As you know from the countless emails you delete, food companies want product coverage from bloggers. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s just the way some ask for it, and their reluctance to pay for hours of work. These are big national companies, not artisan mom and pop shops, after all. They should know better.
Here’s a list of the most outrageous requests I culled from her emails:
1. Cook a dish for the company’s event. A national food product manufacturer invited her to a new product launch. The invite read: “In the true style of sharing, we invite you to bring a favorite dish to share with a small group of 8-10 other local media and bloggers.”
2. Get paid in gas money. A national dairy company wanted to make 30-second recipe videos to promote its ice cream. They invited the blogger to be the “culinary representative” for free, and added, “The shoot will take place at the [XX] studios. I know this is about a hour drive for you so [our company] would be happy to reimburse you for gas if you would like.”
3. Receive a coupon for a loaf of bread. A bakery asked her to write a blog post for free, featuring their bread, and to share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Her reward? “As a part of participating, we’d love to offer you a free loaf or baguette of your choice to help you bring your recipe to life. In addition, we’d like to offer you a free loaf or baguette to award your readers and fans!”
4. Promote a company’s contest. A food packager asked her to run a post about the company’s recipe contest, including suggesting she tell her readers to submit recipes to the contest.
5. Use the product in recipe posts, in exchange for entering a contest. In exchange, she could win “some awesome [product name] prizes.”
6. Post a recipe for free so it can be featured on the company’s Facebook page. “Each holiday we will select one or two recipes to share with our fans. In doing so, we’re passing along our thanks to you by encouraging our community to become part of YOUR community.”
7. Write nine blog posts in three weeks. This last one came from a book publisher. The publisher asked for nine blog posts over three weeks to promote a cookbook. “We of course welcome more frequent posts if you’re so inclined!” the email said. Her reward? Unspecified. “We’ll reward you with cash and prizes, not to mention assistance with building blog traffic and your social media platform with the help of [the author's] team!
The fact is that companies wouldn’t do promotions like this if they didn’t think food bloggers would go for them. I hope that food bloggers are learning to say no, or are at least are pushing back by asking for a reasonable rate to do work for companies (with full disclosure, of course).
If you’re a food blogger, do you get requests like this? Do you just press delete, or do you try to negotiate for better terms from the company? Do you think some of these requests are reasonable?
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