I spent yesterday afternoon with some of my BBF (best blog friends) at Chicago's Hard Rock Hotel. We gathered together prior to a big branded party as Jill Asher and Linsey Krolik facilitated a discussion on how brands and bloggers can work together.
It's no wonder the brand/blogger relationship is so confusing- moms blog about different things in different ways and for different reasons. Certainly a woman who starts a blog to make money is going to have a different take on the best way to work with brands than one who blogs for fun or maintains a blog as a virtual family scrapbook.
It gets even more confusing when we factor in things like reach. And, oh, and let's not forget influence, something as hard to grasp as quicksilver and as mysterious as Schrodinger's cat.
It's all so murky.
In the end, it all comes down to a value exchange.
Both the brand and the blogger should be getting something of value. However, value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
So it's still murky.
At its best, a brand/blogger relationship is like the barbel fish that clean hippos' teeth, each side gets something positive from the interaction. (What? You haven't been watching LIFE on Discovery? It's amazing.)
Wait a minute, did you see what I just did? I just mentioned and linked, to a corporate entity, a for-profit enterprise that, full disclosure, sent me a media kit including a 2-episode preview. I watched the preview alone and then later with my husband and again with my boys. I blogged about it and my boys shared it with their friends. And I never got a penny. Am I a sucker?
No, I'm a genuine fan. My youngest and I have been glued to the screen on recent Sunday nights watching LIFE. For me, in this instance, the advanced sneak preview was a good fit, a good value for me and that translated back to providing value for the brand when I posted about it.
Though again, full disclosure, I am doing a paid MomImpact project with Discovery's new PlanetGreen show, Future Food, though that wasn't on my mind when I included the link.
Gah! No wonder this brand/blogger thing is so confusing.
I set out to summarize the conversation and share my two cents and now I've even confused myself.
Where was I? Oh, the hippos and the fish. It wasn't such a good analogy after all because actually the fish eat the hippos' poop! I forgot about that. This is exactly what we want to avoid; bloggers indiscriminately grabbing up opportunities just because they're offered up by big established brands.
However, the barbel fish also clean the hippos teeth--and that's what I recalled. The hippos get free dental hygiene and the barbels get a nice meal. At the end of the day everyone is happy.
It should be noted that the fish/hippo relationship evolved over thousands (or more) years. Brand folks and bloggers have only been working together for about five years, so we need to give it some time.
Given that my brain is now an addled mess, I'm just going to turn it over to you. We all have opinions about how brand/blogger relationships should evolve, so share your two cents.
In your experience, what is involved a good value exchange? Products? Cash? Exposure? Do tell!
Read more about what happened after our discussion at Carrie Kirby's Frugalista blog.
And, for a change, here's an article that speaks highly of mombloggers, What business can learn from "mommy bloggers" via Gena Mazzeo.