What We Can Learn From Elle Darby’s Embarrassment

Abandoned Hotel in Bald Knob Arkansas
What We Can Learn From Elle Darby’s Embarrassment

If you have spent any time on social media this week you may have come across a post where a blogger was publicly shamed on Facebook.

This blogger, Elle Darby*, pitched a popular hotel company for a free stay. The hotel owner then blasted her on Facebook, causing a lot of drama between bloggers and those who love to hate them.

*I am only naming her here because she has chosen to go public herself.

We have a lot to learn from this.

What We Can Learn From Elle Darby - Bloggers are Social Influencers


In her pitch, Elle boasted about her social media following and a big name company she recently worked with. She focused on herself and who she was. Only one sentence mentioned what she could do for the hotel she was pitching.

It does not appear she researched very much prior to pitching. She didn’t include any information about the brand in her pitch and in her youtube video discussing the issue she mentions them being a “pretty place to stay“. She wasn’t pitching them because she thought her audience would love them. She pitched them because it was a pretty place she came across.

This pitch could have gone to any hotel. There was nothing personal there. There was no attempt to show that she knew the company.

Abandoned Hotel in Bald Knob Arkansas

Overall, it wasn’t a bad pitch, but it was very generic and I think that is where she failed – and ultimately irritated the hotel owner as the first thing he mentioned was that she didn’t even call him by name.

Lesson: When pitching, get to know the brand and make it about what you can do for THEM. Have an idea besides just sharing their product.

The Public’s Perception of Bloggers

The average Joe doesn’t even know what a blogger is or what they actually do.

There are bloggers and then there are social media influencers. Not all bloggers are social media influencers, but most all influencers are bloggers. Social media influencers are typically built around a blog brand.

Anybody can blog. It takes a lot more work to be an influencer. As an influencer you aren’t just writing stuff on the internet. You are more than just a blogger.

Epic Blog Planner - Editorial Blogging Calendar

You are working with big name companies, constantly emailing brands and reps, signing contracts, advertising, creating content, taking pictures, editing them, writing posts, pushing your posts, and filing tax paperwork.

Yes, taxes.

You know who pays taxes? People who work.

Whether or not you like it, blogging is a job and a very viable one for many.

Lesson: The general public is ignorant as to what blogging really entails.

Bloggers Are Relatable

Have you ever seen a friend on social media asking for recommendations for a new X, Y, or Z?

That’s where a blogger (ahem Social Media Influencer) comes into play.

Here’s an example: I follow a dentist on social media. They have a decent amount of followers. But guess what? They aren’t advertising to their followers. The majority of businesses on social media are already doing business with the people who follow them. They are there to gain new customers.

A Bloggers Job - Social Influencer - Getting Botox

People ask for recommendations because they trust their peers.

As an influencer I am paid to work with brands just like this dentist. This gives me real life experience reviewing a service or product, like my Juvederm experience, that I can then choose to share with my audience. Not every review is going to be positive. Not every blogger is authentic either. As with any profession, you will have dishonest people. For the most part, bloggers are trustworthy.

Lesson: Bloggers have value. The average consumer is much more likely to visit a business that somebody they can relate to has visited and recommends. – Additionally, Every blog is comparable to an online magazine.. Companies will pay to advertise their product with good “magazines”.

Adults are Pathetic

After the hotel’s roasting of Elle went viral, bloggers showed up to defend her and her pitch. Some of them were then ripped apart. Some of them even stooped low enough to leave a 1 star review on a place of business they have never stopped foot in.

Full-grown adults were making fun of the looks of other people.

Full-grown adults calling people ridiculous names.

Full-grown adults were telling each other to commit suicide.

Yep, adults are pathetic.

Lesson: Adults are just as juvenile (maybe worse?) than high schoolers who love drama.

And finally, is there really such a thing as bad publicity? 

Author: Aduke Schulist

Aduke Schulist is a 30 something content creator living in the heart of Arkansas. She enjoys blogging, vlogging, and spending way too much time on social media. Aduke is a big fan of true crime documentaries and advocating for people with special needs. You can find Aduke on social media as @AdukeSchulist.

23 thoughts on “What We Can Learn From Elle Darby’s Embarrassment”

  1. There is so much to learn from this. First and foremost, in my opinion, is that we are BUSINESS men and women. We have to approach it as such. We need to do our homework, make things personal, and show whoever we are pitching to what we can do for them in addition to how we can do it. If you don’t put in the research/work required for a good pitch you only damage yourself, sometimes irrevocably.

