True intimacy: something every human strives for, but we’re all a little terrified to experience. The level of vulnerability required to get to a state of true intimacy with your partner is often intimidating. As humans, we try to protect ourselves from the things we’re afraid of and the things that may hurt us, so consciously opening ourselves up to these types of things is an almost unnatural phenomenon.
The same goes for Blogger Outreach. If a blogger decides that they’re attracted to us, and they’ve gotten past their initial ambivalence, and they’ve decided to commit to us, then the next phase in the Outreach Dating Game is true intimacy. And that’s what we’ll discuss today in the fourth part of my Blogger Outreach series based on The Five Stages of Dating.
Letting One’s Guard Down
In order for any relationship to progress, it has to get to a point where both parties (or more, in certain areas of the country…I’m talking to you, Utah) are making mindful strides to allow their walls to come down. With Outreach, the site owner has to be open to your content. He or she has to realize that just because someone else sent him or her a shady guest post with links to porn sites in the past, that you’re probably not trying to do that now. (Unless you are.) Sure, they could just reject you right away without even considering your article, but what if that meant that they missed on a killer piece of content that would end up bringing a lot of traffic and attention their way? They have to be aware of this; just as you have to be aware of the fact that blog owners see a lot of crap dressed in an evening gown waltz its way into their inbox.
Giving someone access to your weaknesses is downright panic-inducing. But I think the key to keeping the fear at bay is open communication. You have to be forthcoming about what you’re trying to gain – traffic, a link, a mention, etc. – as a result of your relationship with these bloggers, and they have to explain to you their particular rules and regulations. During the courtship process, both parties are vulnerable: the person doing the Outreach has to face rejection – initial rejection, rejection of their content, rejection of a link – and the blogger has to put negative experiences of the past aside and be willing to start anew with a different “partner”. The blogger is also vulnerable by accepting your content and deciding to publish it. By making this decision, the blogger is essentially putting his or her stamp of approval on your work and attaching his or her name to you. The first time a blogger publishes a new person’s guest article on their site is kind of like the first time you introduce your new boyfriend or girlfriend to your group of friends. You just pray that he or she will charm and engage your social circle, and not mention that whole poop wearing a dress thing.
Display of Character
Along with open communication, transparency also helps to alleviate any fears that either party has about one another. As the person doing the Outreach, it’s imperative that you’re up front with your intentions. If you’ve already gotten to the fourth stage with a blogger (I hope you’re using protection), then it would be detrimental to break his or her trust now. Say you started forming a positive relationship with a blogger. Say you’ve assured this blogger that you just want to provide him or her with great content and would like to get a link to one of your social profiles placed in your author bio. Say the blogger obliges and requests that you send your article over for approval. Say that you send it, but when they read it, they see that your article is riddled with irrational and unnecessary links. While you were busy saying all of these things, the blogger was busy losing trust in you. And once trust is broken, it’s a b*tch to repair. Allow the quality of your character to shine through from the beginning, even if it hurts. Because telling a blogger that you’d like to include an image of excrement donning an upscale garment is always more respectable than trying to sneak in an image of excrement donning an upscale garment after an inaugural pitch has been made.
Strengths & Weaknesses
If you’re sending your own unique content over for a blogger’s approval, there will often be changes or additions that he or she would like for you to make. You cannot take things like this personally, as each blog is different. (Like snowflakes!) The blogger is not saying that your content is terrible and you should never write again and that you probably have bad breath too, he or she is just trying to tailor your content to meet the style of his or her already-established blog. On the other hand, these changes should not be extensive, as you should have already done your homework and customized your content to meet a blogger’s needs. Other things, like spelling and grammar, should never need to be corrected (other than a typo here or there); if these are the types of changes that a site owner is asking you to make, you have bigger problems than your halitosis. If spelling is your weakness, allow non-complacency to be your strong suit and succumb to the squiggly red line. Don’t be lazy. And don’t allow a stylistic recommendation to get you down about your writing strength. For instance, just because a blogger wants me to add sunglasses to a combination feces/ballroom frock image doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t enjoy the original image.
Once all factors have been considered as far as you and your content are concerned, the blogger has one last checkpoint before the Proposal Stage. If you’ve put in the time this long, don’t give up now. Make the additions and/or omissions that the blogger requests, and let him or her know that you’re in it for the long haul. Once you’ve given everything you can for the desired outcome, you just have to let God/The Universe/Olivia Newton John do His/Her/Their/Its thing.
The best thing you can do is your best. And if your best is done, than you won’t need to stress about what you could have done differently. Like giving your fancy-dressed droppings a sassy attitude.
True Intimacy is certainly scary. But it can be less scary if you’re ready and willing to accept it. By opening yourself up and exposing the true you, you’re giving your partner – the blogger – the opportunity to envision a future with you, which we will discuss next time in my final chapter: The Proposal.
Until then, here’s to hoping you’ll get the Mr. Hankey song out of your head.