Protecting The Mom Blogging Community: Bad Marketing Advice & Misconceptions

Edited to add: The article in question has since been edited, but the article in it’s original state (which I saved) was highly offensive to many of the professionals mentioned in the article. The author apologized, but still, my thoughts remain the same regarding malicious marketers and brands and bloggers who support them. :-/

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I normally don’t blog about blogging because that’s kinda like writing in your journal about journaling. But I have no place else to put this other than the Facebook discussion I participated in. Soon, that discussion will be buried and my thoughts will be lost. And I feel they need to be seen, because I’m tired of the smile and nod mentality. I’m usually the “Here we go AGAIN beating the dead horse, everybody shut the hell up and get back to work, responding is a waste of time, it doesn’t pay the bills, stop taking the bait” type, but the article and the nods it got made me feel a certain type of way that got my fingers going.

So this article written on a “how to” marketing/consulting blog came out featuring a list of Mom Bloggers (and a few outreach companies) who deserve to be pampered by brands. Those on the list were sent a congratulatory tweet. But the article written INTRODUCING the list was total crap, ok. Total. And I’m not even going to get on these top lists… I don’t give 3 damns or a kitten about the list or any others. We’ve already shared our disdain for them. They don’t pay my bills. If I make ‘em, I make ‘em, if I don’t, I don’t. Simple.

So the article went on about how a business could pitch 20 Mommy Bloggers to write about an all expense paid getaway giveaway – FOR A CHANCE TO WIN that one prize. It gets better. If you’re an automobile manufacturer, you may want to pitch 500 Mommy Bloggers to write about your one year lease giveaway – FOR A CHANCE TO WIN that one prize. And by golly it may cost you $2,000 at $4 per blog post, bringing you way under what a “TOP media company” is offering their bloggers: a whopping $25 per post. *side eye*

…or a chance to win for that matter.

And then the article took a turn for WHAT should have been the premise of the entire article:

Before you go out and hire an expensive ad agency to run focus groups that tell you only what’s observable when observing, contact the most influential people on earth first. Get their perspective.

And when you do, come bearing gifts*. After all, it’s rude to show up to your neighbor’s doorstep unannounced — empty handed.

// insert list of bloggers here //

* What, gifts like those CHANCES TO WIN you were just encouraging in majority of the article?

Sir.

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So then a Facebook thread was started announcing some of the bloggers who had made the list. I have protected everyone involved in the conversation, but I will just say I wasn’t too thrilled and was very vocal as to why.

Those who know me and have had real conversations with me know why I went a little hard. Plenty of us have struggled in some way, shape, or form and blogging has presented itself to be a huge life saver for many of us… even when having to struggle to get said blog to where it is today. I may have had a PTSD moment, lol. But enough is enough. My CURRENT lifestyle and online career does NOT include being silent or sitting around watching people make poor decisions that will lead to the demise of an industry that helps so many gain financial stability, once in a lifetime experiences, and the opportunity to contribute to social good efforts.

Neighbourhood watch sign

Photo by le Korrigan

Let me explain…

The Blogging Community is like a neighborhood. You see some riff raff in your neighborhood, naturally you and your neighbors as a collective are going to protect the neighborhood and combat the riff raff, right? It’s not as simple as ignore it and it’ll go away. You don’t want to sacrifice your family, hard earned work, and investments to danger and harm. This is how I see it. If we’re supposed to all stick together and look out for each other, well… *kanye shrug*

Am. I. missing something heeere?

I commented on the article.

Thanks for the mention, however, I wouldn’t encourage any of these marketing tactics except for the very last…

“Come bearing gifts. After all, it’s rude to show up to your neighbor’s doorstep unannounced — empty handed.”

It’s a common misconception that Mom Bloggers like to blog for “free” or “chances to win”. Our blogs are businesses and should be approached as such. Many of us are contributing significant amounts of income to our households. Time = money. Brands and blogger outreach teams are being paid beaucoup money for their “expertise”. Well-established Mom Bloggers with solid portfolios are certainly more valuable than $4-$25 per post (or chances to win). Brands, do your research!

