Brands vs. Bloggers…Does Anyone Win?
Brands and Bloggers – Is it us vs. them?
I read some of a post the other day by a former Mommy Blogger that’s making the ol’ world wide web rounds. I honestly couldn’t make it through the entire thing. I hadn’t heard of her before, but apparently (according to her) she knows a lot about brands and bloggers. You’ve probably read it, too and if you haven’t just take a look in your newsfeed. It’s quite possible you’ll see it there multiple times. Call me snarky, but I don’t care to link her dribble here. Essentially, former mommy blogger goes on a profanity-laden tirade telling mommy bloggers “no one gives a fuck” about their content (quoting her). Of course, this is after she has already grown her blog to an insane amount of followers, gone viral with multiple posts and made a bunch of money. NOW she apparently has room to criticize other women for the exact same thing she used to do because a brand pissed her off.
Women shaming women – I am so not okay with that, especially when it was a stunt to launch a new website that went viral because you insulted a lot of people. Just sayin’…
She even makes a dig at paying $40 or $50 (I can’t remember) for business cards. Actually, I paid way more. They’re wood. I like them. See?
But I digress…
I’m not a mommy blogger; never have been. In fact, I had my first viral post after addressing a situation when another blogger put me down for not being a mommy. I don’t always identify with a lot of women who are mommy bloggers, but according to former mommy blogger we can learn nothing from them or their product reviews. No one reads them and no one cares. Their marriages, birthing experiences, potty training woes…yeah, no one cares about those things either.
I read a few of them. I learn. I would have told her that, too…but she disabled comments.
Mommy Blogger, I care
I became a stepparent at the ripe ol’ age of 37. While I cannot necessarily relate to a lot of things that mommy bloggers write, I have learned a lot from reading what other women have gone through as mothers. Just because I didn’t give birth doesn’t mean I cannot learn from those who did. Example: When my ten year old stepdaughter was seven I was freaking out because all she wanted was pancakes and pepperoni pizza. I didn’t know kids went through those phases. Don’t laugh (it’s okay that you did). My husband kept telling me, but I was all freaking out she wasn’t getting enough nutrition. I know he is a dad. He’s done this four times over, but it was other bloggers-MOMMY bloggers-who helped me laugh instead of worry about the fact my bonus kid was having a meltdown in Panera Bread over not being able to find something she liked. Seriously, it was my first time experiencing a meltdown and MOMMY bloggers explained this was entirely normal. Thankfully, at ten she now has a palate that allows for a wider variety of “cuisine”.
So she goes on and on AND ON. If you rake through all of the criticism she spews forth, she does actually have a few valid points:
Lack of authenticity
I’ve written it here before. Some days my life is rainbows and unicorns and you’d think I sleep in a bed of roses. Some days it looks and feels like a train wreck. There are so many things I’d like to write about, but I can’t (oh.so.many). Not that I don’t want to. I really can’t. When you identify yourself on your blog, there is no more anonymity. I have step-kids and a career outside of blogging. Those two factors alone limit what I can write about. It’s a choice I made, but the reality of it is my really dirty laundry doesn’t belong on the internet. At least until I win the lottery and my oldest bonus kid turns 18. Hashtag joking. Hashtag not really.
If you don’t know it already, I’ll tell you now: I ONLY review products I have an interest in and/or actually already use. I also only write about companies that are USA-based with very few exceptions to this rule (I mean if someone wants to give me an Audi R8, yeah, I’d totally review that sucker). ALL brands with whom I work have to have a social responsibility policy. Period. Maybe you don’t care about things like hummus or changing your car’s air filter – I do. That’s why I write about it.
Brands and Bloggers: We’re being taken advantage of, sometimes
Fact: Brands are going to take what you’ll give them. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free applies here. Bloggers are letting them do it. I’ve written that here, too; bottom line, only you can define your worth and demand that other people respect it. Someone wrote me the other day offering me pearl earrings or whatnot in exchange for a post. Sometimes there’s an intern on the other side of the screen who doesn’t get it and sometimes there is someone who does get it and will take advantage of you if you let them. Don’t let them. You both win that way, even if they imply otherwise.
Here’s the truth about marketing budgets
I work for a $15 Billion a year organization.
I am in the marketing department and I am very aware of marketing budgets across industries. FACT: They are being slashed and we are feeling it. When there’s a cut, the marketing budget usually takes the first and hardest hit. IT SUCKS. There’s a theory that this happens when an election campaign is going on/a new President is about to take office. We are then left with how to figure out ways to get the most bang for our buck. For my company, we have an agency that handles the work we do with bloggers. We know that bloggers-the right bloggers-do get results. And we pay them for that. We can and do look at your engagement to see what your readers are like and we care about quality over quantity. You can have a million pageviews a month – we can’t tell where they actually came from, but we can tell if real people are interacting with you on social media and on your blog. These are the things that matter.
We also know when you’re product review is a copy and paste job, when it’s insincere and when you’re just doing it to make money. Hey – that’s great. You have to pay your bills and so do we. But when you, as a blogger, write great content that helps garner some attention for our product, we remember you. We know that when we treat you well you’ll remember us, too. Brands and bloggers working together in harmony, it’s not a dream. NOT that we expect to sit around a campfire holding hands singing kumbaya.
I’ve kept my “regular job” and the blog pretty separate. They’re two worlds I prefer don’t collide. There is just stuff I cannot write here, but the stuff I can write? Maybe it’s time they orbit each other… it is time to start sharing it. I know branding. I know what things realistically cost. I know what pitches have worked and which ones haven’t (this goes for bloggers who pitch my company and for me pitching other companies as a blogger) and I know what marketing departments want. One note I feel it necessary to make: I DO NOT use my company’s resources when it comes to my blog – with the exception of the help I had in my logo creation.
We’ve all wanted to throw in the towel asking ourselves if any of this is really worth it while at the same time thinking, “BUT what if I was the next big thing?” Even if we are embarrassed to admit it. I think we also wonder why do we even blog, anyway? Former mommy blogger did that. She threw in the mommy blog towel to start something new in an underhanded way while throwing a huge group of women under the bus. It sucks. We all change and evolve. And I guess I should thank her, because I’m going to do just that.
You’re going to see some new stuff and content around here
Guys, I’m not a huge blog. I can’t spend my entire days and nights blogging (though my husband might tell you it feels otherwise sometimes). I have about 30,000 or so readers and growing. I went from dozens to tens of thousands, though. I do know what worked for me and I can share it. I can share my blog income and I will. It isn’t a ton, but it’s a nice supplement to my job’s income, i.e. in May I’m at $2,200 for the month and we have two weeks left. For June, I’m at $1,350 and we haven’t started the month yet (that doesn’t include affiliate income for June). It’s not bad considering I do this part-time.
Anyhow, brands and bloggers. Let’s figure this shizz out together.
Summing it up…
I think what former mommy blogger did is shitty. When I get to the point I am that jaded, I’ll stop doing what I do. Until then, the beauty of it all is I don’t have to read her stuff, she doesn’t have to read mine and there’s enough room on the internets for all of us.
Have at it.