Comments on: Bloggers and PR payola: is this the future? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/ Insights from H&K Canada's social media strategy team Fri, 03 Jan 2014 07:14:17 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 hourly 1 By: Jody Maley http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-468 Jody Maley Thu, 13 May 2010 19:38:31 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-468 David and ladies, I have a site on which I blog and provide a service. I don't however, take compensation for any reviews....tweets, FB promotion, and have stayed away from Banner advertising because I want my followers to know that when I post about a product (good or bad) it's my opinion. Since I'm fairly new to the whole blogging world...I do have a question: "Are the reviews that sites are getting paid for being honest in their reviews?" As a mom of six....I do listen to other moms and want their knowledge (and hopefully others will want mine), but I want to know how good..or not so good a product is. PS...looked at all the sites by Kelby, Kim and Erika and really enjoyed the knowledge shared. David and ladies,

I have a site on which I blog and provide a service.

I don’t however, take compensation for any reviews….tweets, FB promotion, and have stayed away from Banner advertising because I want my followers to know that when I post about a product (good or bad) it’s my opinion.

Since I’m fairly new to the whole blogging world…I do have a question: “Are the reviews that sites are getting paid for being honest in their reviews?”

As a mom of six….I do listen to other moms and want their knowledge (and hopefully others will want mine), but I want to know how good..or not so good a product is.

PS…looked at all the sites by Kelby, Kim and Erika and really enjoyed the knowledge shared.

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By: David Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-467 David Jones Thu, 13 May 2010 19:31:07 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-467 @Kim I'm sorry if I misinterpreted you on paid reviews specifically. I was intrigued by your phrasing: "With all the brands pitching us stuff that suit their agenda, it comes a time when we have to say “this is enough”. Otherwise, how we can expect to make a living from blogging." That and other bloggers who are talking about getting paid for reviews inspired this post and has led to a healthy discussion and debate. @Kim

I’m sorry if I misinterpreted you on paid reviews specifically. I was intrigued by your phrasing: “With all the brands pitching us stuff that suit their agenda, it comes a time when we have to say “this is enough”. Otherwise, how we can expect to make a living from blogging.”

That and other bloggers who are talking about getting paid for reviews inspired this post and has led to a healthy discussion and debate.

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By: Erica Ehm http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-466 Erica Ehm Thu, 13 May 2010 13:03:33 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-466 David - Clearly you and I are on the opposite spectrum of this discussion. Let me give you a picture of what life is from YummyMummyClub.ca perspective, which is one of Canada's largest online mags that speaks to the woman in every mom. We have over 20 bloggers who are specialists in a various topics. They spend hours online building their "brand" via Twitter, Facebook, their well-written blogs and through word of mouth. On a daily basis I get 3-4 pitches from PR agencies, often starting with "Dear Mommy Blogger" asking us to try their "flatulence pills", their "new thinner diapers" and great "new vitamin drink". But this is not unconditional requesting. They want these bloggers to spend their valuable time writing about their products. To rave about their experience. To explain the benefits which are often laid out in emails for the blogger to copy. Why? Because research that we've done - http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/marketing_to_mummies.php - shows moms are influenced by their peers to buy a product more than any other type of marketing. So, in terms of efficient, effective marketing, using bloggers to amplify your message is smart. But why is it ok for the person working for the diaper company to make a salary to engage the bloggers, but it's not alright for the bloggers to be compensated for their time - not only the time to test the product, write about and tweet about it - but for the time put into building their following. I see a blogger more as a persona, an online celebrity if you will, but on a grass roots level. We're not mainstream journalists. We write from a personal, subjective point of view. That's what a blog is. I can't understand why you question paying them for that perspective, for their time, and for helping you do the job you can't do yourself - other than it would eat into your budget. Less to keep and more to spend isn't a business model agencies want to adopt. This is a co-dependant relationship - one that should be beneficial to all parties - not just yours. How else do you think we pay for the costs associated with running our on-line businesses? And how else can we earn a living in order to pay for products like the ones you're promoting. And, by the way, if your team is sending out pitches in the next little while, please remind them my name is Erica, not mommy blogger. Thanks for letting me share my point of view. If you'd like the YMC rate card, let me know :) David -

Clearly you and I are on the opposite spectrum of this discussion.

