One of the bloggers I follow is Big Fashionista, who was very angry this morning. A clothing company had asked on Twitter for bloggers to work with them. She enquired and found that they were offering bloggers the chance to contribute free copy to the company’s website for which the reward was a link back and a tweet. Asking for something in return for next to nothing is not exactly endearing behaviour. BF’s anger was however directed at the high handed and arrogant way the request was made.
I feel I know some of the bloggers that I read regularly, but really I don’t. I just get a flavour of what they are like from their writing. And likewise I know nothing about this company apart from what was written in the e-mail that BF went on to share. So I don’t imagine for a minute that I have anything much to say about this particular incident. But I have been in meetings with high up people in cosmetic companies and I can report that there are people around making decisions who really have no idea how blogs and bloggers work. Aside from the hilarious ‘it costs a thousand pounds to get a post on a beauty blog’ – spoken with all the authority of someone who had been marketing personal care for decades – misunderstanding is rife.
I remember one occasion when an adverse blog review caused a panic. This was on a free Blogger blogspot blog with all of five entries and no comments. It may well have been read by nobody apart from the marketing department of the company she was slagging off. Another time a flavour was changed because one online reviewer didn’t like it.
One of the things that the company in this case got wrong was insisting on good spelling and grammar. It is a shame there is no Olympic Gold medal in the category of being patronising. Now as it happens, one of the things that always strikes me about beauty blogs is the high standard of the english. As I am not too brilliant in that department myself this something I am not too precious about. But I can just imagine the thought process. ‘If we are going to get a lot of teenage girls writing for us it is going to take ages correcting all their errors.’ Well that is the problem if you base your worldview on the Daily Mail. Speaking as somebody in their fifties I suspect that my cohort came out of school with much lower literacy skills than those prevalent today.
The other thing they got wrong is in assuming that beauty bloggers would be grateful for a chance to get their writing taken seriously by a proper company. They seem to have missed the rather obvious point that beauty bloggers have no trouble at all getting their writing into the public domain. That is in fact their defining feature. If they think they are being exploited they can just say no. As BF has. Decisively.
As I say, I know nothing of this company and they might just be having an off day, or they may have one clueless employee. It could even be that he or she was just too busy to think it through and normally would do a lot better. But for anyone out there reading this who wants to know how to get it right, I suggest reading the post below including the comments. And above all, read some beauty blogs. These are people who love your products. It isn’t so difficult to get them to love you too.