The world of bloggers & brand promos

My latest post at The Chopping Board on the Times of India Blogs

‘Will write for food’? Bloggers and brand promos

Shubho Sengupta recently wrote about brand and blogger relationships on the Times of India blogs after the recent Samsung blogger imbroglio.

As usual Shubho nailed the issue with his inimitable style. His experience in dealing with social media as a client helped.

I thought I will write in from the ‘other side’.

From the point of view of a blogger.

As a food blogger I often receive mails from folks in PR and digital agencies, rarely from the brands directly, which go “we would like you to come for the opening of …”, “we would like you to try out our new menu”, “we would like to send you apples/ pickles/ garam masalas…” and so on.

Mails which make me want to reply “why?”

As Shubho said it is important to understand the psyche of bloggers first.

Many of us are hobby bloggers. Our blogging often has nothing to do with our day jobs. Often we blog as we seek a place to unwind or seek a creative outlet. Blogging for us is often a very narcissistic exercise as oneoften blogs more for oneself than for anyone else.

Which also means that, unlike a journalist who might have a brief to answer to or editorial or marketing commitments, the blogger is  quite independent and unstructured when it comes to content. Bloggers write about what catches their fancy. Most like to retain their independent voice.

This is where the disconnect happens between brand promotion and blogging.

Marketers need to understand this mindset when they approach bloggers. They need to get bloggers excited about the project. Giving a’ reason why’ helps. Why would the event or product interest the blogger and the readers of the blog?

Remember that bloggers have their daily routines, their jobs, their families, their schools or colleges to force them to do things that don’t thrill them. Blogs are where they came to escape from their Clark Kent existence.

Pamper them. Make them feel special. You probably need them more than otherwise. they don't blog to promote your brand after all.

Assure the blogger of independence. Make expectations clear. Is a blog review required? Mentions on facebook, twitter? Does the review have to be positive (mention that to a blogger if you are really really suicidal)? What happens if the person doesn’t write? By when does a person have to write if it is compulsory?

Folks appreciate transparency. It is a lot better when one knows what one is getting into.
Make things easy for the blogger. If it is an event consider arranging transport. If it is a product review arrange for it to be delivered.
Seems like a lot of effort?

Well let’s get real here. For a marketer a blog is just another media channel to reach consumers.
If you place an ad in a newspaper or in a magazine, or put a spot on TV or radio, you would pay the channel after all.

When it comes to blogs it’s usually just barter.

PS: From a blogger’s point of view I would suggest putting a disclaimer or a caveat if one has attended a sponsored event, or dinner or has not paid for the product review.