It’s a scenario I’ve seen time and time again in blogging. I would see it during my brief incarnation as a parent blogger and I see it regularly as a running blogger. The ‘people getting free stuff and opportunities’ complaint usually followed up by the question ‘why didn’t I get asked?’
It is something that I used to get hung up on but over time I realised that maybe I’m just not that genre of blogger. I have been contacted by PR’s and I have been sent great stuff to review (not often I might add) but getting stuff is not my blogging motivation. I’m sure if I put my mind to it I could network and make more of an effort but I don’t. I would be lying if I said reading tweets and blog posts about such things didn’t make me occasionally covet these sorts of opportunities however on reflection I think there are many reasons why I’m not the go to blogger for reviews/promotional events.
1. I am not very good at taking photos of myself wearing stuff. For some reason it makes me feel stupid. Other bloggers are really good at it and take great, action shots or just look awesome posing. I don’t. I am lazy and use photos from the company web site.
2. Most PR opportunities are in London. I am not and with two kids I’d rather spend my weekends with them than hauling my arse 3 hours down the road to look at some trainers. It’s mainly a priority thing. And to be honest I do really fun stuff with my kids which for me trumps PR stuff.
3. I don’t think I’m in the age range PR’s are after. I am a mid thirties mother of two. I’m not the cool, young, vibrant image PR’s are probably after. Despite ‘This Girl Can’ and the recent diversion from the norm for the recent Women’s Running covers, I don’t think Nike and co. want to be associated with middle age that much. It’s a shame and obviously needs to be addressed but I’m not sure how that message can be taken to brands.
4. I don’t have that much time. I am getting busier in the Physiotherapy clinic I work at. I have a family. I now have a dog! I am studying for a masters and attempting to get presentations done, assignments written and pull literature together for a research project. And I have a dog! It would be unfair for me to contact PR’s and tell them I can write them lots of free review posts. Because I can’t. They would end up rushed and boring and no help to anyone. Did I mention I have a dog. My dog seems to have taken up a few more hours in my day! (she is an awesome dog).
5. I am better at writing other things. I write better when the whim takes me and when I feel inspired or equally when I feel enraged. My writing is better when I feel passionately about something. I never feel that my review or kit posts are like that and I think I would be cheating anyone who read them.
6. I feel responsible. As a physio I see people in clinic who have worn unsuitable foot wear for a range of activities which have resulted in injury. What if someone saw a glowing review for a pair of running shoes that I wrote, shoes that were unsuitable for them and subsequently got injured? This is why in a review I did this year I warned runners of a particular foot type to avoid the shoes I had reviewed. The PR said she appreciated the honesty but who knows what they really thought. I however felt better that I had pointed out their unsuitability in the review. Transparency is important to me!
7. Right now I am getting over a nasty virus and I’m not running enough to really test anything. also feel guilty about the things that I already have and sometimes feel that gear should be shared out among people who can’t really afford the current prices of running gear. But that’s for another post I think.
I must make it clear that I am not denouncing anyone who writes review or brand event posts. I just think other people can do it better than me. It’s better to focus on the things that you are passionate about and other bloggers can write in really inspired ways about fitness gear and running shoes. I also quite like that the running blogging mates that I’ve met on Twitter are those that I have genuininely felt a connection with rather than a forced scenario where I am expected to network and pretend to smile. I’m really really cynical aren’t I?
I came across this line in a journal article I was reading about knee pain. As an opening line in a scientific journal it grabbed my attention.
‘Running is one of the most popular and efficient forms of exercise, requiring only a pair of shoes and a place to run’.
I don’t need to feel endorsed by a PR or a brand to be a runner or a blogger or anything for that matter. I have other priorities in my life and I won’t feel bad that I’m not asked to events like other bloggers are. Right now I have had a real opportunity in my life linked to running. I am developing ideas for research studies that will involve the running community and my job as a physio. Two things that I’m passioante about rolled into one. I can’t ask for better than that.
I suppose my take home message is focus on what drives you and inspires you. Don’t dwell on what you don’t have because it’s a waste of time. I know what I’m good at and I don’t need free trainers, that may be unsuitable for me, to tell me that. I have my running shoes and I have two legs that work and a door to the outside. The rest is just stuff.