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Blogger Blackout

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Over the past several days, the big news in the momosphere has been all about the upcoming “PR Blackout” — a movement instigated by a blogger who runs a mom blog review network, to encourage all mom bloggers to take a “vacation” the week of August 10 – during which they will refuse to do any product reviews, and in fact will not respond at all to the public relations people who contact them. The gist behind this move was that the bloggers were getting so many products to review and were spending so much time doing it, they needed a break. This has created a tremendous amount of buzz, including repeated observations that mom bloggers are not appreciated – and not compensated — for what they do, and I’d like to share a few thoughts of my own:

  • In the world of mom bloggers, public relations agencies are not the enemy, and for bloggers to position us as such is self defeating.  Product sampling began as a mutually beneficial opportunity for marketers and mom bloggers alike: Marketers generated visibility for their products, moms found a way to create more content for their blogs. This content, in the form of reviews, coupons, giveaways and the like, attracts readers. Which increases blogger visitor numbers. Which creates opportunities — including paid opportunities — for those bloggers. For the mom bloggers we’ve worked with on a consistent basis, this has included profiles on our corporate blog and exposure in our company newsletter (circulated to more than a thousand other companies), fun meets-ups hosted by us or our clients, paid spokesperson gigs, paid consulting opportunities, blogger conference sponsorships and more.
  • No marketer ever forced a blogger to post reviews. While some moms were already doing reviews before publicists got into the act, many began separate review sites because they saw the possibilities in partnering with us.  If certain mom bloggers are just plain tired of doing product reviews and feel put upon for doing so, they should simply stop – please! We’d all be happier in the end.
  • We’re not blind – those of us who have been around for awhile know that as more companies have become aware of bloggers’ value, moms are being bombarded. And we know a proper review takes a lot of time – that’s why we so appreciate those bloggers who take it all seriously and do a great job. We hope they will remain loyal to the companies and the PR agencies that have worked with them from the start and respect the ones that respect them. For those who would rather not, perhaps we PR types should launch our own Blogger Blackout.

 

  • Agreed!! The thing nobody seems to realize is that after the Blackout, the pitches will still be there (at least they hope!). The inbox will still be full. Taking a week to blackout PR isn’t acknowledging that the real problem lies in a blogger’s inability to prioritize and schedule. Instead of boycotting for a week, that time would be better suited in finding a workable system for the future. Or, acknowledging that the review blogging isn’t working and getting out of it. Regardless, none of this can be blamed on PR….who are happily hooking up bloggers with goodies that they asked to receive in the first place!!

  • Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child’s Play Communications

    Well put, Tiffany! Thanks for your feedback.

  • Nicely put Stephanie. It’s great to hear the PR perspective in all this. I think there are good lessons to take away on both the blogger and the PR side, and I can imagine how frustrating it must be to hear your industry disparaged. I’m sure this ever-changing onlien landscape is tough enough to try and navigate these days without trying to figure out who’s “blacking you out” for a week.

  • Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child’s Play Communications

    Thanks, Liz. I agree with you that this has been educational — or should be, certainly — for both bloggers and publicists. The landscape certainly is changing — in fact, that’s a subject of a post I’ve planned for later this week…

  • Stephanie I am so glad I found this post. I’ve read a great deal of commentary about the PR Blackout and this is exactly what I wanted to hear from a PR professional. I agree with Liz, this is definitely a great time for PR pros and bloggers to maybe step back and take a look at the situation. In reality don’t you think we’re all in this together? Granted good PR pros must target accordingly. Like journalists, PR professionals are simply pitching their services/products to bloggers because they truly believe that it will be beneficial to their audiences. I’m an eternal optimist and I see this as an opportunity to learn more about each other.

    Again great post!

  • Stephanie Azzarone, President, Child’s Play Communications

    Jessica, you hit it on the head–we ARE all in this together, and we need to support each other to make it work. Thank you for your comment.