What Bloggers Want

If the annual Blogher Conference, held earlier this month at the New York Hilton is any indication, working with bloggers -- especially Mom bloggers -- is high on the agenda of many, if not most, major brands and agencies.

Generally accepted as the conference for female (and a few male) bloggers, attendance more than doubled this year (2,400 attendees) and was packed with representatives of major -- and quite a few smaller -- brands. This was my third year attending the conference and, as always, I was slightly bemused and more than a little overwhelmed by the three days of sessions, parties, exhibits and gatherings.

This year, I noted that attendance by brands in many of the sessions crept up again, composing at least a third of attendees for popular topics. And this year there seems to be a greater meeting of the minds.

The focus of the conference this year was "Power." While most bloggers don't deliver the eyeballs of traditional print (which is shrinking by the minute), they can deliver a targeted niche with a very effective CPM. That is not to say that outreach to bloggers will continue to be free. Blogger outreach and social media in general are beginning to straddle the gap between paid and earned media.

After being taken seriously as writers, bloggers most want some kind of acknowledgement of their work. Increasingly, this is taking the form of some kind of payment. This topic came up quite a bit at the conference.

In the Federal Trade Commission panels at Blogher, business discussions arose around the FTC ruling that any type of payment to bloggers, including free samples, needs to be acknowledged by the blogger and the brand is responsible for at least making that clear to bloggers with whom they work.

At topic-specific sessions, again and again bloggers wondered why brands do not offer some type of payment -- something as simple as buying an ad on a blogger's page to compensate them for running a contest.

The gap still exists between bloggers who, increasingly, would like to be paid for their work and brands who believe bloggers should be treated as paid journalists are when writing a review, but it is narrowing. This is perhaps out of necessity as brands find that bloggers, overwhelmed by pitches from agencies, are not as open to taking on reviews as they were in the past ... and getting that review can end up taking a lot more work.

Now is the time when more thoughtful approaches to blogger outreach will bear fruit. Bloggers often act as alpha consumers rather than journalists. Their writing influences numerous potential consumers, but in many ways, they respond to outreach more as consumers than as journalists.

Keeping that in mind may make the difference between brands whose social media programs succeed and those who don't this year.

Tags: blogging, moms
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2 comments about "What Bloggers Want ".
  1. Nicole Brady from SahmReviews.com , August 18, 2010 at 12:02 p.m.

    I wasn't able to make it to BlogHer this year so it's great to hear that more brands are stepping up their game.

    It's amazing to me that brands will send random 'ideas' for me to share with my readers without so much as a dialogue about "this is what you can do for us... what can we do for you?" Sometimes it's just a canned press release, other times they offer to send a product for me to give away. What is the benefit to me of having something to just give away? I receive so many pitches each day that I cannot keep up. Even though I've added contributing authors to pick up some of the load, their work still costs me a lot of time proofing, adding links and publicizing. The few times I have said to clients that I charge a fee for this, they have simply said "We'll find a different blogger." That's there prerogative but it's very discouraging.

    When I'm taking the review on personally: Aside from actually USING the item to review, I typically spend anywhere from a few hours to several hours writing my review posts, scrutinizing the pros/cons, searching for the social media links for that company, preparing pictures and more. The companies that truly value what I do are the ones that I'll lean toward.

    It's my hope that more brands will continue to see the value in what we, as bloggers, have to offer.

  2. Maryanne Conlin from RedRopes Digital/4GreenPs , August 18, 2010 at 2:19 p.m.

    Nicole,

    Thanks for your insightful comments. This is wonderful information for brands to have and really opens up the discussion!