Top story placement on the front page of my blog for one week — -Monday 8 a.m. EDT-Monday 8 a.m. EDT the following week.

250X250 banner ad at the bottom of the post with a disclaimer that the article contains information and opinions that are genuinely my own. (I do not run press releases or client/agency-generated content.)

250X250 banner ad on the right margin of all pages for one month (I get about 60,000 page views per month. Does not include ads on the main page.)

Notification post on A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind Facebook page with a tag to your Facebook page.

Daily tweets for seven days (@GoodDirtyWoman) that include your Twitter handle.

Daily posts to StumbleUpon.

Tweets and StumbleUpon posts about once every four days for the remainder of the remainder of the month (four weeks.

$175 Sponsored Posts
Includes all of the above sponsored post perks except top story placement on the front page of my blog for one week.

$150 Sponsored Posts
Includes all of the above sponsored post perks except top story placement on the front page of my blog for one week and 250X250 banner ad on the right margin of all post & pages.

A 50% retainer is required to lock in a sponsored post topic and confirmed date. The remainder of the payment is due within 48 hours of the article going live. Payments via PayPal are preferred.

I offer frequency discounts for weekly and monthly sponsored posts. I also lock in rates for existing/loyal clients.

I’d love to work with you. Contact me via the form below!

A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind is Looking to Find the Best Online Sex Toy Shop

AGWDM best online sex toy contest 400A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind is putting the call out to readers and shoppers to vote for The Best Online Sex Toy Shop Monday, Nov. 10-Sunday, Nov. 16.

“I don’t know of any list or guide of its kind,” says Bobbie Morgan, beditor-in-chief of A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind. “There are some lists out there that people have made up based on their shopping experiences, but none that are based on a truly democratic process based on things people find important – wide range of products, price, shipping, return policies and other customer service qualities. Given the number of online sex toy shops, the only fair way I knew to do this was to ask the public at large.

To give people an incentive to vote, Revel Body is offering a chance to win a Revel Body SOL Sonic Vibrator with attachments and travel bag (a $178.99 value) for writing in their favorite online sex toy shops. Voters can increase their chances of winning by tweeting about the contest once per day.

There’s also an incentive for online adult novelty retailers to get in on the action, too. A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind is offering a prize package that includes:

• A free 920X120 top of the site banner ad through Dec. 31
• A free 500-600-word sponsored post any day during the holiday season
• One daily sponsored tweet through Dec. 20 or last shipping day before Christmas
• 50% off any one promotional/marketing service
• A special promotional/marketing service discount during the Valentine’s Day holiday
• Bragging rights, baby. Bragging rights.

The winner and runners up will be announced on Thursday, Nov. 20. The remaining online sex toy shops will be ranked according to the number of votes received. They’ll all be invited to submit their Cyber Monday deals in a special post that will run on A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind on Sunday, Nov. 30.

Breaking News: Facebook Adds “Buy” Button

SSD facebook buy buttonOnline retailers, you’ll definitely want to get on board with Facebook’s new “Buy” button.

Facebook just announced today (Thursday, July 17) that it is testing the new service with select small to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. Posts will show up on news feeds and will allow Facebook members to make their purchases without leaving the site on their desktop or mobile device.

None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases.

Facebook says that it is not charging businesses to use the “Buy” button, although it’s a safe assumption that it will encourage businesses to pay for sponsored posts.

But will Facebook allow adult businesses to be in on the game? It’s a good guess that the “Buy” button will be okay with safe products — bath and body products and lingerie — but that’s only speculation. Time will tell. Stay posted. I’ll be keeping track.

How Can People Know About Your Product if They Can’t Find You?

Ay-yay-yay…

Over the past few days, I’ve been trying to contact every company that makes flavored lubricants for a massive blog post I have scheduled for the end of the month … The Great Lube Taste Test.

There were some companies that were easy to find. The brand and company names were listed in product descriptions. Some of their PR and sales reps got back to me almost immediately, even over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Then there were some companies I really had to dig through Google and social media sites to find contact information. One company hadn’t put out a tweet in over two years. One company had a website but no contact form, email link, Twitter account, or Facebook page.

In several cases, sites like Amazon and eBay popped up first when I searched products by names and brands. Some brand and company sites showed up on the second or third pages of Google searches, and some didn’t show up at all.

If a company is selling its flavored lubricants primarily on eBay, good for them. Realistically, I wonder how well they’re doing. When I searched Amazon for flavored lubricant, I got 3,914 results. On eBay, I got 3,614 results.

I also found that a lot of adult product retailers came up on Google searches before brand and company sites. But if customers are just doing a search for flavored lubricant, they’re likely to get sites like Adam & Eve, Pure Romance, Walgreens and Amazon at the top of the first page. When I did a search for flavored lubes on a client’s adult product retailer’s website, I got 375 results. I doubt if anyone is going to sift through that many results.

I’m only picking on personal lubricants because it’s my project du jour and there are at least 100 different kinds of flavored lubes in the market place. Some are easy to find and have great reputations because their manufacturers market them well online. I have never seen a flavored lube on the shelves in my local megastore or drug store. Even if I go to one of my favorite sex toy shops, I may or may not get informed sales person to help narrow down my choice. With the exception of big name manufacturers, TV and print advertising can be cost prohibitive if allowed at all. Even online/social media advertising can be iffy, (See Tweet This Article to @DickC & @TwitterAds – #Tweet4Condoms.)

If you manufacture flavored lubricants, yes, I want to hear from you. I’d also like to hear from manufacturers and retailers of other adult products to discuss ways to put what you have to offer above the others. Drop me a line and let’s start the conversation.