On What Planet is Toothpaste Compensation for Work?

Today I am feeling ranty about Blogger Outreach that just didn’t hit the mark. And I am a little bit stabby. But yesterday was worse.

Let’s start with the why. Yesterday, I landed two amazing absurd, totally missed the mark, offers to blog about dental products. So far so good. Teeth are important and that kind of blogger outreach program could be done well potentially.

These pitches came from two different boutique PR agencies. Well, clean teeth and healthy living are subjects I love to write about actually and I am heading to the dentist this evening because I have a sore tooth and it’s that time of year. The teeth cleaning time of year. So I read the emails with some interest. Because everyone can relate to dentists, teeth, and teeth cleaning issues.


Tonight, though when I go to the dentist I am going to try something different. I think I will leave my wallet at home and take a tube of toothpaste with me to pay my dental bill. Then, I will try to give the dentist another tube of toothpaste when my daughter finishes. That should spare my Visa card. After all it seems fair, right? Fair trade for service rendered.

Clean teeth all done for another nine months usually costs me at least $200 each. You’d do the same, right? Pay people in toothpaste. I mean what does a dentist need more than toothpaste? He must be dying to get his hands on some. Just last week I was driving around town in my horse and buggy with my chickens ready to pay the shopkeep downtown. So toothpaste and toothbrushes make sense as currency to me.

Pitch number one yesterday:

Here is a great guest post about tooth decay provided to you for free. 

For additional product information or a sample of  XYZ Toothpaste, editorial media may contact Charlotte for a sample tube of this all natural fluoride free toothpaste.

This was pitch number two yesterday:

Obviously Easter is all about chocolate, candy and treats, which are filled with sugar, sugar and more sugar — and can lead to cavities. Let your little ones enjoy the holiday, but after the festivities are done it’s important to implement a “Candy Rehab” to get those youthful gums and teeth in tip-top shape.

I would like to send you samples of X toothbrush. You can share this information and review with your audience. (Your audience will love this generic prewritten impersonal post about getting kids to brush their teeth.


There were other really poor examples of attempts at blogger outreach yesterday and a sad effort by a former client who tried to get me to give them a blueprint to run a twitter party for free. Trash box.

Dentists don’t work for free and neither do bloggers or social media strategists. Most businesses don’t work for free. Have you ever taken out an ad in the newspaper and suggested to the ad department you would send them a tube of toothpaste? No? I didn’t think so. I wrote a post about this last year. Before You Ask Bloggers to Write for Free. Then I wrote another one because companies still were not getting the message.  Five Reasons Why Your Blogger Outreach Program is a Fail


Don’t Pitch Pet Products to Bloggers Without Pets

A few months ago I got a suggestion from several public relations teams that I might want to post reviews for dog products. Now what’s wrong with that? In fact, I don’t own a dog and I never have. (save for a six month period in grade 11 when I bought my brother one that broke our fence and pooped all over and eventually went to a family with a big backyard that knew something more than I did about raising dogs.)

The dog blogger campaign ask was really great also because everyone that wrote about the products could be considered for a potential prize of $100. One blogger would win and one blogger would also get a badge to place on their blog. So imagine that you showed up for work at school as a teacher and you competed for who taught the best lesson and at the end of the day one of you got paid. Out of 14 employees.


Recently a great friend of mine and a funny lady about town Mara Shapiro (ChickyMara) and Be Nice or Leave, Thanks! was asked to write about a major tourism destination for the honour of using their hashtag. #PRfail. So now apparently we are also trying to pay people with hashtags? That was a trick I hadn’t yet seen. 


Great pitches

I have seen a lot of great pitches in the last year. Some were amazing clients and fantastic opportunities and I love the work I do. I have created programs and I have built several successful blogger outreach campaigns over the last two years. Each one is different, targeted to different audiences with distinct goals and a well thought out strategy in mind. Also, each one of these programs represents countless hours of nurturing relationships so that a business partnership is formed. The R O I is measurable and fast and it is also often generated for an extremely long time.

A well done sponsored blog post, or a well done promotion, can bring traffic for years. Right now there is no better way for your brand to connect effectively and efficiently on line. Ask yourself where do people consume media right now? The average person checks their mobile phone around 150 times a day. People get their news from twitter, their referrals to brands and products and information from blogs, and they connect with genuine experiences on line.

