Bloggers, Brands and PR Relationships- A New Manifesto

I read a comment on a post the other day from a PR rep in response to a great post written by Lina on Mothers Love Letters on Why We love Mummy Bloggers and why companies are paying attention.

Her comment was in relation to the fact that brands will walk the minute that bloggers start demanding money. Apparently just offering free trips or products should suffice.

I thought I would chime in by writing a blog post outlining my thoughts on this hotly debated topic, no matter what blogging niche you are in. I’m also looking forward to speaking about this topic on a panel for the Digital Parents Unplugged event on September 30.

I love being a travel blogger

I love being a travel blogger

The Current Transitional World of Blogging

We are in quite the transitional period with blogging and working out how we bloggers can create win-win relationships with brands.

Unfortunately a lot of the time,  the working relationship is looked at through the eyes of the known- which is the traditional print media world.

Blogging is a different ball game and so needs to be approached  with a new direction. New ideas need to be considered and blogger/brand relationships created around this new form of publication.

I currently have done several assignments with a PR firm who I love and I think are on the right track to forging these business relationships, but still have a long way to go in terms of monetary compensation.

They offer really amazing assignments like the Malaysian Kitchen Ambassadors programme and the Great Crusade, but no money compensation as it is the done deal with PR relationships.

All these are fantastic and we love doing it, but at the end of the day they don’t pay the bills and keep us running our business so we can continue to provide value.

We get all the PR pitches and get invited to all the launches and events like traditional media do, but we don’t receive any money for it.

Our travel expenses and our daily wage is provided only by us as we are our own publishing house. Traditional media, on the other hand, show up with the security of knowing that their wages will be paid each week, paid due to advertising revenue that their publishing houses receive. In this traditional media world way of thinking is perfectly okay, but the minute a blogger tries to implement these same ways of pulling in revenue, it is not.

The industry needs to start thinking in a new direction, because this fantastic avenue for brands to get their message across will soon dry up if bloggers can’t maintain their business costs and turn a profit. No business ever succeeded by staying in the red.

Bloggers Receiving Monetary Compensation

Since when do we expect that anyone in any niche or business who provides a service or value should not get paid?

Just because we work from home on our computers, many a time with our children in our laps, spewing forth our innermost thoughts and feelings, doesn’t mean we don’t hold value and should not be treated as such.

I think those who believe bloggers should not receive money, instead the free stuff should be enough, are very short sighted and are going to lose out in the long run.

The tide will eventually turn where brands understand that standing behind a blogger that suits their brand’s mission and purpose is indeed a very powerful relationship.

They will realize these very important points.

  • Bloggers have highly engaged audiences and loyal readers
  • They have a voice that their target market can relate to 
  • They are the target market writing for the target market
  • Their operation costs are very low making the investment for marketing dollars extremely low 
  • Bloggers have high klout or influence.
  • Bloggers blog about the real issues to the readers, offering insight, inspiration and information.
  • Bloggers are highly approachable and engage with their audience on a personal and almost daily basis.

Traditional Advertising

Let’s consider traditional TV advertising.

Now how much is the going rate for a 30 second commercial? I honestly cannot say a figure, but my advertising friend who works on massive Hyundai campaigns says it can go into the millions depending.

Millions for a short commercial that most people don’t pay attention to because they are either jumping on the dunny for quick relief, hopping outside for a quick smoke, or ducking into the kitchen for a quick snack.

If they are paying attention, usually it is with cynical scorn as we’ve all heard the hard sell a million times before.

Not to mention that that Bundy Rum ad might just be being shown to a bunch of teetotallers or beer loving connoisseurs.

Same goes with traditional print advertising. A quick flick through the paper or magazine and it gets thrown in the bin. Never to be seen again.

The circulation numbers provided by traditional advertising methods are never a real perfect measure of how many people are actually reading the articles, or paying attention to the ads, or are part of your target market. The feedback given by the readers or viewers are very few and far between as there is no way for immediate response in the form of comments or social interaction.

The World Of Blogging in Comparison

Are you going to listen to a traditional form or media advertising or are you going to listen to that friend of yours who writes every day on topics that are relevant to your life?

They are the bloggers that make you laugh, or cry, and who understand everything you are going through, the challenges you face, the jubilation you feel, and the solutions you need to make your life more enjoyable. They are the people who most of the time have you saying,

“Oh my God, I could have written this post myself. I am so glad someone else gets how I feel or understands how I think.”

Unlike the newspapers and magazines that get thrown in the bin, our blog posts, often written daily, are indexed by Google and have a permanent shelf life.

