Wednesday, June 29, 2011
bloggers and brands
my friends and i have been chatting about reciprocity lately, particularly pertaining to the blogosphere and our 'lives' online, and i've realised that perhaps there are some things that need to be said. this conversation was sparked by a comment directed at me recently when i offered to blog about a friend of a friend's product. being such an exuberant person, i probably get a little carried away sometimes, wanting everyone to 'get online' and get a little exposure. i suggested an idea that would require next to no effort to execute, and the aforementioned person's response was, "all you bloggers just want free stuff" - the product costs R45. now, i don't know about you, but i found that pretty insulting and in bad taste. he actually looked a little embarrassed after, sheepish perhaps, upon the realisation that he'd suggested i would go to all the effort of photographing and blogging his R45 product, losing hours of my life, just so i could get it for free. i am currently working on two freelance projects which take up 7 days of my week, leaving little time to waste on cooking up grand plans of scoring free R45 products, i can assure you. i mentioned it to a blogger friend and he remarked that he'd been experiencing a similar attitude lately. it's clear that a few brands have been 'burnt' by some bloggers.
now here's where i'm going to bring up reciprocity. if people find your product/shop/restaurant/business/service via a blogger, it's courteous to thank them at some point. if you google your product/shop/restaurant/business/service and find that bloggers mentions of it are amongst the first results, perhaps even spanning pages on google, it's courteous to thank those bloggers. you won't believe how far an invitation for a cup of coffee or a reciprocal mention on your blog or twitter feed goes. now i know the problem arises when people expect things for mentioning your brand but nothing can be done about that. bloggers that lie about their stats in an attempt to make money from their blogs will all soon be shown up by a new system - but if you have an agreement with a blogger, honour it.
blog posts take between 1 and 5 hours to complete, sometimes even longer. social media raises your brand profile, creates brand awareness and leads to sales. recently, a local business owner thanked all his brand fans by personally delivering a gift pack of hot chocolate to them, during the first cold spate this winter. this was an overture of grand proportions, and incredibly generous, but was a gesture that cannot possibly be emulated by small businesses due to the expense of such reciprocity! it was also a well executed marketing plan that delivered a delicious product into the hands of bloggers, with personal notes and attention to detail. gift bags are customary at launches, only in this case, the gift bags were delivered to people who market goods via a new medium. perhaps we could all do with a little reminder about the cost of advertising: the smallest spots in magazines and newspapers start at roughly R1000 in a community paper and slightly bigger magazine ads cost as much as R250 000 a year. yes, a quarter of a million rand. i'm not even going to get into the expense of radio and television spots. some local blogs pull thousands of people per day, who actively choose to read that specific blog, so if you're investing in sponsoring bloggers (within reason), you've made a wise and cost effective choice. like a blogger friend of mine once said: "i don't expect anything. i do it because i love it. if someone wants to thank me, that's wonderful, but i don't expect anything." i like his vibe.