5 Etiquette Tips for Bloggers

via Zhang Jingna Art

In my 5 years of blogging, it was only last year that I was exposed to bloggers' Facebook groups. Despite being a little antisocial, I discovered a new world where proactive bloggers are out on the go and advertisers and event coordinators are actually fishing for online influencers. It was a fun experience signing up for events, meeting new people and receiving freebies but it was also this time when my eyes were opened to a few injustices both bloggers and advertisers have to put up with. 

If you're a newbie blogger, you have to really suck up to the coordinators, shelling out your own money for transport, etc., for a loot bag that's sometimes not even worth the endeavor. If you're a blogger with an established readership, advertisers would really suck up to you and sometimes, in a realm of opportunities and options, you tend to develop a sort of diva complex.

I also just realized how advertisers had to kill the extra time searching for the right bloggers in a pool of spam commenters in Facebook threads and how they have to deal with no shows and freeloaders.

Naive as I was, I allowed myself to be sucked into such a messy system, forgetting my initial purpose as to why I'm blogging. I recently realized this so I opted to write about how I wanted to change my behavior towards advertisers, and hopefully create a ripple of change in a quite unruly community of bloggers in this generation.

1. Don't be a comment spammer
I've had a personal encounter with these comment spammers. 

Even when the promotional post is requiring them to sign up on Google Forms or to message the person directly, still they would plop their email addresses and blog URLs on the comments section. Some don't even bother reading the promotional post. If an advertiser is looking specifically for beauty bloggers, even if that's outside their niche still they would enter their details, making it harder for advertisers to sort everything out. 

I know how comment spamming works for some bloggers. Believe me, I've been a professional spammer in a past freelance job. It's a way to get people to open their website. They don't care if their blogs have any relevance to the job description posted. They just want their blogs to be seen. It's an addition to their page views, regardless whether the visitor was pleased or pissed after viewing. This is a desperate, not to mention annoying, marketing strategy.

If you want to be invited to events, receive product samples and gain the trust of people who are looking to build their business with bloggers, please be responsible and professional with your social media etiquette. Read first. Decide whether the promotional is relevant to your blog or niche. Understand the fine print of the post. It would be really hard to look stupid when the advertiser contacts you and you have no idea what you signed up for. 

Finally, treat the comments section as a way to market yourself as a professional blogger. Some advertisers blacklist, you know. Even if you've somehow established your own brand, to some of these advertisers you'll still be that blogger who knew nothing, and was too desperate. BURN.

2. Schedule upcoming projects and events before signing up
To the previous advertisers I dissed in the past months, I am deeply sorry. That was totally irresponsible of me. I never thought it'd be so frustrating to have 100 people sign up for your event and have only 10 attend. And what's more irritating is that they have another event for an excuse.

In Facebook, not everyone who clicks "Attending" will actually attend, and not everyone who plops their email and blog url on the comments section (as per Tip#1) have the slightest idea what's going on. Some delight in signing up for every event they come across while browsing blogger groups, without any commitment in mind. Well, most of the time we couldn't blame them either because they just had to take a chance and wait for the advertiser to consider them over everyone else who signed up. And sometimes the ads don't contain event dates. "Just an upcoming thing", as most of you might have read over and over, like revealing the name/date/time of the event will kill anyone.

Sometimes, you just can't help but be tied up between two big events in a day because of these little miscommunications. The least we can do is to use a planner or calendar to note the events we're already planning to attend so that just in case a promotion contains a specific date that may coincide with another event, we would know better than to sign up for that anymore. This is also to save you from being a no show.

3. Be a polite communicator
Okay, so just in case you're caught in the previous situations, the one thing you can do, for the sake of common decency and world peace, is to be a polite communicator. This means replying in a professional manner to emails and/or personal messages that are sent to you by the advertisers. Whether you're interested or not, let them know. Whether the proposal is relevant to your niche or not, let them know. Whether you'll be late or won't be able to attend due to whatever excuse you may have, let them know. I've elaborated on this in "How to Reject People without the Unnecessary Guilt".

Also if you have questions and clarifications, ask politely. You can't blame people for things you didn't have the balls to ask about. Even if they were the ones who invited you, still it's your responsibility to know the answers to the things you are unsure of. Ignorance is never a good excuse.

