At least, that is, with me. Frankly, I wonder if you even bothered to read this after a title like that! Or at least are highly suspicious at this point. It (should) be just the type of thing you would not expect from me. And there’s a reason for that. There are 3 egregious social media things you shouldn’t do, and the title is related to one of them.
As context, because of this blog, I get occasional emails offering to write guest posts for me. Now, these aren’t really learning folks, these are marketing folks who would want to put in links to their site. This used to happen a lot, so much so I even wrote a post about it. And I point people to it when they get it (for a number of certain types of requests I’ve made up canned responses I just cut and paste).
So I just got one, and it was nice, because it actually listed the company, pointed to examples of their work, and listed some sample titles. However, the titles just didn’t sound like me:
The Four Social Media Perversions You Should Capitalize On
7 Tips to Clickbait That Will Guarantee Results
Posts That Generate Revenue: Using the Words You Can’t Say On Television
(Ok, I’m exaggerating a wee bit :). However, this leads to the first thing to avoid:
1. Don’t offer guest posts that don’t match the tenor of the blog
Now the second case is implied by a bit of the above. Recently I’ve gotten requests about placing links that are much more, er, mysterious. To paraphrase: I work for a client that works in a related area and I’ve written lots of posts and I’d like to do some for you, and there might even be a small bit of money available. Read: I’m too ashamed to admit who I work for, I won’t show you an example of my work, and I’ll try to entice you with a mention of money. Somehow these folks haven’t heard about what builds trust on the net (hint: it’s spelled ‘transparency’). So:
2. Don’t give vague offers with unsubstantiated particulars
I’m more susceptible to people who actually do inquire what it would take to place an ad, but so far I haven’t gone there (I once asked and folks seemed to prefer it without).
Along with this, there are always people who want to show me their product (because it’s in my space) and give them my feedback. That is, they want me to give them my years of expertise for free. On top of that, they need enough of my time to present their product first. My response is always “I talk ideas for free, I help someone personally for drinks/dinner*, but if someone’s making a quid, I get a cut”. The point being, I’m not giving my free time and expert opinion (hey, that’s how I feed the family). I’ll offer them my services, and a time or two that’s actually happened. But mostly they plead poverty and move on.
This is a well-known problem. There are other examples as well: “can I pick your brain”, offers of ‘exposure’ in return for speaking, and it’s not on. In fact, it’s ripe for parody. Thus:
3. Don’t try to get free work
There’re more, I’m sure, but these seem to be the most frequent. It’s really bad social media behavior. If you want something, tell me what it is, and make the value proposition clear.
And let’s be clear: there are offers I do take up, but these are clear about what is required as well as the benefit is to me as well as to them, and I can make a conscious evaluation.
So please, feel free to hire me, but don’t expect me to work for free. Fair enough?
(*Sometimes I just request they pay it forward, if they’re a young person, since I benefited so much from intellectual generosity when I was a neophyte.)