Friday 12 August 2011

It Pays to be Nice, Literally...

Recently I read a post over at Glass Half Full and Fay was talking about how she hates being referred to as nice. She asks how will being nice help her succeed in life?  and then goes on to post a response from someone on twitter who said not to confuse being nice with being weak and I totally agree.

If you asked me as I was growing up if I was nice I would have said a definite no, I was very strong willed and did not tolerate fools or anyone I saw as weak.  (This is not something I am now proud of but the truth cannot be changed).  As I matured and it has to be said since I have become a Christian I have become much nicer.  I still have times when I am a bitch, I know that, I never said I was perfect but I do know that many people would now refer to me as nice.  When I look back at my One Word Meme post I see the words people used to describe me - kind, accepting, supportive, welcoming, caring, inspiring etc etc and they could all come together and be popped under the banner of nice and that is OK with me.

Nowadays I would rather be around nice people than cool people, nice people than rich people, nice people than influential people, you get what I am saying? However, whilst I am trying to be a nice person I also retain the very core of me which is determined, organised, competitive, disciplined, hard-working, decisive and many other such hard character traits.  Add all these in with a dose of niceness and it is a winning formula in my mind.  However this post did not set out to tell you how fab I am, you can make your own mind up about that (yes I am having a joke!).

This post was born out of my pondering around various things I have seen said on twitter and in forums recently about blogging and more specifically about competitions and sponsored content in the parenting blogging arena. I whole-heartidly hold the view that you should treat people as you wish to be treated.  When I signed up to be part of the TOTs100 and Wikio I knew I was effectively inviting companies and PR's to contact me and offer me sponsored content and whilst I, like most every other parenting blogger look at the press releases or the information emails I get sent and think why?, where on earth do they think I get the time from to advertise their products for free? I still believe it is important for me to be nice to people, who at the end of the day are just trying to do their job.

So yes, call me sad but I do respond to all the emails I get sent and yes I get lots of them nowadays. I wish people luck with their campaign and I say no to most things, I do not have the time nor the inclination to take part but what I have found is that my being nice does pay off. I said no to reviewing some washing powder a while back and ended up being offered a giveaway to host on my blog for £150 worth of White Company goods.  A fantastic little giveaway, it attracted in over 300 comments and yes not all those people hung around but many come back time and time again and I find new friends to chat to on twitter in this way too.

What was in it for me, I hear some of you saying?  I have been told before that I am diminishing the value of blogs by hosting competitions that I have not been paid for or received products as recompense for but actually this is a hobby for me and gaining some new readers, some twitter mates and having a competition prize that might reward my regular readers was payment enough for me.

I have to say that I took offense the other day when I saw @Nickie72 question people having pride in their blogs by taking on competitions that they were not gaining any financial recompense or goods for and this did sadden me.  I have a load of pride in my blog.  Even when I include sponsored content I never type up a press release or just copy text, I take time to write an article which I feel may engage my readers. For me this is not about pride but about personal choice.

I said to Nickie that I was writing this post and would she like to comment, this is what she said "Recently I have been receiving a great number of "would you like to share this with your readers" type of emails or the offer of running a competition on my blog.  I usually refuse because I take a lot of pride in what I publish on my blog and I am responsible for the content.  I know that a lot of the emails I receive are because my blog reaches a wide readership.  People value my opinion and I reach an audience that traditional advertising may not access.  So why should I give up my time and my blog space for free?   To run a competition takes a lot of time to write up, promote, manage and communicate and blogging is supposed to be my hobby.  I am very aware that competitions and giveaways drive traffic to my blog but, more often than not, 95% of those visitors will never return."

So as you see we hold completely opposing views and that is OK, that is life.  I like Nickie, she is talented, funny, helpful and opinionated.  We have agreed to disagree before and we will do it again this time I am sure.

For me being nice or helpful just comes with the territory, last year I got invited to an event, I could not make it as I was at work so I offered to post it on a couple of forums, I did and the PR had a good turnout.  She emailed and asked if I would like any Boots No7 make up as a thank you, 'ohh' said I 'my mascara is running out and I use that brand, yes please' next day I receive six No7 mascaras and that made me very happy.

I have a competition for a Fisher Price Bounce 'N' Spin Zebra that has just finished and I was happy to run this as I know the product, it is great quality, the value is high and the information that Fisher Price wanted to get out about their new play area at Gatwick was interesting.  So I liaised with the PR and posted and then find an email asking if my girls would like a little something, do they like Angelina ballerina?  Yes says I if you want to send them something that is great.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to receive toys that were worth at least £80.  The girls received an Angelina ballerina playhouse and some action figures which they are loving and I also have a couple of Barbie toys to put away for Christmas.  Another example of how you reap what you sow.

I have tons of these examples that I could share.  I am not weak, I am no pushover and I will happily say no to people but I will do it honestly, upfront and with a smile on my face (or showing through my email) and this approach seems to work very nicely for me!

What about you, have you had any nice surprises since you have been blogging? Do you have pride in your blog or are you like me and think this has nothing to do with pride and everrything to do with personal choice?

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