This particular session, Monetize II: Cashing In with a Reality Cheque, had to be the most… passion-filled, emotion-driven, temperatures-raised, heated session over the 3 days I was at Blissdom Canada in Toronto. In a good way!
I felt at one point that a revolution was about to take place, where I’d witness fists pounding in the air – all chatting in unison, “Appreciate the Bloggers – Appreciate the Bloggers!”. Of course none of that actually happened… on the outside – we’re civilized folk you know – but I guarantee you that was going on in the deepest, inner most parts of many of our beings. At least, it was for me! 🙂
The panel consisted of: Eric Alper @thatericalper, Catherine Connors @herbadmother, Janice Croze @5minutesformom, Barbara Jones @barbarajones, and last but certainly not least, Duri Alajrami @duriajrami.
There are a couple things that I would like to highlight, besides the feeling of my blood boiling – charged to help make a change in how people view bloggers, in how companies compensate bloggers and in how PR agencies appreciate bloggers.
Janice from 5 Minutes For Mom said, “I’m not selling cost per impression – I’m selling cost per influence!” That is so true, in 4 of the last major/national social media marketing campaigns I’ve participated in, I have proven that I am a key social influencer! I am glad that WhiteCloud Marketing recognizes this and hence one of the reasons I am their Social Media Director but there are way more companies / PR groups out there that are still in the dark ages when it comes to “getting us”.
There was so much that was discussed by this panel and most of the notes I took were tweeted out right away.
Barbara Jones, who is an American, seemed genuinely
shocked amazed (as she notes in her comment below, thanks Barbara!) by some of the nasty, strong-armed emails a few of the bloggers received from various PR companies when a positive review was not possible to post. American PR firms and Brands (companies) appear to be years ahead of most Canadian ones. They seem to understand the importance of this savvy social media tool far better and compensate and appreciate them for their work. In essence, bloggers who test products, write reviews and share the product with the public are reporting feedback, helping increase ROI (Return on Investment), and producing a significant social lift for the company. They should be treated and compensated like other Independent Consultants and Focus Groups out there, in the “real world”.
I have often wondered when should I get paid and how much and when is it OK to do it for free. Janice answered that question by saying, “If the ROI is falling in your direction [because it increases content to your site] you do it for free. If the ROI falls in the company’s direction – you need to get paid.” There’s a great article about it on their site, When and What a Blogger Should Charge for their Services. Read it – it’s excellent advice!
One last thing I took home with me… again from Janice (The picture is of Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom, Tammi from My Organized Chaos and myself)
“If it doesn’t fit with you or your brand – don’t do it! Don’t compromise!! Protect your brand at all costs!!”
Your “brand” is you – it’s who you are – it’s what your blog should be all about. If you’re saying yes to every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, it will eventually dilute your brand. It will weaken your voice and negatively effect your social sphere of influence. You need to remain focused and stay true to yourself. Do not compromise!
To be honest… when I first started doing reviews and giveaways (for a hobby) I said yes to every request and suddenly found myself with products I found disgusting or odd and couldn’t possibly blog about. Rather than have to then turn down the PR agency that sent the product, I should have been
more picky better discerning, done my homework first and stuck with what best represents ME! Trust me… we’re really not that desperate…