Not to mention some of the best writing I have seen in the last two years has been done in the on line space. For instance, this post One by Karma. Perfection.


Blogger Outreach Can Be Done Well But YOU NEED to Put Effort In

Blogger outreach is an art when it is done well. When it isn’t done well it is a waste of money. I run a a business. I contract people to help me with that business and here’s the trick, the top secret key to the kingdom of on line influencer marketing programs – lean in, listen really close, YOU CAN’T BUILD True Influence WITH DOG FOOD OR TOOTHPASTE OR HOT DOG BUNS.

You can’t build relationships or strategy or business with those either. Feel free to connect with me when you are serious about social strategy.

I am on LinkedIn as Paula Schuck. I am here as well

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Cathy C

    Could not get through this post fast enough! I had opinions and Ya what she said coming out of me to no one, since in the room alone! I think we all know what my Worth the Read this Friday will be about! Great points, and great post.
    It seems so very simple to me: It is a job like any other job and therefore payment for you/ my /their work is required. I do volunteer bur I am asked to do this clearly as volunteer work which I then understand and make a decision if I wish to do it or not out of the goodness of my heart. I am a bit sick of the bloggers getting “free stuff”, or the bloggers not getting paid stuff I read.

  • Literary Winner

    I totally agree! Everybody else gets paid, why shouldn’t the blogger? Unless my gas company starts accepting hi-res images as payment, then something needs to change.

  • Jennifer

    This is a great post – I get so, so many ridiculous offers lately…and I feel like they are getting worse. I hate when I’m not valued as a blogger, yet the PR company wants my influence. I’m getting stabby just writing this comment actually!

  • Suzanne S.~ KawartthaMums Founder

    Great Post Paula ,
    I started writing my comment and it turned into a post rant of my own.
    I was really stung last year in the blogging for barter business,
    I was promised a two page spread worth several thousand dollars in a magazine in exchange for my Social Media work.
    I neglected my own publications and poured myself into the work 7 days a week 18 hours a day -even travelling to shoot YouTube interviews.
    When they dropped off a hundred of their free magazines what was there?
    Not even the one little line they accord to people who don’t pay for an ad in their publication.
    I sent an email asking where my advertorial about Social Media was, and still have not received a reply.

  • Mara Shapiro

    I really WAS honoured to be asked to ‘grow my influence’ by writing a blog post and then sharing it with their hashtag. I mean, that way everyone would know I was using a hashtag. You’re so right. Work is work and it should be compensated.

  • The Modern Mom

    I totally agree! Everyone’s time is of value, regardless of what your do. There isn’t many who would work all day for no pay, unless you are providing charity for something close to your heart.

  • Randa Derkson

    I got pitch #2 as well. I don’t think some people realize that with the time spent on the post, photos and editing that a $4 item doesn’t cut it. Lately I have had a lot of shocking responses when I email back with my rates.

    It’s my job, it’s how I contribute to my family’s finances.

  • Gingermommy

    I love when you write these posts. I seriously can not refer bloggers who do not value themselves to work that is actually of value knowing they will go back to the tube of toothpaste. I was offered two ambassadorships recently. When I mentioned compensation for my time, 1 totally backed away. The other wanted to take the value of the product off what I required for compensation. I had to explain 1. time is money. 2 hosting is not free. 3 gas to get to there is costly and 4 this is my business. Why does this need to even be explained?

  • Crunchy Carpets

    although many of those ‘I have hi-res images” pitches are generic and not to just bloggers but to all media outlets on the hope that they will be featured in some spread. We do have to remember that bloggers are not the centre of the universe YET. However there are still plenty of shitty pitches to bloggers and it makes the one’s who put effort into them ($ or no $) look amazing

  • Little Miss Kate

    It takes a quick glace of a pitch to see which companies “get it” and which ones don’t. As bloggers we work hard to provide our audience with quality engaging content. And it is disappointing when others don’t recognize the work that goes into it. They are not working for free or being paid in product, why should we be expected to?

  • Unknown

    Amazed at how often PR people send such emails. What irritates me the most, is that those PR companies are paid well, and not in toothpaste.

  • Unknown

    Amazed at how often PR people send such emails. What irritates me the most about that is that those PR people are paid handsomely, and not in toothpaste.