I know, I too am guilty of seenzoning people in Facebook over the years, especially when I'm not interested or I'm too embarrassed to say No. I would usually be contented with the thought of "Silence means No", and that people will get that but I wouldn't have realized I were this ill-mannered until I experienced being seenzoned myself. It sucks. I never thought it would be as annoying to have to present what's going on and be left with nothing. Not even a rejection. Just plain dead air. Imagine the effort it took to market something plus that one piece of precious internet time wasted. 

For this I would really like to commend our dear advertisers and event coordinators. I don't have the friggin' patience to deal with this shit. This is the ultimate thing that got me really fired up pissed over some undisciplined bloggers of today. I even ranted about this with a friend and she's like "That's really how it is." Unruly and disrespectful bloggers are like the majority nowadays. It's just frustrating.

Please be a polite communicator. You don't need to be the god of grammar to be able to communicate properly and in a way that you're letting your real thoughts come across without being rude.

4. Write about the product you received or event you were invited in as soon as possible.

Okay, another thing I'm guilty about for the past year. Sometimes I just attend an event for the heck of it without any intent on blogging about it later. I know, I hate myself too for that.

Guess I didn't know how much money and effort it took to organize events and promote products until I remembered marketing my own product to a few bloggers. I'm making and selling Pocket Nursing Guides, and in 2014 I decided to have bloggers from a medical niche to write about it in exchange for a free sample. I thought that bloggers who own high ranking blogs would be more professional about this but this one especially annoying blogger fucked with me. She's a great communicator on email, mind you. She showed real interest in my product so I decided to send her a free one. After that was blah. No post. No email reply. Ziltch. And she's still currently updating her site. I'm not sure blabbing about this person will achieve anything but just to ignite your curiosity, her blog has the initials N and G in them. If you have any nursing related business, never deal with this person.

Don't be a blogger that's all about tokens and loot bags. There's a responsibility behind all that. These people are sucking up to us with payments in cash and in kind, the least we can do is help them with their marketing campaign. Who knows, one day they'll come up with blogger contracts and sue the crap out of you if you fail to write about their product.

With that said, I hope we'll be more considerate of how advertisers and event coordinators put up with no shows and freeloaders. Brands are paying them to market their products. For us bloggers, as part of the online media, not blogging about an event or product will cost advertising companies their clients. That's a lot of money and manpower lost for being too lazy to post about their product. And you'll never hear from them again. Notice the way I couldn't forget that person who scammed me, advertisers too will remember those lazy freeloading ones.

5. Never display an attitude of arrogance
Being an arrogant a-hole is like the holy grail of people nobody would ever want to work with. Reality is, not all events that bloggers are invited in will be giving out cash or loot bags. And not every event that promises those will give them out on time. I'm talking about irresponsibility on the end of some advertisers: overselling something and cheaping out on the pay. That's a given. In this day and age, there will always be those freelancing scammers taking in pay from brands, hiring bloggers, and running away with the pay.

Despite that, some high and mighty bloggers, who have their heads up in the air and their asses in their faces, have the audacity to complain and throw a world class fit in front of everybody simply because the event or the pay didn't meet his/her expectations.

Expectations versus reality, right?

I couldn't emphasize more that for us bloggers, Image is Everything. Nobody likes an arrogant and demanding brand ambassador. Even bloggers roll their eyes at these types of people. Self-entitlement is a trait that may offend others. I'm all for equal opportunities so these people who feel they're entitled to better things in life get in my nerves.

It's true that sometimes some of us have to put up with those kinds of advertisers. Especially newbies who are trying to establish ties with brands. But there are also these circumstances when someone just happen to have the balls to speak out and complain against an abusive or suspicious organizer. It's possible that he/she may look like an a-hole to the rest of the bloggers who are willing to lick these petty scamming advertisers' butts for loot bags (#sorrynotsorry), but I believe there's a peaceful way of calling out someone's crap without arrogance. 

I think this is the perfect time to quietly walk away and save yourself or talk to the person directly and air your sentiments. Who knows, they may not be scammers after all. It's also possible that delays are on the end of the brands. Consider every possibility and weigh the situation before deciding on a politically sound action. You could either be the hero that stood for your fellow bloggers or you could also be the self-entitled a-hole.

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