A Little Public Service Announcement for Bloggers

Recently, the running blog world has exploded with folks who are excited to have been picked for a certain relay team sponsored by a certain electrolyte tablet brand, and with folks who are upset that they didn’t get picked for said team.

While I can understand the disappointment of the latter group, I can’t help but put on my Marketing & PR hat for a little public service announcement.

Just to be upfront, I do know what I’m talking about, I’ve been working in marketing & public relations for the past eight years.ย 

My favorite parody of brand sponsorship was in Wayne’s World. Please tell me you remember this and I’m not old.

It’s no secret that a lot of bloggers partner with brands. Not just running bloggers, but mommy bloggers, fashion bloggers, etc. You have a blog, eventually (and usually this happens when you realize that you spend a lot of time working on your blog, and also realize that other bloggers are doing this), you look into ways to benefit from your blog, in more ways than just meeting other bloggers and reading comments on your posts. You want something in return – money, free products, sponsored trips, etc.

And companies have realized the potential in partnering with bloggers, from a marketing and PR perspective – they get brand exposure, people talking about their products, etc. There are even companies set up to help you get your own marketing under control, ppc management servicesย are pay-per-click and can significantly grow your blog or website.

It’s a win win, as long as all parties involved are up front about these relationships. And it’s not a new idea. Just look at professional sports, actors, musicians, etc. (Yes, I am totally comparing us to actual celebrities.)

Anyway, to get to the point of this post.

Be careful what you put on your blog. You’re upset. And your blog isย your blog, so if something is on your mind, it’s natural to want to post about it.

But know that everything you post on your blog (and your Facebook page, Twitter, Google+, etc – anything else linked from or related to your blog) is a reflection of you. It’s your brand. The brand of you.

Say in the future you apply for another type of brand partnership – to be a brand ambassador, or an affiliate referral source, or to review a product (and thus receive free products), or to have a company sponsor your relay team (usually through more free products), whatever.

Those future brands that you want to partner with? They will review your blog before they approve or deny you.

And, as a marketing & PR professional, if I were reviewing a blog for a potential partnership, and I saw a post where you bad-mouthed another company, I would reject you. Regardless of the rest of your content, or how awesome I thought you were, or whether or not your angry/negative blog post was valid.

The point is, if you so easily posted negative things about another brand (a brand that at one point in time you wanted to partner with), I would consider you as a risk to do the same to my company. Any marketing & PR person worth their salt is going to do a little investigating before they approve a partnership with a blogger. If they don’t, that’s just sloppy and they aren’t doing their job properly.

So, be careful. Think twice about what you post. Now, if you never want to do brand partnerships in the future, then post whatever you want on your blog. But if you do, think about what you’re really putting out there. Maybe save some of your rants for your (in real life) friends. Keep it on the trail.

What do you think?ย 

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26 Comments on “A Little Public Service Announcement for Bloggers”

  1. Excellent, excellent post. My husband and I learned the hard way about be careful what you post back in 2002 when my husband was fired from his job because of something he wrote online (before it was fashionable to get fired for your online life). Now I try to be very cognizant about what I write.

    1. Yikes. I’m always careful about what I post online (on my personal stuff and my blog stuff) because I work for a religious-affiliated organization and my personal views don’t always line up with theirs. Also because I’m often the one doing the monitoring on social media on behalf of my org, so I see what other people put out there (and it’s baffling sometimes). But now that I’m making my blog more of a “brand,” it’s another perspective to consider. And, with my job, I might be the marketing person evaluating bloggers down the road. So it’s all definitely top-of-mind for me.

  2. Being a blogger that just penned a poisionous post, I’d say you are absolutely correct in your assertions. I’d also say that the only thing I ever hoped to gain from blogging was and still is friendship. I feel lucky to have a small blog and really no brand to speak of. Why? I can say what I want and when I can no longer do that… why blog?

    1. I agree, it’s important to know the point of your own blog. This blog is definitely more “filtered” and branded, since it’s very public and is read by family members, co-workers, etc, and I use it for fundraising, therefore it’s not just my voice, but a reflection of the American Cancer Society, for example. Also, since I put myself out there a lot professionally (in the social media world), I’m definitely cautious about what is out there with my name on it. I have had a lot of blogs over they years (since college), and have definitely learned to filter myself a lot more.

  3. This is SPOT. ON. I think it’s one thing to say, “I’m bummed that I didn’t get picked,” but a whole different thing to badmouth the company.

  4. I feel like my 13.1 venom is being called into question. I think sometimes (all the time) i am super funny, when others might think i have crossed the line. It’s tricky for us that don’t work in the marketing/pr field. (Us creative types wouldn’t know a boundary if it hit us in the head!) Will you be my PR person?? Then i could say i have a PR person.

