Social Media Charlotte hosts monthly breakfast for those in the social media world to learn and share ideas. The most recent topic was Blogger Outreach. They formed a panel with two business who reach out to bloggers and two bloggers. The panelists were candid and provided great personal experience to the audience.
Our three take ways from the event were: (1) blogger outreach is still an evolving practice (2) bloggers want respect and (3) ethics are a hot topic.
Companies who want to reach out to bloggers for content creation, mention and buzz should do their home work. Search the blogosphere and see who’s writing about your business or topics related to your business.
- Is the blogger creating new content or simply regurgitating your companies press release?
- What is their following like?
- What are they saying in their overall online presence? On twitter? On Facebook?
The two companies featured this month were Discovery Place, a non-profit where science is brought to life through interactive exhibits and explosive experiments, and Carolina Pad, which sells school, office and arts and crafts products. Both are in Charlotte, NC and neither of them pay for blog posts.
Bloggers want respect:
People who spend 60 hours a week on their blog, like Brittany, value their time and expertise. They do more than post cute pictures of their kids, they are actively engaged in the community they have created online. Their reach extends beyond their blog into the real world where they host meet ups and attend conferences like Lisa. They want to be taken seriously and in many cases compensated for their efforts.
Discovery Place treats bloggers with respect by inviting them to events with the press while Carolina Pad provides them with the opportunity to be “in the know” about an upcoming product release.
Ethics is a hot topic:
Are the bloggers swag whores? (Thank you Lisa, for your candor!!) Are they entering contests for free gift card give aways? Do they disclose receiving compensation or that a post is sponsored? Bloggers that are simply entering contests and giveaways are NOT brand advocates, they just want free stuff. This has a very short term impact for your company.
Being paid to blog is perfectly legit, both bloggers who do recieve compensation, stressed disclosure. Lisa, who blogs on behalf of several brands and even uses a male pseudonym to blog about technology stressed that she declares all giveaways, trips, etc. as compensation on her taxes. [As a side note, sexism is still rampant – her pay increased when she switched to a male pseudonym for her tech blog.] Every blogger decides for themselves when it is appropriate to disclose their compensation. I was surprised at the conversation around the ethics of blogging and think it bears much more conversation and consideration.
Reach out to relevant bloggers with personalized content, respect the contributions bloggers are making to your enterprise and be authentic.
Do you blog? Are you a brand advocate? Tell us in the comments below!