Dear Hudson River Foods,
I appreciate you reaching out to me and letting me know that you like my content and would like to work with me. I’m gonna take a pass and I’ll explain why, as this may help you in your future endeavors. Where should I start?
– First of all, my first name is not Gluten. So when you send me an email and start it with “Dear Gluten,” my first reaction is one of laughter, not one of interest. And even when I respond asking for more info (I wasn’t interested…I just wanted to see where this went) and signed my email Scott, my ACTUAL first name, you responded with “Dear Gluten,” again. That’s just embarrassing.
– It would be beneficial to you if you knew a bit about who you were reaching out to. I’ve never been a gluten-free influencer and I actually get a bit nauseous when I hear the term. People who influence do it for the cause. Influencers do it for the money. I fall into the former category and a little research would have saved you the time and effort to reach out to me. And I wouldn’t be writing this blog post either.
– While you use dedicated gluten-free lines, you are not a 100% gluten-free company. There is nothing wrong with that but I would never work with a company that is not 100% GF. I’ll save that to the “celiac foundations” that rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars and pay themselves hefty salaries by promoting questionable products (i.e. Cheerios, DiGiorno).
– You asked me to submit a proposal. Really? Being a strong celiac advocate for 11 years isn’t enough for you. I need to get approved?
– Let’s talk about compensation. You would like me to “create posts that include baking with our products and enjoying the gluten freedom that our products offer. So if it’s for Easter, maybe you made cookies that look like eggs or a cake with a bunny on it. If it’s for the spring season perhaps something like cupcakes frosted with bright green frosting or pancakes with fruit topping. Those are just examples. Bring on your best efforts in deliciousness. You can include chicks and bunnies if you like. Just use Hodgson Mill baking products to make your food posts shine.”
And for that you are offering…product. Product that theoretically I would use in my “posts of deliciousness.” Your company has revenue in excess of $20 million and you are offering…product. Just think about how that sounds. Do you pay your top executives in product? Yeah…didn’t think so.
Look…this is nothing personal against you. I get these emails pretty frequently and right now it’s sadly the state of the industry, where having tons of “followers” (whether they’re legit or not) gets you the big bucks. It’s gross. It’s disingenuous. I even wrote a poem about it.
Perhaps you’ll take this to heart. Perhaps I’ve wasted my time. Either way, I wish you well.
(see what I did there?)
Dude Update – February 3, 2022
I sent Hudson River Foods this link and they responded with honesty and transparency. How often do you see that? Here is what they said: “Wow. I read this a couple of times before I decided to answer. We are brand new at influencer marketing. This is our very first campaign and you were the first person that we reached out to because we liked your posts. Admittedly the wording is in a template so it chose the name your account had labeled. Our apologies if you were offended. We are still learning how best to go about this. As far as the compensation goes, it has nothing to do with revenue but more to do with relationship. We were seeking to build a relationship with the one campaign to test the waters for both of us. Monetary compensation would have been offered for future campaigns but we see now that will not be happening. Thank you for your honest review of our efforts.”
And I responded: “I appreciate the transparency folks and like I said, it’s nothing personal. I get these kind of templated offers pretty often. My honest suggestion (and I mean this sincerely): if you want to build relationships, don’t use a template. Make a human connection. Good luck in your efforts.”
Does part of me feel bad? Yeah. That’s just who I am. But no regrets in posting it. Lesson learned.