If you’re a blogger, you can find a million posts on how to write a blog at any given time. But, how many times have you seen a post on blogging etiquette?
Probably not many.
Everyone has a lot to say about ‘How to Boost your Google Page Rank’, ‘How to get 100,000 Page Hits a Day’, ‘How to get a million Facebook page likes’, blah, blah, blah. Heck, the ones I have written are some of my most widely read blog posts:
– How to create a blog that ROCKS!
– How to create a blog that ROCKS!- Part 2
– 5 Strategies for how to host a bloggers’ event
– 5 Strategies for how to get PR companies to notice your blog
– How to rock blogging on a plane
– Liebster Award Speech- How to help new bloggers
– How I increased my Twitter reach to 1 million
Today I want to spend some time on something that I hold close to my heart. Sunny friends, that is etiquette guidelines for a blogger.
I have to to say that in my first year of blogging, the experience has been 99% positive. On the evening news, we are flooded with daily reports that highlight bad choices made by a small percent of people. However, in reality, our lives feature countless encounters with people who are honest, ‘good-deed doers’.
I feel this every day love for humanity is also present in the virtual world of bloggers.
But, I think a few things need a bit of clarification. For this reason, I suggest a blogger should follow these 5 etiquette rules:
Blogger Etiquette Rule #1: To Check-in or Not to Check-in
Bloggers choose to blog for a lot of different reasons. Some just want their family to see their pictures and adventures, some want fame and attention, some want jobs and some want money. We’ve all placed our ruby slippers on this yellow brick road for different reasons.
That’s why I always check with a blogger before posting I’ll be with him/her at an event. It’s just good practice.
For example, not all bloggers want to announce where they are or who they’re with. Perhaps the blogger had several invitations that night. Maybe the blogger doesn’t want the other PR companies to know he/she picked one activity over another?
As a general guideline, I always DM or text a blogger in advance to request permission about seeing him/her at an event before putting it on a social network. Or, I check to see if he/she has publicly committed to it.
Blogger Etiquette Rule #2- Respect the Host
I’ve been the guest of other bloggers at some fabulous events. In turn, I’ve invited bloggers to join me as a ‘plus one’ quite a few times. Here’s how it works- always defer to the host.
This means- if another blogger invites you to lunch, he/she chooses first on the menu. You are secondary. Why? You’re a guest. If she wants the juicy delicious Beef Roast for Sunday lunch, then you get the dry pork roast and shut your yappy mouth about it.
I always give the host/blogger who arranged the opportunity ‘first dibs’ on ideas for the money shot. It’s a bit of a bottom-feeder attitude, but it’s only fair. Now, I do feel that any angle I can put together with his/her crumbs is purely the rights of my creative genius. Boom!
Blogger Etiquette Rule #3- Just Say No!
The above being written, you don’t have to accept every invitation that you receive, no matter who sent it. It’s better to be clear about your intentions before you accept, rather than disappoint or possibly embarrass another blogger. This means if another blogger invites you to an event, assume it’s because he/she thinks you will also post about it too. If it’s not part of your ‘brand’ or something you can produce in a reasonable time frame, decline. In advance.
You won’t die.
Neither will the other blogger. Chances are he/she will find someone else to fill your blogger shoes and respect you for more for it. Albeit, you need to make sure you decline gracefully.
One of the most heart-breaking experiences for me was when I invited another blogger to a super exclusive event and the blogger didn’t even bring a camera to it. However, the blogger had no reservations about leaving the venue with a bag full of complimentary products from the company.
I was shattered because there were numerous other bloggers I could have asked who would’ve cherished the opportunity, just like me. And- written about it on his/her blog.
Blogger Etiquette Rule #4- Remember the Beginning
If you happen to ‘make it’ in whatever realm you define that to be, don’t forget the people who are just starting.
Frequently, I try to promote and tweet about a blogger who clearly has just launched a blog or social media account. It’s important to me.
I follow back every tweep if the account has: a well-written bio with the word ‘blogger’, a great profile picture and a nice cover shot. It’s just arrogant not to reciprocate.
Blogger Etiquette Rule #5- Copy Cats
You seriously need to get over yourself if you think you’ve thought of something ‘no one has done before’ on the internet. Good luck with being the next Mark Zuckerberg.
We all try to find the shot of a London telephone booth that’s ‘never’ been seen before. You think your London Bridge shot is a one-off? Guess again. And I bet every one of you London bloggers has at least five Big Ben shots poking out of your Instagram feed.
We’re all trying to be different, while ultimately covering the same world. Try to be unique, but don’t get too bent out of shape when others have a similar angle to you on a story.
For example, I’ve been to the #LDNBloggersTea tons of times. Generally, it’s 30+ bloggers covering the same event. Seriously, how many different ways can a person depict a damn scone and clotted cream? These situations are not the ones where you call the plagiarism police.
However, there may be a time when someone blatantly rips off your post. Then what?
