Erin Kotecki Vest has another great post up about the business of mommyblogging which leads with this 'graph:
I’m getting myself very out of sorts lately following all the J&J, Disney drama. It has nothing to do with who got invited, who got snubbed, who got an email, who got a pitch, who is going, who is staying silent.
Thank you, Erin. I have been a teense perturbed by how this issue has morphed into people crying into their coffee about not being invited to (or not being able to attend) Camp Baby. I know people are hurt but I am not one of them. My feelings are fine. The take-away from my experience, why I wanted to share it, was to point out that they treated potential business partners in a completely unprofessional manner. You don't treat people you want to build a relationship with, whether it be a friend or a business associate, the way they treated many bloggers.
I'll even go out on a limb and say that while I think it's stupid of them to plan the event during the week, and to not allow breastfeeding infants, I think it's the mostest stupidest of the people working on the event that they didn't follow the same game plan. There was so much confusion. So much misinformation. At least they should have had a coherent policy on why bloggers could/could not attend. All of this goes back to relationship-building. Were they successful?
- I felt pressured into attending Camp Baby. (3 invites from 3 different people.)
- I felt pressured to RSVP. (Hurry, space is filling up.)
- I RSVP'd that I would attend after juggling childcare/work arrangements.
- Note: no travel arrangements were required for me other than getting me from J&J in New Jersey to Manhattan so I could attend BlogHer Biz.
- I was disinvited because I would have to leave early to attend BlogHer Biz. I was told I needed to be at the event the whole time.
- Since then I've been contacted by bloggers who were told that "it's okay" if they can only attend part of the time and they are attending under those conditions
- I've also been contacted by bloggers saying that they were enticed into attending with first class tickets (which were not offered to everyone).
Who they wanted to invite is their business. How they wanted to do it is their business, too, but their plan should have been iron-clad. If you weren't invited and are hurt, it doesn't feel good and I'm sorry. Let it go—more opportunities will surely come along. It's the way the Mommyblogger world works at the moment.
Erin lists all the reasons why people start blogs, especially mom blogs, and I have to say my reasons were slightly different—and two-fold. Yes, I wanted to connect with people and share my experiences which at the time were about parenting in a urban (city) environment, something I wasn't reading too much about back in the day.
But the second part of why I started a blog (and this is something I've talked about a lot) is as a marketing project (or "experiment" would probably be more accurate.) My background is in marketing and when I started CityMama, I deliberately chose the name and topic, and knew full well that what I was marketing was myself. At the time, there were no ads on blogs or anything like that. That buzz was just starting. In the back of my head, I thought, "I wonder if this is something that will allow me to stay at home with my kid(s)." I imagined raking in money hand over fist all because of my "little engine that could."
As luck would have it I would make a living from blogging in other ways, but the point is this. Because of my knowledge and my background, and because I've managed to carve out a little place in the blogosphere for my blog projects, I'm protective of them. It started as a little "brand" for me and was always meant to be a sort of business, which is why I don't mind accepting ads on my blogs. Just ads. I don't want to plaster my blogs with paid links. I am worth more than getting paid per post. I love writing my blogs, I don't want to turn every word into a potential 10 cents. And yes, I like getting invited to stuff as much as the next person. If I can I will go, but never do I think I need to blog the experience in exchange—and most often I don't. I am there to note the business relationship. Always.
In terms of PR, companies need to learn that their rewards from bloggers come in other—and I think more important—ways. When the experience is pleasant, I remember the product or service and I tell my friends. When I work with excellent PR folks, I remember them, too. So when firms approach me about who is doing it right I am happy to say, "Well, you might want to talk to Laura Tomasetti or Susan Getgood or David Wescott or Paull Young." Or, "I had a great experience with Graco." Or, "Well I think Edelman totally gets it because of hardworking individual contributors like Danielle Wiley." That counts for a lot more than blogging a free sample of dishwashing liquid or a wine and cheese party, doesn't it?