Let me give you a picture of what life is from YummyMummyClub.ca perspective, which is one of Canada’s largest online mags that speaks to the woman in every mom.

We have over 20 bloggers who are specialists in a various topics. They spend hours online building their “brand” via Twitter, Facebook, their well-written blogs and through word of mouth.

On a daily basis I get 3-4 pitches from PR agencies, often starting with “Dear Mommy Blogger” asking us to try their “flatulence pills”, their “new thinner diapers” and great “new vitamin drink”. But this is not unconditional requesting. They want these bloggers to spend their valuable time writing about their products. To rave about their experience. To explain the benefits which are often laid out in emails for the blogger to copy.

Why? Because research that we’ve done – http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/marketing_to_mummies.php – shows moms are influenced by their peers to buy a product more than any other type of marketing. So, in terms of efficient, effective marketing, using bloggers to amplify your message is smart.

But why is it ok for the person working for the diaper company to make a salary to engage the bloggers, but it’s not alright for the bloggers to be compensated for their time – not only the time to test the product, write about and tweet about it – but for the time put into building their following.

I see a blogger more as a persona, an online celebrity if you will, but on a grass roots level. We’re not mainstream journalists. We write from a personal, subjective point of view. That’s what a blog is.

I can’t understand why you question paying them for that perspective, for their time, and for helping you do the job you can’t do yourself – other than it would eat into your budget. Less to keep and more to spend isn’t a business model agencies want to adopt.

This is a co-dependant relationship – one that should be beneficial to all parties – not just yours.

How else do you think we pay for the costs associated with running our on-line businesses? And how else can we earn a living in order to pay for products like the ones you’re promoting.

And, by the way, if your team is sending out pitches in the next little while, please remind them my name is Erica, not mommy blogger.

Thanks for letting me share my point of view. If you’d like the YMC rate card, let me know :)

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By: Easy to Use Ideas For an Effective Product Launch | beginners-guides.com http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-465 Easy to Use Ideas For an Effective Product Launch | beginners-guides.com Thu, 13 May 2010 09:15:53 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-465 [...] Collective Conversation » Bandwidth » Blog Archive » Bloggers and … [...] [...] Collective Conversation » Bandwidth » Blog Archive » Bloggers and … [...]

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By: At Home with Kim Vallee http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-464 At Home with Kim Vallee Thu, 13 May 2010 03:44:00 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-464 I feel that you misinterpreted my post. I am NOT talking about getting paid for reviews. In fact, you can't buy coverage on my editorial column (that is my blog). I even wrote a post about that important fact (http://atk.im/va). But I am running a media, just like a magazine does. I hire graphic designers, programmers and tech support to run my business. My site is not a hobby, it is my livelihood. This means, I need revenues to pay my staff, the operating expenses and my salary. Like Kelby Carr said in her comment, bloggers provide other services that can be sold to brands; none of which involve paid reviews. I am looking beyond the banner ads and beyond the posts for a solution. In fact, I am building a company that will deliver social advertising tools (no paid reviews, no tweets for money or that sort of things) to bloggers because I feel that we need new means to generate revenues. The extract you published was a part of the thought processed that lead to the new social advertising services I am building. I feel that you misinterpreted my post. I am NOT talking about getting paid for reviews. In fact, you can’t buy coverage on my editorial column (that is my blog). I even wrote a post about that important fact (http://atk.im/va).

But I am running a media, just like a magazine does. I hire graphic designers, programmers and tech support to run my business. My site is not a hobby, it is my livelihood. This means, I need revenues to pay my staff, the operating expenses and my salary.

Like Kelby Carr said in her comment, bloggers provide other services that can be sold to brands; none of which involve paid reviews. I am looking beyond the banner ads and beyond the posts for a solution. In fact, I am building a company that will deliver social advertising tools (no paid reviews, no tweets for money or that sort of things) to bloggers because I feel that we need new means to generate revenues. The extract you published was a part of the thought processed that lead to the new social advertising services I am building.

