We’ve just had some tasty Chik-Fil-A lunches, and I’m wondering if anyone will judge me if I go and grab another sandwich. Getting ready for the Blogger Town Hall Meeting. Ran back to my room to grab my sweater, because it’s really freezing in here! MomTV has a page of recap videos from the conference. The Blogger Town Hall recap is the first video on the page. It continues in the second video down.
We’re having technical difficulties with not enough microphones. It’s all good. We’re moms. We’re used to things not going according to plan.
Kelby is talking about how we dance around a lot of issues, but we rarely come right out and attack these things head on. So now we’re going to talk about it. Bloggers, companies, advertisers, marketers all here. This conversation is going to happen, and it’s going to happen now.
Mom blogging is not a silly little hobby. We need to do this, and we need to do it in an ethical way. “There are a few people in this room who can shut down a company with a few tweets, and they can’t afford diapers. I have a problem with that.”
There’s been a lot of negativity concerning bloggers receiving products to write about. It’s in the newspapers. It’s on TV. Let’s talk about it.
There are no speakers for this meeting. No sponsors. This is just us talking. We’re being livestreamed on MomTV, too.
David from WOMMA sits on the Member Ethics Advisory Panel and they talk about disclosure. FTC guidelines have been a big issue. They removed the line about not paying people to promote stuff, but there must be meaningful disclosure. Because of who we keep company with, we may be fans, but we are also influencers. Paying influencers is right for the community. He has no problem with paying street team fans either, so long as there is meaningful exposure. “You are all underpaid,” he says. I’m nodding emphatically. Celebrities go on TV and say stuff all the time, but they don’t have to disclose anything. We are being singled out unfairly by the FTC. (Amen!)
Jessica Smith said that all of us in this room are going above and being what we need to do to disclose. We need to look at the big picture. Look at yourself as a spokesperson. Represent yourself as a professional. If you want to be treated like a celebrity, you have to present yourself professionally.
Lucretia Pruitt brings up how there are no resources out there telling bloggers how to act like professionals. There is no handbook, no contract, not set way to tell us how to interact with companies.
Amy Lupold Bair said that you can get a lot of information from sites like MomDot, etc. We need to tell conference planners what other resources we need. What we want to learn about. Maybe you’re great on Twitter, but you need to learn good phone etiquette.
Twincident talks about how she feels like she needs to disclosure when she writes about something she loves and it’s not sponsored. And that sucks.
Cecily wants to know why there’s an implication that she’s not professional just because she curses and such. She shouldn’t have to change who she is to play nice with companies. They should accept her the way she is.
Mary from Baby Steps read the entire 86 pages of the FTC regulations. She feels a lot of the outrage is being blown out of proportion. We don’t necessarily need to worry as much as people are making it out to be.
Mommy Niri said, “Live ethically. Blog how you live.” To much applause.
I’m going to take a break from liveblogging to go up and speak. (This is 13:37 in the video. I’m on camera at 28:40, but due to microphone issues, I don’t start speaking until 29:10.)
I’m currently blushing fiercely about talking about about money and how we deserve to get paid in more than cupcakes. People actually applauded for me when I introduced myself, and I’m still floored about that.
Bad behavior (knocking people down for swag) reflects poorly on the rest of us. (Dissention in the ranks about whether or not we should be trying to dictate what other people write and do in the blogosphere.)
Hold the public relations folks accountable for the trash talking they’ve been doing against us. PR people need us, not the other way around. How has it gotten to the point where we’ve let them dictate what we do?
Writing is a skill, and not everyone has it. (Says one of the company reps who admits can’t can’t write worth crap.) When she needs to have something written, she expects to pay for it.
Amber from SkinMD said that folks in PR don’t know what we need. They don’t know we really want to get paid. They think we’re happy writing for swag. Bloggers need to tell PR what they expect.
Amanda addresses Robbie from Cozi about how he said he wants to support bloggers financially, but not with advertising. She said that conference sponsorships are great, but advertising on our blogs will show the blogosphere that Cozi supports bloggers. All the time. Not just at conferences.
Small businesses want to know how to work with bloggers. They don’t have the same ad budgets as larger companies, but they’d like to help us grow as they grow. Looking for ideas.
Janice from 5 Minutes for Mom wants to encourage smaller blogs to talk to mom-owned businesses about lower priced advertising and sponsorships. We can help each other!
Robbie from Cozi wants to address the comments directed at him, explains how his company began. All businesses are trying to spend as little money and resources as they can to do what they need to do. He decided to figure out how to support the mom blogging community without advertising. He says that advertising is very difficult to manage. He prefers not to choose who he supports. He’d rather support a lot of people than just a select few. Some grumbling that he “doesn’t get it,” but I like his idea. He doesn’t want to support the same two or three people all the time. He wants to support a lot of different bloggers on a regular basis. He wants people who run small blogs to have the same opportunities as the people who run the larger blogs.
Astacia is concerned that supporting random bloggers does not support quality, it supports those have time to run around entering contests. (Mixed reactions from people in the audience. People standing up and commenting without holding the mic. Astacia was one of them.)
Every time you provide a service, you’re a business. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling advertising or writing for the love of it, you’re still providing a valuable service, and that makes you a business. “If I can’t pay you, then I need to re-evaluate working with you.”
Trisha from Mom Dot says we should do karaoke. She talks about random traffic from giveaways. She would prefer to have 20 authentic entries from her readers than 500 random drive-by contest enters.
(If you want to check out the video coverage on MomTV, this is where the second video on the page starts.)
Kim says she has no problem working for cupcakes. (I brought cupcakes into it. Go me!) She feels like she shouldn’t be judged for lowering the bar by agreeing to work for cupcakes.
Do what works for you.
HiveMoms is willing to offer stock options. Work with start-up companies. Bloggers can be business partners.
Kelby wraps up by saying that we mom bloggers ARE small businesses. We deserve to be treated as such. (Amen!)