I've been getting e-mails recently from people wanting me to mention their bike-related products in my posts. A few savvy companies have figured out creative ways to use blogs as a marketing tool, and a bunch of cheapskates are trying to get in on the action with minimal thought and effort.
Here's my short-and-sweet guide for people hoping to squeeze a little publicity out of blogs (well, this blog, anyway). If you really want some exposure, take a lesson from Banjo Brothers and follow some of these basic steps. Otherwise, stay the hell out of my inbox:
Rule No. 1: This is a blog, which means it's mine. Just like every other blogger, I do this for my own selfish reasons, not to help you sell stuff.
Rule No. 2: Grow the fuck up. Don't send me messages saying things like, "Hey, my company has a cool new product/website! Check it out! Maybe you'll want to write about it!" I don't want to write about your damned website. Ever. And I'm not going to write about a product I've never used. This is just a blog, but I have standards, no matter how hard that is to believe from reading this thing.
Rule No. 3: OK, so I have standards, but I'm still a swag whore like every other mountain biker. If you want me to mention your product, send me an e-mail asking if I'd like to test and review your bike-related stuff. You'll usually get a positive response because I like bike-related stuff—especially when I don't have to pay for it.
Rule No. 4: If you actually bother to follow rule No. 3, stay in touch via e-mail to see how things are going. Answer my questions. Let me know if I'm using a prototype or the production version, that kinda stuff.
Rule No. 5: The only favor you'll get is if I agree to try your product. If it sucks, I'm going to say so on this blog. If it's good stuff and makes me the envy of my friends, I'll write something nice about it.
See? Five easy steps. And you didn't even have to take a marketing class.
You can send me a tuition check if it'll make ya feel better.