image source we heart it
So I am about to talk about something that isn't fashion related but is definitely blog related. Most of the people that comment on my blog are definitely fellow bloggers and so I know that this post will not neccessarily fall on fallow ground, but it may go over your heads a little bit. Trust me, search engine optimization and online marketing are extremely tricky and hard to understand. I want to attempt to bring to light some recent situations and concerns I see happening in the blogging community. First and foremost, my job is internet marketing. That's what I do, on an every day basis. I go to conferences and get to meet some of the most gifted people in internet marketing. There isn't a whole lot of crossover between online marketing and fashion, but I'm going to start building that bridge.
Yesterday, @_IFB tweeted: "if bloggers don't talk, companies will continue to take advantage of them. #justsayin"
Let's get real for a second. There are companies out there, reputable companies out there doing some pretty shady things on the internet. Unfortunately, there are too many bloggers out there hoping to make a little bit of money off their blogs. Basically, what these bloggers do not realize is that by taking these companies low ball offers for links or content, they are pretty much whoring themselves out as well as damaging the entire fashion blogging community. I know that is harsh, but its the truth and the truth is harsh. Let me get on my soapbox for just a second and say: your voice is important. Your audience is important: Your audience is worth more than the $25 a company paid you to post sponsored content. Please, know no matter how low your traffic is; your voice and your potential audience is worth more than that.
How do you know if a company is trying to take a advantage of you? Let me give you a few tips.
They should offer you:
1. Money or product equivalent of $50 or so dollars if you are beginner upwards of $1000 if you have a large dedicated following,
2. Editing freedom over the content you write or they write,
3. AND (oh yes these are all things they should be supplying) a link from their site to yours.
You should offer them:
1. The option of writing content yourself,
2. An honest review,
3. AND an anchor text link (anchor text means that you link to their site through a keyword that company is trying to rank for).
I definitely realize that this asking price isn't cheap. But considering the advertising prices for print are incredibly high... this cost is relatively low. Companies receive a lot of bang for their buck because unlike print ads, sponsored content is searchable, trusted, greatly benefits your online presence, and isn't used to line the bottom of a bird cage a month after print (yeah, I just said that).
Let's look at a recent example between Payless and Chictopia. Basically, when you join Chictopia, their terms of service allow them to use your images however they like. This includes a widget that they provided to Payless that allows users images wearing Payless shoes to run. Although in theory, Chictopia and Payless were probably thinking how great this would be. However, the main problem with this is that the widget does not allow a visitor to the site ability to access the Chictopia user's profile or their blog. Basically, these bloggers images are being used and it does not benefit them one bit.
For more on this, definitely head over to Independent Fashion Bloggers most recent post concerning reading the fine print. I agree whole-heartedly with the words of Erin, Jennine and the other bloggers mentioned. As a fashion blogging community we cannot be oohed and ahhed by the fact that our picture is in a noted publication or brand site. The relationships between bloggers and companies should benefit both parties, not one at the expense of the other.
What do you think about advertising and blogging? Do you feel like companies under appreciate the influence of the blogging community and the exposure provided by the blogging community?