I thought this might be an appropriate topic considered the article I posted last week called Time for a Productive Rant. It’s easy to sit back and complain: about other bloggers, brands, bad pitches, no pitches, missed opportunities. It just doesn’t seem to be fair in the world of blogging.
Guess what? There isn’t much fair in the world of work.
Have ever had a job? Were you paid appropriately? Were you treated fairly? Did you have the best boss in the world? I’m guessing not. And I say that because I’ve been there. The working world is not fair.
But blogging is work, right? You want to be taken seriously. Whether you have a full time paying job outside of blogging or your full time is taking care of the family (or somewhere in between), when you take the time to work with a brand, you are using your valuable time to help promote a product or a brand or a cause in some way.
You demand respect and consideration. I agree. And that starts by setting the bar of who you work with and what you accept as professional treatment.
My inspiration for this comes from Cecily Kellogg, who led a panel at Type-A Parent conference on Blogger Outreach. During the panel discussion, she presented what she termed “The Blogger’s Bill of Rights.” I like the sound of that. Her list went as follows (along with my comments).
You have the right to expect (from brands):
Professionalism (not hobbyists)
For many of us, this is not a hobby. It’s not a passing fad or trend. We are professionals at what we do: writing, selling, promoting, photography, interviewing, videography. We are professionals that you have chosen to compensate as professionals. We have the right to be treated as such.
Access & Communication (be available to answer/address)
When you hire us to help you run a campaign (yes, we know our work is generally part of a marketing campaign), we expect you to be available so that we can do the job we were hired to do. When questions or conflicts arise, you need to be quickly accessible by email or phone.
Clear terms (no mission creep)
Terms for a job should be clear and concise. You tell us what you want us to deliver and when you want it delivered. Once we agree, the terms should not change unless there is discussion and an alteration in the terms of the contract (including compensation).
Understanding of Values
There should be a mutual understanding of values. I won’t post pictures of my children using your products if I’ve already made the statement that my children are off limits. Don’t ask me to require a Facebook like on your page when I have stated it’s clearly against Facebook’s promotional guidelines. Get to know who I am and what my limits are before requesting me to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable.
Failure to clearly communicate required actions to me does not constitute a crisis on my part. Be clear about what you want, when you want it, and specific language you want included, if appropriate. Having to rewrite, reformat, REDO anything is work. And if you don’t want to be billed for it, make your instructions clear upfront.
Prompt payment (within reason)
Payment is often discussed but the timeframe for payment rarely is. If you don’t specify, we have a right to expect payment in a timely manner, usually within 30 days of completion of a project. It’s the responsibility of both parties to have a clear understanding of this.
Bloggers disclose. It’s not a choice. It’s the law (see FCC Blogger Regulations). And for the types of campaigns that might not require disclosure, we do it anyway. We owe it to our readers to let them know when we are being compensated and how that affects the content of our blog.
With that being said, that’s a lot to expect of brands. And most brand reps have full time jobs. That job is probably not devoted to working with you 24/7. Things get mixed up and slip through the cracks and it’s never a bad idea to follow up with email (i.e., in writing) with your understanding of the terms.
We’ve said our peace and we want brands to read and comply! But what about bloggers?
Oh yes, brands have rights about what to expect of bloggers as well. Stay tuned for that list on Thursday.