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Posts Tagged ‘bloggers’

5 Rules for Ethical (and Good) Blogging

blogging101On most Saturdays, I make it a point to thank tweeps for shout outs on the retweets or favorites regarding my PRNewser posts. Why? Because it’s nice to get a shout-out and I’m from Texas, so I’m sweet like that.

In short, everyone — bloggers and tweeters alike — appreciates the sharing of love in “@” form. We’re all working here.

That is what led me to think about today’s “5 Things“: the rules to ethical (and good) blogging. 

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No, Brands Shouldn’t Pay for Blog Mentions

This week PR Daily posed an important question: Should brands pay for blog mentions?

Before the requisite “this is a complicated issue that will affect different parties differently and we want to avoid making overgeneralizations” statement, we’ll give you the short answer: no.

Don’t get mad before you read the qualifiers: well over 50% of the public turns to editorial sites for info on products, so if a prominent blogger truly enjoys/approves of your client’s product, any related content is PR gold. But you already knew that.

Here’s the rub: As readers and writers of blogs, we can tell you that if you are a blogger who consumers turn to for “unbiased” insights, they will begin to question your credibility the minute they discover that you were paid to promote something even if you’ve made that relationship clear to everyone who visits your site (which you’re legally required to do anyway).

No, bloggers aren’t held to such strict standards of objectivity as traditional journalists. But paid endorsements can never be 100% “sincere,” so their value is limited. The conflict of interest between blogger and patron ensures this fact.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to get bloggers to promote your client, but there are some big caveats:

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Mom’s iPhone Contract with Son Goes Viral

iPhone, duh. Whenever anything goes viral on the Internet, PR professionals should raise an eyebrow and shift into work mode.

Our industry specializes in public sentiment, so when a video, or in this case a document, resonates widely with the population, we know there is a learning opportunity at hand. This particular story concerns “mommy blogger” Janell Burley Hofmann, her 13-year-old son Gregory and an iPhone.

Like many mothers with teenagers, Ms. Hoffman had to decide whether or not to give her son an iPhone this Christmas. She ultimately did, but the gift came with a contract she wrote herself and posted on her blog, defining the terms of use and delineating rules of conduct regarding said phone.

The list of 18 rules cover everything from where and when Gregory may use the phone to his responsibilities in case he should lose it due to bad behavior or stupidity. Hoffman was especially adamant that Gregory not let the phone come between himself and the real world around him–in other words, he is absolutely forbidden from using it to watch porn.

Ms. Hoffman’s post has received more than 21,000 Facebook likes and 1,247 tweets, not to mention intense coverage in the media, both print and online. What’s going on here?

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Man Hires Assistant to Slap Him Into Productivity

Today in Random Day Before the Election News: This clever study in personal dedication broke a couple of weeks ago, and it’s already made its way around a good portion of the Internet. Still, we’d like to come back to it on a day characterized by irritation and anxiety for so many Americans–the day before an election that we’ve all heard WAY too much about for at least two years. Need proof? Think back to the time when Michelle Bachman and Donald Trump led the pack in certain polls. Yes, that did indeed happen.

Anyway, Maneesh Sethi is a San Francisco-based blogger who recently decided that his social media habits were affecting his productivity in a bad way. He knew that he spent far too much of his time scrolling through his Facebook feed, descending into the bottomless cavern that is Reddit or doing something even more useless like, say, reading about politics. He wanted to change his ways.

Of course, millions of people find themselves in Sethi’s position every day–but he chose a more creative way of addressing it than most. His unique approach makes sense considering the fact that his blog, Hack the System, is all about using “unconventional techniques to improve your productivity and your life“. So he placed an ad on Craigslist and hired an assistant to sit beside him while he worked and quite literally slap him in the face every time he clicked on Facebook.

Well, that wasn’t too dramatic, was it?

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