  2. I think we can definitely learn as bloggers from this situation. I know I try to carefully craft my pitches but I will definitely be going over them before sending with a fine toothed comb.

  3. It seems like the whole situation was completely blown out of control. I also didn’t think she was asking for a free week-long stay, but I heard a lot of people criticizing her for that. She was just giving the dates she would be in the area. I do think she could have had a much better approach, but it didn’t warrant the mean reply. It’s sad how negative this world is, and how quickly people are to attack others.

  4. I must’ve been living under a rock because I had not heard of this. I know whenever I put your company I try to make it as personal as I can. I think that’s what I can bring to the table is important but what they have is also important and I want to make sure they feel important.

  5. I totally agree with you. I haven’t pitched to a company in a long time. Most pitch to me before I have time to do my own, but I have to say it goes both ways when a company says, “I’m an avid reader of your blog” I kind of chuckle and think, oh you are, which post of mine is your favorite?” It does go both ways and hopefully, Elle and all of us have learned some etiquette that will make us better bloggers.

  6. So I was living under a rock last week so this is the first time I have heard about this story!
    I’m totally with Heather on this one, I haven’t pitched a company in a long time but I have gotten quite a few “I’m an avid reader of your blog” and then they share a post that is on the main page. I think there is still a lot both bloggers and companies can learn about etiquette that will help both sides to have successful relationships.
    And honestly, I don’t think bad publicity is that harmful… I wonder how many people are planning a trip just to see the hotel and find out for themselves what its like?

  7. I have to say I haven’t heard of this woman but I think her brand shaming is pretty short sighted, unprofessional and bad for her business. I don’t always pitch brands but when I do I try to make it personal about why it’s fit for me and my readers. Brands get pitched all the time so you need to make it clear what you bring to the table and what makes you unique.

  8. I feel so bad about how she was exposed and left to be embarrassed. I agree that there are ways to tweak your pitch and to show the benefits for both client + blogger.

  9. This is such a great learning experience. I agree with everything you wrote about taking the time to get to know a company before you pitch them. What I don’t understand is why the hotel didn’t just say no and walk away. If they didn’t think that she was appropriate then say no. There is no reason for the big hoopla! Unprofessional on all sides. (I haven’t heard the whole story but what I heard is the reason for comments above).

  10. This is what happens when you blast someone whether or not the pitch was good, dragging them on social media means only one thing, your aim is to embarrass that person and for others to chime in, when the owner could have easily messaged her privately regarding the matter. Ohhhh, “adults”. Plenty of lessons to learn on both sides.

  11. Yes this was very buzz worthy this week wasn’t it. Mistakes were made on the part of both. However, the brand reacted so rudely and inappropriately. There was no reason to do that. Most bloggers I know are very professional. That’s the reality and they bring big numbers and attention to a brand that might not see much otherwise.

  12. There so much thing that I’ve learned about this. People may know what we really do but we need to have an engagement with them.

  13. You absolutely hit the nail on the head! This really makes me want to rethink how I pitch brands because it’s not just about the blogger – it’s about the service we can offer to the brand. I’m happy to see that someone wasn’t afraid to post about this topic!

  14. Wow. I’m totally speechless. I didn’t see any of this play out on social media (I’m actually grateful for that)… It amazes me how grown people can act so juvenile.

  15. I feel bad for Elle Darby. Yes, her pitch was not the best but they could have blacked out her name better so the whole world wouldn’t have known it was her. Also- if she had done her research she would have known that the hotel’s manager/PR person is NOTORIOUS for blasting bloggers on social media. That being said I think they have both benefitted from this incident.

  16. I have seen so much about this lately and quite frankly I am not even sure what to make of it. I feel as though me sitting here picking apart her pitch is the wrong thing to do and I feel as though the hotel should have just said no and moved on.

  17. What a nice way to differentiate and explain about bloggers and social media influencers. Yes, this is a heads up for all us who shares our honest feedback and experience on certain things. Be authentic and do your homework, is a great motto to live by.

  18. I agree. When you are pitching–even if you know the brand backwards and forwards, you have to actually ‘seem’ to know them very well. If you don’t, you can get a bad rep or worse. Thanks for this insight, great post!

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