The famous scene from Jerry Maguire with Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr always brings a smile to my face.
I'm not as focussed on making money as Cuba Gooding Jr's character in Jerry Maguire, but I don't work for free or do things that benefit others unilaterally.
I've been blogging and running websites for years. Over the years there's been a growing number of people (and companies) that have wanted me or one of the organisations I'm involved with to promote their product or service.
That doesn't bother me, as long as they're reasonable and realistic about it.
But some of the requests are just plain weird or maybe they're just incredibly naive.
Today I got this gem (names and brand names removed):
This is XXXX from Company YYYY. We are a smart office furniture company. We are currently in the midst of building our online identity. Would you be interested in partnering with us by writing an article and have a backlink to us?
We will promote your website on our social channels in exchange. Please let me know if you are interested.
So essentially they're starting out and want to get people talking about them. Nothing wrong with that.
They'd like me to write an article about them and link to them. Again, nothing really wrong with that. It's content marketing which is perfectly legitimate.
But here's the bit that annoyed me:
We will promote your website on our social channels in exchange
Sorry, but what the hell are you thinking? First off you want me to write about you for free. That's annoying. Where's my carrot? Oh wait, you're going to share the article on your social channels? But didn't you want me to write about you because you needed to raise awareness of your brand? ie. you don't have one now and need help with it. So what value do your social channels have?
Now if they'd offered to send me something cool to review or made some bit of effort I might have been interested in doing something, but their entire approach was just plain wrong.
Problem is that there are still people who think that asking for free work like this is "ok". It's not.