It happened to me. Rather than being upset, I was extraordinarily flattered. The other blogger and I resolved it with class and maturity. In fact, we now have a rather nice friendship, despite its odd beginning.
If it happens to you, I suggest sending a private message to the blogger which expresses the obvious multiple similarities. Next, politely request the blog post is removed. Chances are, the blogger will do it.
Then, move on. You don’t want or need the bad energy.
Blogger Etiquette Final Thoughts:
If you’re in London and want to meet a fun, highly ethical group of bloggers, come to a #LDNBloggersTea. Following the remarkable footsteps of Selena from Selena the Places, I’ve inherited her legacy of coordinating the afternoon teas from here forward.
.@Sunny_in_London Thanks so much for meeting w/ the venue to make sure the #LDNBloggersTea was an amazing success! Happy to pass the torch!
— Selena (@SelenaThePlaces) September 28, 2014
Blogger Etiquette- Your Turn
I know there’s many more suggestions out there to foster good blogging etiquette and will probably write about it again.
Until then, what blogging etiquette advice do you have to share? Do you agree with these 5 Blogger Etiquette Rules?
Sarah Pellew says
Very interesting post! You make some very good and interesting points! Thank you!! I didn’t know about Triberr so I am off to have a look. X
Sunny London says
Thanks for reading! Triberr makes sharing super easy. Let me know if I can help you with it at all. 🙂
I too hate the generic FB return message. grrr. I generally only follow on one social media per blogger unless I really think the second one is special. Looking forward to your London Blogger teas! everyone has their own spin on what is after all as you said just tea and cake.
Sunny London says
Thanks for reading, Shobha! I’ve always been curious how other people follow each other. I think following a blogger on every network is definitely above and beyond. Regarding the tea, I think we agree. I meant that you can’t get mad at someone for posting a ‘close up of a scone’ if you did too. There’s bound to be similarities when that many people get together for an event. 😉
What a great post! Really informative and fab rules, that I try to follow myself. One thing I don’t like seeing on blogs (I read a lot of food blogs) is when people take someone else’s recipe, normally someone well known, and post it up with no reference to it being from elsewhere. I recently tried to make a cake I’d read on a blog, only for it not to really work. When I looked into it I realised they’d pinched the recipe, and halved the quantities, but had missed out a vital ingredient from the original recipe so theirs didn’t work but they didn’t honour the recipe writer by referencing it as having been “borrowed”.
Sunny London says
Oh my! That’s really bold to take someone’s recipe. I admire food bloggers. It seems very competitive, so integrity is super important.
Sarah Shumate says
I had a similar discussion with Alyssa at the last blogger tea about finding a way to make your particular review of the tea stand out among 30 others. For me, it’s all in the pictures. While there might not always be something unique to say, everyone has a different way of photographing things and that’s the part I look forward to seeing most.
I agree with all of your points here except where you mentioned that not following back was arrogant. I am very selective about who I follow on social media, particularly the ones I use the most – Instagram and Pinterest, but it’s not out of arrogance. I simply prefer to see pictures and pins and tweets that relate to things I’m interested in. I don’t think anyone should feel obligated to follow someone simply because that person is following them.
Sunny London says
Thanks for commenting, Sarah. I love your ideas! I should’ve clarified that I follow all bloggers back on Twitter. However, I also use lists to separate material that I’m reading, so it’s easier. I am very selective with Instagram and Pinterest as well. I don’t know of ways to filter people’s content on them, so I approach them the way you do as well. 🙂
A great post! Simple yet all effective rules and I like you cannot stand the generic please follow my facebook page message and tweet, really grinds my gears haha! You can add me to your bloggers tea email list too, I seem to always have something on when they are on but next time I’ll be more prepared! x
Sunny London says
Fabulous! We’re still in the process of deciding a date and location. I do hope you can make it when we do. #NoMoreFacebookDM’s 😉
Catherine Lux says
Fab post Melanie! Totally agree with the asking about social media thing, sometimes I don’t want people to know where I am due to conflicting brands or PR invites.
Please add me to the email list, I’d love to join for a bloggers afternoon tea!
Sunny London says
Thanks! It means a lot that you agree with the ideas 🙂 I’ll definitely make sure to get in touch when the date, location and other details for the next tea are decided. It would be great to have you join the group!
Tina @ Girl Meets Globe says
Oh how I hate when I get a dm on twitter to follow on facebook!!! One girl did it to me, said she’d follow back and didn’t. I dropped her from fb AND twitter! Not good blogger etiquette!!
You make some great points!! Now I need to go read a few of your other posts that I must have missed!
Sunny London says
Thanks, Tina! Those messages really could’ve been Rule #6 judging from everyone’s feedback! HAHA! I sense another post on the way… Blogger Etiquette, Part 2!!! 😉
The Guy says
I like your approach to blogging etiquette, you seem to be wise in keeping people on your side.
I’ve been blogging for 2 years now and whilst most interactions with other bloggers has been fabulous you do come across the odd rude or arrogant one too. Like you say you’ve just got to brush it off and not hold negative energy.
