How to Get $165,041.51 Worth of Exposure for Your Blog


Well folks I think I’ve found the magic bullet. The one easy step to catapult my travel and lifestyle blog into super star status. And I’m going to tell you how to do the same thing.

In my three years of blogging, I’ve spent countless hours researching the most effective content marketing techniques. I’ve even found some great content marketing podcasts and made use of some of the tips and tricks on those. And now it’s all come to a pinnacle, a moment that stands still in time.

And I’ll explain everything.

But first, let’s start with some context.

When I say I’ve researched content marketing and blogging extensively, I’m talking about thousands of hours.

Since I’m also an attorney, I have an acute and honed skill set when it comes to studying large amounts of information and condensing them down to useful, bite-sized chunks. They basically beat that skill into your skull in law school (I paid them lots of money to do that to me).

So when I decided to start my own blog, I wanted to do it right.

I’ve poured over Copyblogger’s ebooks, everything from how to write killer headlines to the basics of SEO copywriting. I’m even a paid member of their Authority learning platform. I made sure that my home was also perfectly set up to cope with my blogging. This involved making sure I had a nice workspace within my home office that could cope with me setting up multiple devices. I also researched broadband providers and looked up services such as hughesnet internet plans to see if I could possibly find a provider who could cope with the demands of my increased internet usage. Eventually, I settled on a service provider recommended to me by a friend of mine who also recently took up blogging as well.

I jump up and down with joy when I get content marketing newsletters from Neil Patel.

I’ve purchased and completed David Siteman Garland’s class about creating online courses. And then I launched my own that teaches people how to start their own brands.

I listen to Amy Porterfield’s weekly Internet marketing podcast and I’m obsessed with it.

I get kick-butt weekly nuggets of info from Melanie Duncan, Jon Morrow, Derek Halpern and Jeff Goins.

My idea of a really fun night out with friends is going to dinner at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale with Rachelle Lucas and Julie Tran Deily, sipping cocktails and talking about the business of blogging with these super successful masterminds.

I’ve purchased and read books by Michael Hyatt, Guy Kawasaki, Ann Hadley, Dan Zarella, Gary Vaynerchuk, Joe Pulizzi, Simon Sinek, Daniel Pink, Ryan Holiday, David Garfinkel, Robert B. Cialdini and maybe a dozen or so books by Seth Godin. And I know I’m missing others!

I spent the last few years working day in and day out on my writing skills. I went from writing free articles for a local society blog to becoming the Editor-in-Chief of a popular magazine in three years. My content has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, The Huffington Post, HGTV, DIY Network, Orbitz, USA TODAY’s 10Best and a number of magazines and local travel websites.

My latest obsession is photography. I’m devoting all of my free time to studying the art and increasing my skills. I’m far from a pro, but I’m working on it. Maybe, once I fully ace it, I can start an Instagram page and promote my photos on that platform. I may even have to research the best site to buy Instagram followers so that the particular page garners maximum attention and I can carry the passion forward.

I’m not telling you all of this to make you think I’m the most awesome success story ever. I just want you to understand how hard I’ve worked and how much I’ve studied these creative crafts.

It’s my business and it’s how I make a living. In fact, I make more money now then I did when I was practicing law full time. As you can see, being a freelancer can be profitable and it’s something that anyone can do for themselves!

And yes, I’ll get to the point.

Back to the $165,041.51 worth of blog exposure. The reason why you’re still reading, right?

It all started with my husband casually scrolling through his Facebook newsfeed, when all of the sudden he saw a photo of our two mini schnauzers.

He paused and was like, huh? How are Ponce de Leon and Elway in my newsfeed?

It turns out a local Miami Beach commissioner had shared a story on his timeline and our dogs were in the lead photo.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 2.09.43 PM

There they are! My cutie pie schnauzers.

On Businesswire.com? That’s weird.

I click on the link and the article is touting why Miami Beach is “one of the most pet-friendly cities in the world.” I mean, of course I have issues with that title because in reality there are quite a few restrictions for dogs in the City of Miami Beach, but I’m mostly trying to figure out why my dogs are in the post.

The caption said something like: Dogs lounging at the Loews and enjoying Miami Beach (Photo: Loews Miami Beach).

Well, there are multiple problems with that, namely: Those are my dogs and I took that photo of them in Vero Beach, not Miami Beach. And the photo credit certainly isn’t from any of the Loews hotels because I took it.