    1. Sure! Maybe this side job as a Running Blogger Publicist isn’t such a bad idea …

      Also, I think since your blog is consistently funny/sarcastic, that’s YOU and your sense of humor, not a bad attitude. Obviously it’s not scaring off brands, you’re a Sweat Pink Ambassador ๐Ÿ™‚

      Speaking of which, my payment for publicist duties is a set of pink shoelaces … ha.

      1. You have go on a run with me!! ๐Ÿ˜€ worst case scenario though, we will both be at the aforementioned 13.1 (although i might be behind you the entire race! especially if its as hot as last year!) So i will make sure to bring shoelaces!

  5. Very well said Maggie! I can’t really agree more with you- bashing another company publicly can bite you in the arse later. I just keep my blog true to its original concept- share my running journey as well as my everyday stuff mainly with my family- but to anyone else who cares to read. I’ve made some great friends and am thankful for it. Negative bashing of people or companies have no place on my blog(a place where it will be accessible for ever by everyone to see) or in my real life.

    Kudos to you for such a well thought out post!

  6. Hi! I found your blog on Falon’s recommendation.

    I appreciate this post. I wrote up a post on my blog in response to the ‘certain electrolyte tablet brand’ and while I had a milllion things I really wanted to say, I stepped back, read it over and edited it about 50 times before I posted. While I wanted to get my point across I didn’t want to do so in an imflammatory way. Maybe it still comes across that way to some, but I can stand by what I said and know I really thought about it instead of just reacting.

    I also don’t want to be some robot blogger sucking up to all these companies just for a free ride and then getting used. If there is a company that I really, truly come to love and want to work with then that will be a different story. In the meantime I’ll try not to burn too many bridges, but I will still speak my mind.

  7. I think this is something really great to mention, especially from a PR/marketing perspective! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And yes, I know that scene of Wayne’s World VERY well. I still laugh when I see the super old Doritos logo. And whatever asprin they don’t sell any more “little, yellow, different”

  8. Totally on point!

    I don’t understand why some people REALLY want to be sponsored. Many times it’s better to roll ‘unsponsored’ until you need to land the big sponsorship to train full time. It gives more flexibility to the blog and schedule.

    Posting highly negative things is often times bad ju-ju unless the company and group really deserves it. I’d rather post something positive about another company or group than publicly post something negative about another group or company.

    Constructive criticism is fine but negative hating is a amateur league stuff. We have to tread lightly when we criticize something or someone so it’s not perceived as negative.

  9. I really need to figure out what blogs you read. I’m apparently not reading them because I don’t know what you’re talking about. However, i would enjoy hearing the gossip…

    But your overall point is a good one. If people want to partner with brands, they need to realize their blog is their resume. Be sincere, but smart.

  10. Very good post. I’m always a little cautious of what I put out there. I want to be ‘real’ but at the same time now that I’m definitely very filtered since online world is just a small sliver!

  11. LOVE THIS POST! I always visit on great days ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can’t believe people are complaining about a company they wanted to work with. That’s funny to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I could see it if they were badmouthing a company they wanted nothing to do with – but like you said, then other companies may not want to work with them.

    I had this HUGE negative ordeal that I went through with a company that shall remain nameless, but I ended up not writing the review for them at all, as opposed to writing a horrible one. The reason being? – exactly what you said, I didn’t want another company to read that review and think, Hey this girl can’t give an unbiased review. She gets personal.

    Nice post! and can I please have a job with you ?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. But what is the difference between giving an honest review and negativity? Wouldn’t you want to warn your readers about a bad experience with a company so that they don’t have to go through the same things you did? Why only give good reviews?

      1. I think there is a difference between giving an objective honest review, and taking something personally and posting something a bit more negative and subjective.

  12. I couldn’t agree more! I think that the ones that were buttheads about it are also the ones that are sore losers in everything. I did not apply for the race from Mountain to Shining Sea with my favorite drink tablet, but had I and not been selected– I would have slapped hands with those that were and congratulated. Didn’t they ever play any sports when they were younger??

    I always try to be upbeat IRL and on my blog. This week was actually my first “ho hum” post and it’s because I have been sick and am not happy about surgery. But I want my peeps to know I am here, not running, but here!

  13. Amen sister! While I do think it is wise to be truthful and upfront, slander is never a good idea. It’s always best to put yourself in the opposing sides shoes before pushing that publish button, but sadly most of us react before we allow ourselves to think when our emotions are involved.

  14. Like Amy, I did not know what was going on. So I asked Bobbi during our run today. Wow. I was surprised by what she told me!

    I don’t think anyone will ever show interest in sponsoring me… (Asics, hello?) and I am not sure if I would even want it, but I do censor what I write. I felt bad when I did a Youbar review and the review was so honest. But I tried to do it in a polite manner!

  15. Good post. Since school has left me a little out of the blogworld lately I didn’t know people were actually badmouthing them about not making the team. I applied, I didn’t make it (which I wasn’t surprised about) and honestly I haven’t even posted anything on my blog about not making it. I really try to watch what I put on my blog. I have been warned too many times about being careful not to “burn bridges”

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