Flicking through twitter on the commute home from the office yesterday I was alarmed to notice the hashtag #bloggerblackmail cropping up in a heated debate amongst my friends about the following real life case:
Blogger vs. Bakery: A blogger invited to review a pattiserie was dissatisfied with the goody bag offered. She requested three bags of products worth £100 of retail value, which was refused. She bought some quantity of the product, which she sampled and reviewed unfavourably on instagram and twitter, later deleting those posts. The bakery in question blogged about the experience, coining the eponymous #bloggerblackmail hashtag and criticising the blogger’s ‘not very well known’ and ‘insignificant’ blog. The blogger argued that her time and influence was worth that £100 of product (admittedly, in my mind, true). Basically they both came off looking pretty unprofessional.
And then I came home to a beautiful gift from Lilly & Sid to ‘thank us for our support’ this past season. What support? We bought something that we loved and posted about on twitter. The ‘Zebra Jo’ swimsuit review was one of my most popular posts and I was delighted to have raised awareness about an exciting product, and to see that people had purchased the swimsuit after reading my blog post.
Lilly & Sid’s parcel was such a simple act of kindness and yet it made my day. I was so busy trying this Dragon Dreams jacket on Lysander that I completely forgot about #bloggerblackmail for a bit.
But some time in the middle of the night my brain started whirling and by the morning the two incidents were firmly linked.
As bloggers, we have a lot of influence. We have a wicked social following, we know our SEO and if we’ve been around for a bit, our blogs are widely read. We can do a lot of damage to a brand. Our words have weight.
Brands? They can damage us. PRs talk. Companies talk. A reputation as a ‘blagger’ rather than blogger, as somebody who is negative or unprofessional, it doesn’t stand one in good stead.
Kindness is powerful.
Relationships are valuable.
I’m proud of the brands that I work with. They’re a good bunch. As with any integrous blogger I only work with brands that I know that I can write about positively and honestly, whose values I support and whose products I can promote with enthusiasm. I’m proud that they know me and they like me, that they value my blog and my influence.
That they send us gifts with no expectation, just to say ‘thank you’.
I’m not going to lecture. We all know how to do it right. We all know that tearing a brand apart on our social media makes us look worse than the brand in question.
I’m just going to take a moment to thank the brands with whom I have worked in the past and with whom I will work in the future for knowing my worth and letting me share in your success. Thank you for placing yourself in my hands, for making yourself vulnerable to my reviews, for letting me know you and be a part of promoting you. I’m proud of all of you, too.
(And thank you, Lilly & Sid!)
Disclaimer: Lilly & Sid sent us this beautiful jacket as a gift and with no expectation of promotion or review. It’s beautiful and I love it, and I kind of love Lilly & Sid for getting the brand/blogger relationship so right time and again.