PR and the Fitness Blogger

fitness blogger

credit: Lisa Johnson

One of the first cool things to happen to a blogger when they're rising up through the ranks is to start getting free stuff. For a fitness blogger that means a lot of sportswear, some fitness gizmos, and sneakers. I'm pretty sure there's some master list somewhere that all PR companies buy and apparently I've made that list because I probably get 20 solicitations a week for various things. I thought I'd talk about my own personal rules of PR so you (oh dear, fabulous reader who I truly love!) know what happens when I do talk about a particular product. Paid placements.  I get a bunch of requests for paid placements on my blog. They go something like, "I'll pay you $50 if you let me put this article on your site that links back to mine." I don't even bother to answer these anymore and it's always a no. Yes, it's a good SEO strategy to get links on highly ranked sites and since this blog has a PR rank of 5 (which is pretty good) I'm a solid "get" for a spammer. I'm a total sucker for cute activewear.  Yep, it's hard to turn down a good capri and I'm always, always looking for a comfy sports bra ... the cami designs these days are so cute, I almost always say yes to them. A lot of these offers come to me through my relationship with ActivewearUSA, but the clothes rarely make it into a blog post. I will, however, wear them to shoot a video for my YouTube channel and give a link back in the credits ... or if I just really like a top, I'll snap a pic and give credit on Facebook or Twitter. I only say yes if I think I'll like the product.  If someone is hawking some gizmo that I think is just dumb, I won't ask for it to be sent to me. I get enough offered to me as is. Even so, I only review about half the stuff I get because once it arrives I realize either (1) I can't review it properly because I don't have enough information about how it works (this happened recently with seaweed protein pills ... the science seemed okay, but I didn't trust it enough to write about and I didn't want to endorse something I couldn't 100% believe in) or (2) once I get it, I don't actually like it.  Instead of saying something negative, I say nothing at all. (Thanks, Thumper.) My reputation is more important than your brand.  I'm super glad, PR person, that you're passionate about your product. I'm sure you think it's a great doo-hickey, but I won't damage my reputation by basically becoming a mouthpiece for every fitness product out there that wants to send me a free whatever. If you think I'm that easy to dupe, you've got another thing coming ... I only review products I've actually tested.  I won't talk about a fitness DVD or a piece of performance clothing or anything unless I've actually used it or worn it. I have 15 years in the fitness industry as a trainer and I know this carries a bit of extra authority to readers. I want to make sure I'm as comfortable recommending to you as I would to my Mom or sister. That's my ultimate litmus test ... would I recommend a loved one try it? If you're a blogger, what are your guidelines when you're evaluating products? As a reader, do you think this is a good list or would you only follow FTC guidelines and want me to say that I got it for free? Cheers, Lisa    

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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