September 14, 2010
Dear Angry Blogger
Consider this an open letter to any blogger who is unhappy with the way that they are being treated by brands and or PR agencies. As I mentioned in the silly video above I am a bit confused by your anger and I wonder if your outrage is real or manufactured.
We are going to operate based upon the assumption that none of us are being forced to blog. Of course in the age of reality television when someone like Kate Gosselin is famous it is entirely possible that I am wrong about this. It is possible that some man has a gun pointed at your head and is insisting that you blog about how proud you are that your son can now poop in the potty or why that one night in college is so memorable.
For most of us this is not the case and our time at the keyboard is entirely of our own choosing. And choice is the operative word here because we all have a choice as to whether we wish to work with PR agencies/brands. If we don't like the terms that are being offered we can try to negotiate better terms or simply say no.
There is a lot of power in that word, no. Use it wisely and you'll often find that you receive better terms but that is the topic for a different post. So let's circle back here for a moment and talk for a moment about what is going on.
A business who wishes to use your blog for ads/sponsorship is doing so because they think that you will help reach prospective customers. This is all about the eyeballs. They want to be targeted and to reach as many of those eyeballs for as little as possible.
Your job as a content provider is to provide proof that you reach those eyeballs. If you can do that you have some leverage to work with. If you can't prove it than you have to find a way to convince them to throw you a bone and then you have to hope that the campaign performs well enough for them to want to return.
But you face multiple challenges here. Many of you are playing a game where you do not know or understand the rules. You aren't able to approach these prospective sponsors with the degree of professionalism that you really want to have. Learn their language, find out what sort of terms they use to talk shop and you earn some more credibility. That is not a guarantee that they will work with you either, but it helps.
It helps because you want to make a case for your blog to be included. It helps because you want them to be able to justify your inclusion to whomever it is they report to. Don't be fooled, someone is looking at metrics here. Someone is spending time looking at the ROI of a campaign. Help them by making it easy for them to understand why you should be included.
But again, that is touching upon material for a separate post. What we are really focusing upon here is the nonsense that is being spewed by bloggers who feel like they are being mistreated. You will receive emails with multiple mistakes. Perhaps they misspelled your name or made it clear that they haven't read your blog. That is silly and unprofessional on the part of the sender, but it doesn't really require a 800 word post on how you are being mistreated.
Delete it and move on.
The reality is that you are operating in a crowded field with a low barrier to entry. If you don't like how you are being treated get out or find a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. It is not easy but it is not impossible either.