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By: Twitter Trackbacks for Collective Conversation » Bandwidth » Blog Archive » Bloggers and PR payola: is this the future? [hillandknowlton.com] on Topsy.com http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-463 Twitter Trackbacks for Collective Conversation » Bandwidth » Blog Archive » Bloggers and PR payola: is this the future? [hillandknowlton.com] on Topsy.com Thu, 13 May 2010 00:04:54 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-463 [...] Collective Conversation » Bandwidth » Blog Archive » Bloggers and PR payola: is this the future? blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/ – view page – cached More and more bloggers seem to be trying to figure out a way to get paid for reviews that are being facilitated by PR agencies and departments. Here’s a recent post from popular Canadian blogger, Kim Vallee: Tweets about this link Topsy.Data.Twitter.User['doctorjones'] = {"photo":"http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/711913437/daveatpcto2010crop_normal.JPG","url":"http://twitter.com/doctorjones","nick":"doctorjones"}; doctorjonesHighly Influential: “RT @typeamom: Just left a lengthy comment at this post by @DoctorJones about pay for bloggers (or not): http://bit.ly/dygwX4 ” 9 minutes ago view tweet retweet Topsy.Data.Twitter.User['typeamom'] = {"photo":"http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/558734759/kelby-headshot-sq_normal.jpg","url":"http://twitter.com/typeamom","nick":"typeamom"}; typeamomHighly Influential: “Just left a lengthy comment at this post by @DoctorJones about pay for bloggers (or not): http://bit.ly/dygwX4 what's your take? ” 12 minutes ago view tweet retweet Filter tweets [...] [...] Collective Conversation » Bandwidth » Blog Archive » Bloggers and PR payola: is this the future? blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/ – view page – cached More and more bloggers seem to be trying to figure out a way to get paid for reviews that are being facilitated by PR agencies and departments. Here’s a recent post from popular Canadian blogger, Kim Vallee: Tweets about this link Topsy.Data.Twitter.User['doctorjones'] = {“photo”:”http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/711913437/daveatpcto2010crop_normal.JPG”,”url”:”http://twitter.com/doctorjones”,”nick”:”doctorjones”}; doctorjonesHighly Influential: “RT @typeamom: Just left a lengthy comment at this post by @DoctorJones about pay for bloggers (or not): http://bit.ly/dygwX4 ” 9 minutes ago view tweet retweet Topsy.Data.Twitter.User['typeamom'] = {“photo”:”http://a3.twimg.com/profile_images/558734759/kelby-headshot-sq_normal.jpg”,”url”:”http://twitter.com/typeamom”,”nick”:”typeamom”}; typeamomHighly Influential: “Just left a lengthy comment at this post by @DoctorJones about pay for bloggers (or not): http://bit.ly/dygwX4 what's your take? ” 12 minutes ago view tweet retweet Filter tweets [...]

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By: David Jones http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-462 David Jones Wed, 12 May 2010 23:40:21 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-462 Very thoughtful comment. I appreciate your point of view and what that brings to the discussion. Much like everything in social media, there aren't really any rules and everyone needs to realize that bloggers (and PR people) are individuals and not some sort of homogeneous group that acts as one with the same motivations. Very thoughtful comment. I appreciate your point of view and what that brings to the discussion.

Much like everything in social media, there aren’t really any rules and everyone needs to realize that bloggers (and PR people) are individuals and not some sort of homogeneous group that acts as one with the same motivations.

