I attended the Women's Internet Marketing Summit this weekend put on by the Women's ECommerce Association International. There was lots of great stuff, but by far the highlight was the heated discussion about ethics in blogging. The "Harnessing the Blogosphere" panel featured several top women bloggers.
The key question was - is it ok to get paid to blog and what do you need to disclose.
the overwhelming response was - keep it authentic and true. If you absolutely must do a blog that is paid for by an advertiser - you must be incredible explicit and offer full disclosure.
One of the panelists writes a blog that is sponsored by an advertiser. She gets paid to write the blog. But she is very specific and up front about her relationship with the advertiser.
I still sensed some squirming. This is a subject these women are really really passionate about. Authenticity and transparency in blogging is something many bloggers, including myself, hold sacred. I'll just say, from the panel discussion, it's a really really sensitive subject.
Women and Word of Mouth - Bad
payperpost.com is a website that pays people to blog. More specifically - they pay you to write about their advertisers' products.
Get Paid for Blogging. You've been writing about Web sites, products, services and companies you love for years and you have yet to benefit from all the sales and traffic you have helped generate. That's about to change. With PayPerPost advertisers are willing to pay you for your opinion on various topics.
But what if you have a negative opinion? Will they pay you for that? In an Ad Age article about payperpost.com - they say this:
a "Postie" (PayPerPost's term for its 6,000 bloggers) can't criticize the product, in this case. The tone required by the opp is neutral.
Payperpost.com is working on "disclosure" issues - but - I don't know about you, but this whole thing creeps me out.
If I were an advertiser, I wouldn't go near it. Sure - I bet it can be highly successful - pay a few bucks and get all sorts of raving posts about your product. I bet you can sell a lot of stuff that way. But the SECOND word gets out that you paid for those posts? Fuhgeddaboutit. Now any positive review or post, real or unreal, loses all credibility. Everything your company says in its marketing and advertising loses all credibility. Is that a risk you're willing to take?
Women and Word of Mouth - Good
There is another way to go. Want to get people talking about you? Instead of paying for posts - create something that touches her - so deeply - that she talks about it for real.
If you haven't already seen it - check out the new video by Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. It's called "Evolution".
According to Ad Age:
With not a penny of paid media and in less than a month, "Dove Evolution," a 75-second viral film created by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, for the Unilever brand has reaped more than 1.7 million views on YouTube and has gotten significant play on TV talk shows "Ellen" and "The View" as well as on "Entertainment Tonight." It's also brought the biggest-ever traffic spike to CampaignForRealBeauty.com, three times more than Dove's Super Bowl ad and resulting publicity last year, according to Alexa.com.
Want to be successful in your marketing to women word of mouth efforts? Instead of paying people to talk about you - give them something to talk about. Be truly remarkable. Tap into her deepest passions. Find out what really matters to her.
Do you know what your customers' deepest passions are? What are your company's deepest passions? It's one of the most important conversations you can have.