Which creates greater change: Words or Money? // Photo by NoahWesley
MyRick of AsiaPundit.com recently wrote about Singaporean bloggers getting all kinds of perks and filling their blogs with product placements of all sorts:
As if Technorati rankings weren’t enough to prove it, a sudden outbreak of product placement in Singapore blogs should demonstrate that the Lion City owns the blogosphere.
Blog queen XiaXue, meanwhile, gets a Creative MP3 player and immediately starts dissing iPods and Mac users evangelists.
I responded on myrick’s post but would like to elaborate here on:
1. Blogger obligations to marketers
2. Two polemic approaches to blogs marketing
Blogger obligations to marketers
= Nada. It’s our courtesy.
First off, my recent cell phone acquisition was probably part of a guerrilla marketing campaign by Sprint. Sprint was pushing the phone to a bunch of tech/gadget bloggers and I happen to be in that demographic (they push out a lot, just google “sprint ambassador program”). While a free phone with free unlimited service doesn’t hurt, I mentioned it on the blog out of courtesy, not because Sprint has asked any of us bloggers to say anything about it. In fact, I actually wrote that I was unimpressed with the service, maintaining my honest opinion which I maintain with my readers. It may be nice, but it’s only appropriate that Sprint accepts the honesty of bloggers in their reviews. Companies seeking to market themselves via bloggers have to understand how bloggers work by recognizing the value of honest marketing over blatant advertising. Just look at CowboyCaleb’s “How not to email a blogger” for an example of how companies could try to approach bloggers.
Two polemic approaches to blogs marketing
Many veteran bloggers have built strong reputations for themselves, so just as in real life, they get recognized for it. It’s not uncommon for companies to approach bloggers to tap on our established reputations, just take a look at my lengthy review of blog marketing in the United States entitled “The Criminal Blogger: From Opinion Leader to Shill“. While I covered the trend of blog marketing, how readers check a blogger’s reputations and so on, the comments left by other bloggers were equally if not more insightful. Do read.
What’s more interesting is how different bloggers approach it. While some don’t mind full-on advertising (e.g. Xiaxue, Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com), some prefer not to let anyone else get in between bloggers and their readers (e.g. Jason Kottke, myself). You can just listen to exactly this from the Keynote Conversation w/ Heather Armstrong and Jason Kottke at SXSW 2006. It might not dawn onto the uninitiated, but too much commercialism on blogs might ruin the very foundation of blogging, that is in keeping with your personal voice. This gift of authenticity is something you’ve built with your readers: they respect you as a discerning writer, while you respect them as intelligent users. Both sides have equal footing and readers who sense any form of bullcrap may stop reading the offensive blog altogether.
Finally, if you haven’t gotten any freebies, don’t fret. The real gift we have as bloggers are our readers. It’s one of those things you can’t simply buy! 🙂