Blogging is a Business

Blog for MoneyAs you may know, I love networking events. I have had the opportunity to attend numerous blogging events to network on behalf of clients as well as create mutually beneficial business relationships with bloggers.

Most recently I attended the Type-A Parent conference in Atlanta and one thing became very clear to me: blogging is a business. Bloggers are CEOs of their own companies and if you want to create a quality relationship with bloggers, you must approach them as business people.

After working closely with bloggers over the past six months, I think it’s high time we remove the term “mommy blogger” from our lexicon. I’ve met ex-Fortune 500 executives turned fashion bloggers, stay-at-home mothers turned technology bloggers, and a husband-and-wife team that runs a successful business in addition to their blog.

Many bloggers have turned blogging into a lucrative career with sponsored opportunities, book deals, and TV appearances in addition to maintaining incredible social media networks with engaged and committed followers. Most bloggers are entrepreneurs, business owners, social media managers and authors, not “mommies” with online diaries about family matters. 

Many people think that sending bloggers free product will be enough to garner a fabulous review, Sometimes, that’s true, but not always. However, paying bloggers to review products gets you two things that going the “free route” cannot guarantee: an in-depth review and guaranteed leverage.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re deciding which way to go:

1) Do I want bloggers to share their reviews and my product photos on their social media pages?
Free review: Might happen, might not. It’s really up to the blogger. If the product really rocked their socks, they might post on social media to simply promote something that they really enjoyed. That said , you can’t demand free promotion from a company, so don’t expect it from a blogger.
Paid review: Include it in the initial terms of agreement. Done.

2) Do I need the review posted by a certain date?
Free review: Might happen, might not. Influential bloggers have no reason to put your review at the front of the line and, if they’re getting paid to review other products, there’s a disincentive for them to do so. They’ll get your review done and posted when they “get a chance,” which may — or may not — be on your schedule.
Paid review: Set a blog due date in initial terms of agreement. #leverage. You get the point.

Attending multiple blogging conferences allowed me to see how tight-knit the blogging community truly is. When a blogger has a good experience working with a brand, they will often recommend that you work with other bloggers who might also benefit from your client’s products. They are true brand ambassadors for brands and products that they like; fact is, most of them want their readers/followers to go out and purchase the same products that they’re reviewing.

Of course, like all coins, this one has two sides. A bad experience with a brand can lead bloggers to create unflattering tweets about that brand, or worse yet, tell their colleagues in the blogging community to avoid working with that band. If you take nothing else away from this blog post, please remember to treat bloggers as well-connected entrepreneurs whose opinion matters to the thousands (and maybe hundreds of thousands) of followers on their social media channels.