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When it makes sense to blog about a free sample

In my previous post, I blogged about a free headset that was sent to me by an old friend. Sure, he got some promotional benefit out of it — but I wasn’t blogging to send him business, to thank him, or as a quid-pro-quo.

I wrote the blog post because it met the editorial standards of my blog:

  • It was relevant.
  • It made a specific educational point about word of mouth marketing.
  • It was a good, clear example of a principle that I was trying to teach.
  • It was easy to properly and clearly disclose the freebie.

What I don’t do — and what I don’t think you should do:

  • Write posts to get free stuff.
  • Write about something that you don’t care about just because it’s free.
  • Sell out and trade your good reputation for free samples.
  • Fail to clearly disclose that you’re getting freebies.

There are all sorts of ethical reasons why you shouldn’t do this. But the big reason: It makes for a crappy blog. You owe your readers more than product pitches.

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