Showing posts with label the business of blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the business of blogging. Show all posts

Monday, January 11, 2016

Is 'Cause Marketing' becoming the 'Stray Dog of the Internet' - something you have to stop feeding for free? #MotivationMonday

This is NOT a Sponsored Post.

Photo Credit: Steam Driven Media
Blogging seems to be the only industry I have ever worked in where people assume it's OK NOT to pay at all for the services they require or suggest that a barter of product suffices as payment. Social Good and 'Cause Marketing' are beginning to feel like that stray dog that you are warned never to feed under any circumstances.

And this is coming from someone with a Print (remember Newspapers? 'The Blogs on paper" that melted on your fingers when you read them) background as - get this - a 'Human Interest Reporter'. I went on to Television News writing and then did a brief stint for several Magazines before joining the 'Digital Influencer' side of the journalistic house.

My blog began in 2009 (I was actually Ghost Writing for a few brand blogs before then), and the first week we launched a simple empowerment post with an affirmation it got on the radar of a well known celeb - one whose roots began in Music and has become pretty much an empire - he re-tweeted that post. Simple enough right?

That simple 're-tweet' got picked up by his fellow celebs and was re-tweeted so often they temporarily broke our server.

Very much a blessing. One I was NOT prepared for. I got bombarded with un-solicited press releases and requests to 'run giveaways' and post what amounted to 'advertorials', with no compensation for me because the info was just so 'valuable' and 'informative' that my readers would LOVE it they assured. I scoffed. I have a strong communications background, a degree in mass media communications and these emails were nothing similar to the ones I received when I was in print or television. Not at all similar. I hid and was 'PR Free' for the first year of our launch. Those were the most blissful 365 days of my blogging career.

Then along came a household brand who had pitched me the whole time, invited me to events and really wanted a way to be presented to the community I worked very hard to build. I knew full well I needed to be careful in how I partnered with brands. It's why I avoided it for so very long.

This brand was persistent, they make products I actually use in my home daily and spent a year really reading my posts - most likely because I refused to snatch the dangling carrots.

They finally presented a charitable initiative. A very worthy one.and asked directly how we could partner.

Alas, my 'Good Heart' became both a blessing - and to an extent - a downfall. I enjoyed partnering with the brand. I certainly enjoyed helping them help a worthy cause. Doing good fits well with an Empowerment Blog that is run by a Life/Career Coach.

But don't cue the music and don't ride off into the sunset. Yet.

It opened up a flood gate of  'do me a favor' emails. A ton of 'why did you it for them and now won't do it for me?' questions that I face to this day.

I now have to tell them what I tell brands that pitch me other things:

When underwear brands pitch me about creating content or running a free giveaway in exchange for their underwear, I ask their reps pointedly 'Do YOU get paid in UNDERWEAR'? and when they reply 'No, of course not' I reply 'Why should I?' - Most have no answer. One agency rep forwarded my email to his entire agency with the subject - 'Who does this little bitch think she is?' I was 'accidentally' copied. Within minutes I tweeted the agency's owner and let them know I could post our email exchange and show their reps exactly who 'this little bitch' is. Needless to say they didn't want that to happen and I will never partner with their atrocious agency.

Sadly I now have to tell folks who pitch me 'Cause Marketing' something similar - I can't quite pay my bills with my 'good heart'. I can't give every cause free advertising just because it's a good cause. And the hard part is I have a background in Human Interest and Empowerment. That will always be 'my beat/my thing' but that does NOT mean I am REQUIRED to do anything for free.

It's an even bigger pet peeve of mine, when the rep will look at my site and tell me since you haven't posted for a day I thought you were in need of 'content'. I live in New York City where there are thousands of trade shows, theatres, art, and multiple events DAILY - I also Life Coach, run a Social Media Consultancy and mostly blog during 'Graveyard Hours', I will never lack content and at any given time - I average 14K in un-read emails on a 'good day'.

These lessons in Blogging and Cause Marketing have prompted me to take on ONE major pro bono cause per year and devote myself specifically and entirely to that cause, which I can opt to change the following year so that more Not-For-Profits can have a voice that are scrambling to get heard over the Social Media noise out there. I was raised by a very philanthropy driven family, and was taught that giving of time is as valuable if not more so than giving money, but the problem is - there is only finite amounts of time that one can afford to give away.

That means I have to turn others down and I refuse to allow myself to feel guilty for doing so. This is a business, I have always treated it that way. If you approach me like I am a 'hobbyist' - you are doing us BOTH a huge dis-service.

Call To Action/Soundoff:

Bloggers how do YOU approach Cause Marketing on YOUR Blogs? Readers, how do you feel about Bloggers 'feeding the stray dog'? Is it like any other 'advertorial' to you or does it make you truly explore the cause a bit more?

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