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By: Kelby Carr http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/bandwidth/2010/05/12/bloggers-and-pr-payola-is-this-the-future/comment-page-1/#comment-461 Kelby Carr Wed, 12 May 2010 23:27:16 +0000 408469:4468444:7083222#comment-461 I appreciate you writing about this topic, but I feel like some crucial points are missed here. This is not about paid reviews, which grossly simplifies the issue. No, mom bloggers want to get paid. Just like every other medium. I think a paid review is perhaps one of the worst models, if not the worst. A review implies an impartial testing of a product or service, and an unbiased assessment for readers of its performance. There are many other ways to pay a mom blogger, and some of those are currently being sought for free even so: spokesblogging, advertising, consulting, contests, sponsored content (it need not be a review... what if a food company paid a food blogger to come up with and write reviews using their product as an ingredient, with full disclosure? Good for readers, ethical way to pay). There is paying a blogger to write for a company site or blog. There is paying a blogger to outreach to other bloggers in her community. There are mom bloggers who host Twitter parties, and some (like me and several others) who host national blog conferences in which a firm can arrange a sponsorship for their clients. And I also don't buy the argument that PR handles only earned media. I see plenty of PR companies every week pitching me to do far beyond "earned" media... posting to Twitter, posting to Facebook, these "badges" (aka euphemism for banner ads) for moms who represent a company, blog posts, consulting, contests, spokesblogging, you name it. I would highly recommend reading this example: http://www.mom-101.com/2010/05/nothing-in-life-is-free-except-it-seems.html Yes, PR firms can and should pursue earned media. The fact remains that it is a tough challenge, because writing about a product for many blogs isn't something that is a natural thing they would write just in the interest of their readership. That is no different than traditional media. What percentage of pitches to traditional media outlets actually result in coverage? That is exactly why agencies ask for the other items I just listed. Those items, however, go well beyond earned media and should be considered paid media. So... bottom line is PR agencies can feel free in my mind to pitch bloggers to do reviews and to cover the product. Period. If all PR agencies handle is earned media, then stop at that. Don't ask for more. And don't be surprised when you have a very low rate of actual blog posts as a result. But anything beyond that should be paid. In cash. If you want to go beyond that, then you need to accept that you are in the business of paid media. I think it's time to see agencies step up and offer pay as a matter of doing business. And pay is not product. I know of not one PR firm that receives its pay from companies/clients in product. I appreciate you writing about this topic, but I feel like some crucial points are missed here. This is not about paid reviews, which grossly simplifies the issue. No, mom bloggers want to get paid. Just like every other medium. I think a paid review is perhaps one of the worst models, if not the worst. A review implies an impartial testing of a product or service, and an unbiased assessment for readers of its performance. There are many other ways to pay a mom blogger, and some of those are currently being sought for free even so: spokesblogging, advertising, consulting, contests, sponsored content (it need not be a review… what if a food company paid a food blogger to come up with and write reviews using their product as an ingredient, with full disclosure? Good for readers, ethical way to pay). There is paying a blogger to write for a company site or blog. There is paying a blogger to outreach to other bloggers in her community. There are mom bloggers who host Twitter parties, and some (like me and several others) who host national blog conferences in which a firm can arrange a sponsorship for their clients.

And I also don’t buy the argument that PR handles only earned media. I see plenty of PR companies every week pitching me to do far beyond “earned” media… posting to Twitter, posting to Facebook, these “badges” (aka euphemism for banner ads) for moms who represent a company, blog posts, consulting, contests, spokesblogging, you name it. I would highly recommend reading this example:
http://www.mom-101.com/2010/05/nothing-in-life-is-free-except-it-seems.html

Yes, PR firms can and should pursue earned media. The fact remains that it is a tough challenge, because writing about a product for many blogs isn’t something that is a natural thing they would write just in the interest of their readership. That is no different than traditional media. What percentage of pitches to traditional media outlets actually result in coverage?

That is exactly why agencies ask for the other items I just listed. Those items, however, go well beyond earned media and should be considered paid media.

So… bottom line is PR agencies can feel free in my mind to pitch bloggers to do reviews and to cover the product. Period. If all PR agencies handle is earned media, then stop at that. Don’t ask for more. And don’t be surprised when you have a very low rate of actual blog posts as a result.

But anything beyond that should be paid. In cash. If you want to go beyond that, then you need to accept that you are in the business of paid media.

I think it’s time to see agencies step up and offer pay as a matter of doing business. And pay is not product. I know of not one PR firm that receives its pay from companies/clients in product.

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