Then, I commented on the congratulatory Facebook post.

Lots of editing because so many folks were commenting at the same time and when you’re riled, you’re prone to typos. UGH.

Of course with every list, there’s concern about who’s on the list, who did what, and seriously, the list means nothing. It’s the faulty marketing tactics mentioned in that article (and the link-bait which the article is) that I do NOT wish to be associated with.

Brands, thoroughly research a blogger and form your own opinions. Don’t take advice from unestablished marketing blogs. Don’t take lists seriously unless they are REPUTABLE. Study a blogger’s presence, kindly ask for their portfolio, media kit, and experience. Then, pitch them for their very own “pampering” experience. Bloggers, remember when you promote bad tactics (I get it, we all want to be recognized and everyone doesn’t see the big picture.), they will continue to spread and fuel misconceptions about our community we work so hard to maintain.

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is the founder of Sophistishe. She's a free spirit, rental rebel, curator of pretty things, lover of vintage pyrex, and the tropics. Sheena can be found in NW Indiana with her husband and two scrumptious boys, clutching kraft paper, chalkboard paint, sriracha and chipotle pepper.

9 Comments

  • Reply August 27, 2012

    romneyd

    Good for you Sheena for sticking up for the brand you worked hard to build. I can’t imagine what kind of slap in the face this article could have been to you. Shame on the author.

  • Reply August 27, 2012

    Krystel

    I totally agree with this post Sheena. I am sick of first and foremost uneducated brands (not all of them) thinking that we just throw up a post and keep going, not taking into account the pictures we may have had to take , the research that may have been needed to be done and frankly the investment of time that goes into blogging.

    And while people may not like what you said it’s the truth. The truth is the person who blogs for “a chance” to win a $20 GC to post on a contest for a brand makes it hard for those of us who charge a sponsored post fee.

    Thanks for putting it out there!

  • Reply August 26, 2012

    Lily @Militaryfamof8

    Definitely a 5 star post! I love that your feelings come across exactly as you wrote it, and I value and agree with your opinions!

  • Reply August 26, 2012

    Amanda

    As a once power house for a lot of business stuff and garnering large press and items businesses take advantage of bloggers (not all businesses but a good amount) and bloggers tend to lay out the welcome mat to it. At the end of the day remember you are a brand and do you want to represent your brand that way?

    • Reply September 1, 2012

      sheenatatum

      Some people just don’t care and take/celebrate every single thing thrown their way even if they are capable of better. That, I don’t understand. I do feel for the blogger who is just starting out… you have to start somewhere and/or going through financial hardship. Been there.  But when popular bloggers don’t set good examples, it kinda ruins it for the ones who take it more seriously.

  • Reply August 26, 2012

    @Veronicatheblog

    nice post by @SheenaTatum regarding the “top 100 mommy bloggers” list debacle http://t.co/LoWD1lGi

  • Reply August 26, 2012

    Sophistishe

    Thanks for sharing, The Young Mommy Life!

  • Reply August 26, 2012

    Jenny

    I got out of that whole “blog for money thing”. Yea I do it once in a while if I wanna pay for a new outfit for my dolls or if we need a bit of help on the rent but as a whole I don’t really bother. It ruined blogging for me, which is why I restarted my blog and deleted everything I had before.

    I’m tired of being offered crap to write crap. Seriously 10$ to write a post about something I have no idea about then ask for a refund when I take it down. Um no?

    And paying Ning groups to be able to see things I can get money off of? Not happening…

    I’m done dealing with it.

    • Reply August 26, 2012

      Sheena

      I’m sorry blogging as a business never took off for you. The opportunity is there, and I believe someday it will present itself to you. You’ve already weeded out the BS, so you can focus on quality. That’s actually a huge step in the right direction.

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