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Posts Tagged ‘mommy bloggers’

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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