PR Friendly Blogging – The Good, The Bad & The “What the Heck am I Doing”

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Amber Killmon
Hi! I'm Amber, and I'm a stay at home mom with a blog, look out! I live on a little island in Virginia with my son, boyfriend and our cat. My son is my inspiration for everything I do, including starting my blog Parent Palace.
Amber Killmon
Amber Killmon
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Free stuff! (maybe)

I was a late comer to the blogging venture, only having started April 2011. I’ve always been a Google hound, and it took me a while to figure out the majority of my search results were from blogs. Once I figured this out I was intrigued by the many aspects of blogging – it looked easy, seemed like a great way to get free stuff and make a little money on the side. I bought my domain name (on a whim and a prayer), got some cheap hosting (which I have since migrated from, twice) and started blogging away. After I had 5 or so posts up I started e-mailing companies left and right letting them know that I loved their products and would love it if they would send me some free stuff so I could talk about it on my blog. Yea, that’s how I said it – if only I knew then what I know now.

Don’t feel sorry for me (or take advantage)

Some of you may be shaking your heads, snickering or even feeling sorry for me. But you shouldn’t, I don’t. It took a lot of trial and error for me to figure out what exactly I was doing, and how I could do it right (I’m still learning the last part, I don’t think a bloggers learning is ever really done.) But, out of the many companies that I sadly pitched, several of them responded eager to exploit my blog for their advertising pleasure, and I dove in head first with no life jacket. Over a months time I had received 30+ responses

to my requests, many of them offering me high resolution pictures and their press releases to use. I must have done 20 reviews sans product and unrealistic trial sized products before I realized I was being taken advantage of. I quickly realized that blog product reviews were a business exchange. I was providing a service in exchange for a product; When I didn’t receive a product I was just providing free advertising – that didn’t seem fair. I stopped doing the free advertising, no matter how much search engine traffic it would bring, I was sick of selling myself short. I still do the occasional “free” review as long as it’s a product of value and the company plans on giving one or more to a reader of mine.

Focus. It’s important!

I don’t pitch companies much anymore as I don’t really want a review blog, I feel like I would be selling out my original idea of offering family and parenting posts. I still do the occasional review/giveaway but not as often as I did the first 2 months. I don’t want my blog to be seen as a virtual billboard for everything under the sun and have my original plan be overshadowed. I love talking about things that make my life easier and sharing my opinions on products with my readers, but I wont sell myself or my blog out to get a trial size shampoo or a single chocolate square. I am focusing now on providing actual content from a moms perspective and even if that doesn’t pay all my bills, I’m comfortable knowing I’m following through with my original aspiration.