I’m good friends with the PR rep from Loews and she confirmed that she doesn’t have the photo in her possession and she didn’t provide it to Businesswire.com.

That one photo of my dogs generated $165,041.51 worth of exposure. Let me explain…

I scroll to the bottom of the article and it’s actually a press release created by a public relations agency.

I don’t know where they got my photo, but it’s likely either from my website or this story that ran on huffingtonpost.com: Pamper Yourself and Your Pooch at 3 Florida Hotels.


If you scroll down, the story clearly says the photo was taken by me in Vero Beach.


There they are! My little cuties.

Since I’m obsessed with social media, what do I do? Post this on my personal Facebook page for all of my attorney and journalist friends to see. I know I’m going to get some riled up responses.


I also sent an email to the agency asking them where they got it and pointing out the fact that it was mine, mislabeled and attributed to the wrong location.

I figured, well I’ll ask them for a link back to my website and then maybe I can overlook this outright theft of my content. I already know they aren’t going to pay me for it.

They changed the photo credit, but wouldn’t link back to my site, saying:

The best we can do is to have the URL. The photo credit cannot be hyperlinked. The company that we use does not allow hyperlinks in photo credits.

I say, well that’s fine, then you’re going to need to remove my photo and find a new one.

And this is where this gets really good.

This is where I had such a ginormous attack of the LOLs that I thought I might die in my home office with no one there to save me.

A supervisor responded to my email telling me that they could not include a link and said that on a positive note:

Your photo and website has received incredible exposure in just 24 hours. The equivalent of $165,041.51 in media value.

What!? There it is! Did you see that number?


Whoa baby!

I’m rich!

I could retire as a semi-successful freelancer, move to Key West and live the rest of my days drinking whiskey, collecting island cats and pretending to be Hemmingway.

I’ve really made it now. All of that hard work studying my craft, honing my skill set, chasing deadline after deadline, trying to make a name for myself…it’s all paid off…

With one STOLEN photo.

And now you, too, dear freelancer, can recreate my success.



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  1. Omg this is ridiculous – how did you reply to this guy? And when do they send you the cheque? I hope they pay you – or take the photo down.

    1. Crazy, right? This was my email back to the agency:

      Thanks for your response! I must say that I find your email very funny. I really do! It’s provided great fodder for my social media channels and this is going to be an awesome blog post. You guys just told me you did me a favor by 1). Stealing my photo, 2). Misrepresenting the location and 3). telling me that you won me a media value of $165,041.51. This is awesome.Thanks for the entertainment today!

      And this was my husband’s email to them:

      Are you guys serious? I mean seriously that email really is comical. As an attorney (Kara is also an attorney) this email response from you guys makes me really question whether you understand the legal and ethical consequences of your actions. Kara did not even mention misrepresenting the source of the photo on top of stealing the photo and misrepresenting the location of the photo. $165,041.51 haha. Anyways here is the good news, your little press release isn’t worth our time. But I would caution you against engaging in this dishonest behavior in the future.

  2. I followed the FB thread and I am still shocked. In the last week, I’ve read four articles (to include yours) about big publications stealing creative work. It’s sad that PR professionals think it’s a free for all to use stolen content, followed by their irresponsible response.

    1. I make light of it, but it really is a big problem. This is how we freelancers make a living. There are really good and ethical PR firms out there who do a great job of representing their clients. And then there are others who make tons of money off of shady practices.

  3. This is gold, Kara! Though many publicists & brands now understand that blogging professionally is a job and thus, bloggers (photographers, vloggers, etc.) should get paid for content, there are just as many who don’t get it and think we somehow live on a steady diet of exposure and likes.

    Last I checked, landlords don’t accept either as payment for the rent, so we have to keep fighting the good fight! I’m cheering you on from the front row… with popcorn of course. Looking forward to the next installment.

    Perhaps… next up on Instagram, you with a huge novelty check for $165,000 standing outside their office…

  4. This is crazy Kara! Sounds like perfect content for a PRSA conference session. (And PUUULLEEEEASE take that picture with a check! Like a huge big fake one!) You are awesome and I’ve learned so much from you! xo

  5. I know this is post is nearly a month old, but I stumbled upon it and was laughing my butt off at their response. I was almost waiting to read that they send a second email and was like, “we were just messing with you, of course we’ll pay and link back”.

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