Great to see there is such a great network of bloggers in London. I’ve never heard of any such gatherings here in East Yorkshire.
Don Purdum says
Hi Sunny in London,
I have to admit that many of us don’t think about some of the etiquette rules you’ve suggested here.
The one that got my attention the most is #5 – Copycats. In your context of an event, I agree that you can only say so much before there is a level duplication.
However, I just wrote an article this morning about being different and unique. It is important because someone like me reads a lot of blogs and I see way to much of the same type of content being written over and over again. To me, it is a problem because those who could help someone won’t if you don’t have your own voice, personality and unique perspective on a topic.
As I said in the intro; After a while, it all starts to look the same. It’s as if we are taking other people’s content and just re-writing it as our own. No originality, thought or uniqueness.
Yet, we wonder why we are not connecting with influencers or audiences and we are certainly not getting noticed, not getting new loyal readers or people that are buying from us.
It’s my challenge to help people think differently about their businesses and blogs and help them see that when your personality shines through your readers and opportunities increase.
I really appreciated your blog and I look forward to reading more!
~ Don Purdum
Beverley | Pack Your Passport says
These are awesome and I totally agree with all of them! I also hate following someone on Twitter and instantly getting a DM asking me to like their Facebook page. Sweetheart, if I want to like you on Facebook I will seek it out for myself, you do NOT need to tweet me about it!
I also think just generally NOT calling other bloggers out for stuff on Twitter is important. For example, I was at an event a few weeks ago and another blogger posted a tweet about me which said something that I didn’t want to announce in public and it kind of upset me because it felt a bit like ‘getting one up’ on someone else. We’re meant to be supporting each other!
Sunny London says
Thank you so much for taking the time to read, Beverley! Glad you agree with the material. With so many people against the automated Facebook message, I really wonder why people continue to do them. Hope to see you at an event soon. It’s been a long time! 😉
Great advice!! I have never found someone copying my posts, hopefully I’ll never have to do that but I like the idea of keeping it private and messaging them instead of calling them out.
Sunny London says
Thank you. I can’t say I handled the situation perfectly, but I am very happy with the results and have a great relationship with the blogger now. 🙂
Ok, so I’m not entirely sure I agree.
Most PR’s ask you to bring a +1… if they expect that +1 to be another blogger, they normally get in touch with that blogger to invite them themselves. Otherwise, we could argue that every time we take our other halves / friend that we are effectively giving that place away to someone who isn’t going to blog about it? I don’t know…. Sam and I often take each other along to events, the PR’s know we both have blogs, but if one of us hasn’t got the formal invite from the PR, then there should be no expectation to blog. Just my opinion.
I am not sure, maybe your situation was different and the person was told upfront that there was a blogging expectation… and if they still didn’t bring their camera and blog that’s an entirely different story….
I do agree that we should just be open. I always tell people whether I will blog or not!
Sunny London says
Ashleigh, thank you for taking the time to comment. I always feel the person I bring as a ‘plus one’ to an event is at my discretion. However, if I choose to include another blogger rather than a friend or spouse, it’s because I think it’s a better fit for the story and what the PR company is seeking. Asking Mr Sunny to come to an afternoon tea would be rather silly. Restaurants, especially pubs, will have a better quality review from me if I include him because his knowledge about food, alcohol and travelling is extensive. Plus, given he has a background as an international journalist, his eye for great shots at locations and events is extraordinary. If I do extend the invitation to a blogger instead, it’s because I think that specific blogger would be a great match for the event and his/her feature on it would be advantageous to the PR company as well. I guess it goes back to the saying ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch.’ I take invitations from PR companies very seriously and feel it’s my job as a blogger to decide the best possible plus one I can find. I haven’t invited a friend to a PR event because I try to maximize the opportunity for all parties involved. It’s a strategy that’s worked very well, but I do understand people can do things differently.
Suze the Luxury Columnist says
Great post Melanie, I hate the generic Twitter “follow me on Facebook” DMs too – often those are sent before the person is even following me on Twitter.
I have only met really lovely people so far, that are warm and funny in the year I have been blogging. One of the things I love about blogging is that the bitchy and cattiness you normally see is left at the door. But maybe I have been lucky. Pet annoyance is follow for follow sake and those who follow but have no engagement in my blog. Hope you are enjoying your hols Lucy x
yes i totally want to come to bloggers tea! enjoy reading your blog 🙂 http://www.thewanderlusthasgotme.blogspot.co.uk
Laura Dale says
I am relatively new to blogging and really enjoyed reading this – thank you!
I would love to come along to one of the Bloggers Tea events.
Sunny London says
Hi! Thank tou for reading and glad I could help. Coming to a tea would probably also be very helpful because it’s a great chance to meet many other bloggers. I’m still in the process of planning the next one. Keep an eye on my Twitter account, blog and/or Instagram for the next date. We’d love to have you 🙂