Blogger Blackmail: What is Good Blogger Etiquette?
Last month saw another coo in the way of blogger blackmail - this time a communication breakdown and dispute between bakery Anges de Sucre and food blogger, Wrap Your Lips Around This. It was all very much a "she said, she said" affair with both parties taking to social media to out one another. However, as far as disastrous collaborations go between bloggers and brands, this is far from an isolated incident. So, what exactly makes good blogger etiquette? Press etiquette is a good place to start. Drawing on our years of experience working within the press and media industry, as well as on the side of brands facing outwards, we present the Good Blogger Etiquette Commandments to keep you in the clear.
Thou Shall Have No Expectations
Regardless of whether a brand approaches a blogger or a blogger approaches a brand, it is good practice to have no expectations whatsoever. Upon entering a conversation, always bear in mind a collaboration may fizzle into nothing - and it doesn't spell out that a brand doesn't think your blog is worth the effort anymore. The world is simply a busy place - and it serves nobody well to burn bridges unnecessarily. Similarly, for brands, it doesn't serve well to hound bloggers that have after initial contact, chosen not to proceed with your offer at the time. Approaching a conversation with no expectations makes for sound blogger etiquette.
Thou Shall Undertake Due Diligence
If approaching a brand for the first time, ensure you have an adequate knowledge of the company. The chances are, if it's a start-up company, they'll have a limited budget, a small team and simply not the expenditure to spend on blogger outreach and collaborative campaigns. Similarly, for brands, when choosing a blogger to work with, undertake the appropriate due diligence - just because a blogger may claim to have thousands of followers, we exist in an age where anybody can buy followers to try to look good. By carrying out the appropriate due diligence, not only are you practising good blogger etiquette, but you are also protecting your brand against uncomplimentary collaborations.
Thou Shall Communicate
Upon entering a mutually beneficial collaboration, ensure that communication is clear from the get go. Don't be afraid to lay down your cards and manage expectations on both sides from the beginning of the project. By doing so, this will avoid embarrassment for both the brand and blogger during the execution of the collaboration.
Thou Shall Refuse Payment For Reviews
In the press industry, many major tabloids make it policy that their journalists cannot accept an interviewee or company paying for their lunch - even if no collaboration has been entered into. The reason for this is that it can potentially sway the outcome of how the company is portrayed much further down the line with that media outlet. Nothing says integrity more than a neutral position on matters. It can be lovely to be treated to a meal or two, but to accept monetary payment to undertake a review directly from the company involved takes a blogger's content into seriously murky waters. Many may disagree, claiming they "need to make a living" from blogging, however this tried and tested method has existed in the press and media for decades and is still today considered best practice. If money is an issue, consider other forms of collaboration or monetisation of your content.
Thou Shall Not Be Entitled
No matter how successful a brand or a blogger may be, this does not translate to automatic entitlement. The reality is that blogging is an equal playing field and just because one blogger may have a massive following does not mean that his or her blog is more valuable or important than the less popular blog with a devoted following. Similarly, this rule can be applied to big scale corporate businesses and SMEs - approach brands with equal importance.
Thou Shall Remember Your Manners
A brand or blogger may have riled you up, but is a personal attack on social media going to do anything positive for your product really? It can be frustrating when a company or blogger throws their toys out of the cot when things don't go their way, however, before you go ahead and "angry-post" that tweet or photo, consider your behaviour and blogger etiquette. Would your Granny be proud? Or would they rather you rose above it?
Good Blogger Etiquette - What are your thoughts?
Blogger etiquette is a hot topic among the community. It seems not a day goes by where a blogger feels cheated or hard done by because of a brand collaboration gone wrong. What do you think makes good blogger etiquette? Have we missed any commandments? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!