This post is for brands and bloggers. For brands, it’s more of a caution and clarification about who bloggers really are. For bloggers, think “What Not to Wear” for blogging. We’ll call it, “What Not to Do.”
Blog conference season is in full swing with the grandmommy of them all right around the corner. BlogHer ’12, the world’s largest women’s blogging conference, is headed to New York City for their annual conference during the first week of August. As things heat up, you’ll find a LOT of chatter on Twitter using the hashtag #BlogHer12. But I have to warn you… it’s not all pretty.
It was two years ago as I was gearing up for BlogHer ’10 that my eyes were opened to the true character of some bloggers. There was a lot of buzz on Twitter about a private party that was going to be announced for Schick Intuition. The party was promised to include a big name musical act and the tension on Twitter was palpable. Everyone (including me) was waiting for the invite link to go live. It was promised at 2pm.
The time came and went. They announced they were having technical glitches and that the invite link would be live soon. I waited and watched. It was for Gavin DeGraw, after all. I wanted to hear him perform so I was willing to wait in the virtual line. And having working in software, I know that technical glitches are more often the norm than the exception.
And then it started…
“I’ve been sitting around waiting for an hour for this.”
“You don’t do this to bloggers.”
All tweets directed at the sponsor.
I was astonished and embarrassed all at the same time. It was a sense of (unfounded) entitlement and even sounded a bit like extortion (Oh yes, that’s gone on before too. Ask someone from years gone by about the famous Crocs story).
Two years later and I’m a little wiser and a little less flabbergasted at this kind of behavior. But I don’t like it anymore than I did then. Frankly, it gives bloggers a bad name.
Don’t believe me? I witnessed a Facebook exchange a few weeks ago between a Marketing Fella and Prominent Social Media Director.
Marketing Fella asks the question, “Why do brands want to work with bloggers? More importantly, why do bloggers want to work with brands?”
Prominent Social Media Director (who works with a lot of bloggers) responds, “Free stuff.”
You see, bloggers, they’re onto you. You may promise posts and tweets and glowing reviews in exchange for a free wardrobe, loaner car, or even a full ride by a MAJOR brand. But many of them know your full ride is often simply a free ride. I’ll caution any brand to think carefully about sponsoring a blogger without some sort of ongoing relationship with them.
(For those brands that don’t know if their offer/relationship is a good one, I’d be happy to advise you.)
And now, on behalf of professional bloggers everywhere, I’d like to formally apologize for those conference attendees showing the following kinds of behavior:
- Begging, pleading, whining about and for every private party invitation out there
- Lacking tact when it comes to flaunting party invitations
- Commandeering the #BlogHer12 hashtag for said begging, pleasing, whining, and flaunting
- Randomly tweeting out the need for sponsor for BlogHer (although this has surprisingly worked for some people)
- Searching EventBrite for any possible invitation to a private event and responding, even if not invited
- Signing up for events “just in case” they want to go
- Planning to bring wheelie carts to the Expo Hall to collect as much swag as possible
- Actually bringing wheelie carts to the Expo Hall to collect as much swag as possible
- Whining because they didn’t get some really awesome swag
- Lack of interaction at booths (because they are only interested in swag)
- Grabbing things out of the booth that aren’t even intended for swag (yes, this has really happened)
- And of course, too much drinking and all the ramifications that go along with it
While there are plenty of bloggers that will fit the bill, my personal experience is that, like you, we are professionals. We like to have a good time (truly, we are a friendly bunch), we like to try out really cool things, and we really like expanding our network and meeting new people.
With that said, I wrote a post just for brands when I returned from BlogHer last year about what to expect after the conference. We have expectations of you too.
Whether you are a blogger or a brand, I’d love to have the chance to connect at BlogHer’12 this year and talk down and dirty about the state of the blogosphere. Be sure to follow my personal account on Twitter (@allthingsfadra).
(P.S. A quick note about the Schick Intuition party, I sent a quick note on Twitter to the party sponsor apologizing for the other blogger’s behavior and to let them know that there were many of us that were gracious and simple hoping for an invite. I got a DM telling me not to worry. That no matter what happened, they would put me on the VIP list. Which they did. See? You do catch more flies with honey than vinegar.)