I’m fresh back from the Type A Parent conference in Asheville, NC. Though the conference is always one of my favorites to attend each year, with top notch content and speakers relevant to serious bloggers, even those of us who aren’t parent bloggers, I’m going to disagree a bit with the monetization power panel that happened on the very last day.
Forgive the run on sentence.
The speakers for this session were David Binkowski of the PR firm Lippe Taylor, Maria Bailey, author and owner of BSM Media, Holly Hamann, co-founder of BlogFrog, and Tonja Deegan, of the PR firm Airfoil. And they were talking about, you guessed it, brands.
With all due respect to the speakers and the conference organizers, I don’t know that brand evangelism is the way to go.
Every time I attend a super monetization session at a mom or parenting blogger conference, it’s always about brands.
- How to pitch to a brand
- How to work with a brand
- How to please a brand
- How brands and bloggers can get along
Is it any wonder mom bloggers are synonymous with swag and product pimping? Here’s the reality: Very few bloggers work with brands, and very few bloggers want to work with brands.
Edited to add: To be fair, there was an entire monetization track featuring useful tips for bloggers. Also, the conference organizers asked this panel to talk about the brand/blogging for pay issue. So, though I still stand by what I posted here, I still feel a “monetization power session should touch on the different ways to monetize, even if the majority of Type A attendees deal with brands every day.
During the session, we were all asked to brainstorm with the other people at our table and discuss creative ways to work with brands. Because, apparently, brands are sick of having bloggers do only product reviews (and people are sick of reading blogs featuring only reviews, but that’s another story for another time). For bloggers to get the big bucks or major swag, they have to think creatively and beyond the review. (And I can’t find fault with that part, really).
So our table brainstormed, and you know what we came up with?
- No one at our table wanted to work with major brands.
- We weren’t interested in receiving swag or product to evangelize a big name.
- We felt going local and having relationships in our local areas, with our local businesses was more meaningful than working with the same few major brands everyone else wanted to work with, but very few would wind up doing.
- We wanted to talk about all the other ways to monetize blogs.
Mind you, I don’t have problems with bloggers who work with brands. I think many of them make a great living and receive some cool perks and good coin in return. However, I don’t like the insinuation that working with brands are the only way bloggers can earn money. If we’re having a “monetization power session” I’m more or less expecting to hear about different aspects of monetization, not just the brand end. Also? Not everyone who works with brands earn money, they earn swag. It’s still taxable, but it doesn’t pay the mortgage, so it’s not quite monetization.
Now, beyond the brand-centric content, the session wasn’t bad at all. One attendee did mention that, despite brand reps and P.R. people telling them otherwise, only the same few top bloggers were able to work with brands and I agreed. Even though we’re told anyone, regardless of blog size, traffic numbers, etc. can work with a brand, I know otherwise. ( If it didn’t matter they wouldn’t ask for traffic numbers right off the bat. And if it didn’t matter they wouldn’t stop answering emails once they learned the size of said traffic.) However, the panel offered useful information for working with brands – if that’s the route you wish to ride. They were knowledgeable and bloggers who want to work with brands walked away with useful information.
What I’d really like to see are more suggestions for other ways to monetize blogs whether selling products, finding advertisers or sponsors, creating courses, ebooks and webinars or something even more outside the box.
Though I wasn’t feeling this panel much, it’s only my own personal view and not indicative of the content at Type -A at all. The sessions I attended were all very well put together and the speakers truly gave of themselves. They were prepared and professional and I walked away from each with the knowledge and resources needed to take blogging to a whole new level. Rick Calvert, CEO and Founder of BlogWorld even said, “we need more sessions like these at BlogWorld.” I especially enjoyed opening keynoter, author Patti Digh, and I will now count myself among her many fans.
Type A Parent is a great conference, and though the exhibits are definitely geared towards parenting bloggers, the content is sure to appeal to all. I recommend you all give it a consideration for both speaking and attending, once next year rolls around.