While our readership and traffic numbers can never be a perfect measure like traditional advertising, the level of engagement on our blogs, social media channels and the buzz that comes through on other blogs about individual blogging brands can be instantly measured.

How this Blogging Thing Works

All the bloggers out there, put your hand up if you can safely say that your operation costs for the entire year, not for 30 seconds, would be less than, let’s say conservatively, $100,000?

Hell yeah.

And what could you do in that year?

One blog post? One tweet? One 30 second You Tube video? or 20 minute podcast?

Or could you publish daily about the things that are relevant and true to your audience and interact and engage in your social media communities several times in a day?

Not to mention the other bloggers you have contact with and perhaps influence, who will allow you to write on their site, link back to yours, and are more than happy to socially promote you.

So this is where brands and PR firms need to get smart and up to date with this thing called blogging so they can discover ways they can get their brand’s message heard through a trusted and reliable voice.

Who does understand how this thing works?

The bloggers.

Most of who also really understand social media. I mean they are the ones that have the high profile, a lot of the time achieved via social media methods.

They are the ones who are writing the content that are getting the people talking.

They are the ones that are relevant and real.

So then why aren’t the brands talking to the bloggers about how they can work together in this new publication world? Why are they going through the PR firms who don’t quite get it either?

Instead they think in traditional media forms and they say that if we pay the bloggers money then it no longer becomes a true and authentic representation of the product; as if that exchange of money somehow makes the blogger dirty who will say anything for a buck.

Let’s get real here.

Is this what we say about PR firms who get large sums of money from brands to get campaigns running?

or TV channels whose main form of income is advertising?

or celebrities who are a favourite for brands to use to endorse their products?

Bloggers have far more at stake than journalists writing for a magazine.

They are their brand, they are their business. They have to stay true to it. They have to be authentic in their recommendations and their voice, otherwise they are out of business.

There is no way I would say anything just to make a buck and jeopardize everything I work hard for. Bloggers have a personal relationship with their readers, they value them and want to provide them with value and the truth. I wouldn’t take on a project unless I thought it could provide my readers with something  positive and valuable.

Let’s think about celebrity endorsement.

Isn’t this what brands have been doing for years?

Do you think Nike said to Micheal Jordan,

“Hey you are the best at what you do. People follow you, they follow your story, They love what you have to say, they listen to you, they idolize you. We are going to give you a free pair of shoes and a sweat shirt and then we want you to talk about them on TV for us, but we won’t pay you. We’ll give you  free food and drink, but that is about it. Because if we pay you then it doesn’t become a real endorsement”

Hell no.

They pay millions for someone like MJ to represent their brand as they understand the power someone like this holds.

While few of us bloggers can say we have reach like MJ does, we can definitely say we have voices that others are listening to. Those others are the brand’s target market.

But what makes bloggers somewhat more powerful than celebrity endorsements is the fact that we are more real to those who follow us and we are more accessible.

For example, Miranda Kerr was just hired by Qantas to attend the Great Crusade launch in Auckland. She smashed a bottle over a van, got a bit of TV time and said a few quotes in the paper.

I’m sure she was paid quite a large appearance fee (but do not know this to be fact, she could have done it for free)  Apparently this is okay, but if was a blogger then they have cheapened the brand.

Now on the other hand, Craig has been asked to go on the tour in order to highlight NZ as a destination. (While he has not been paid an appearance fee he has been given a pretty cool opportunity and free product which we are stoked about)

Who has the more engaged target market?

Am I going to listen to Miranda Kerr if I want to go to NZ for travel in any shape or form? Is she really going to move me to fly Qantas and be interested in their brand?

Or am I going to listen to Craig, an expert traveller, someone who is clearly passionate about travel and sharing information on travel,  someone who writes daily about travel and all things related to it?

Someone who understands what I am going through when I am trying to plan a trip, decide where to go, and deal with challenges as they arrive.

Someone who knows how to make travel affordable, can recommend to me the best places to visit, stay, what to eat, how I can get to know the local culture etc.

Sure, I might idolize Miranda Kerr for a moment, but really she is not real or relevant to me. Craig and his story is and it provides the information and inspiration that I need as a traveller making travel related decisions and looking for brands and products to help provide those solutions for me.

Not only that, but I can contact Craig.

Do you think Miranda Kerr will answer my email? Will she respond to my comment on a blog post? Will she call me by my name and say how can I help you?

Will she engage with me on twitter ?
Will she make me laugh on facebook and provide me with a community of like minded travellers?

Who really has the more power here?

So what are we talking about then in terms of brand/blogger relationships?

Should we be getting paid to write sponsored posts? Are we really then changing our content from editorial to advertorial if we do?

Or can we take the money, remain true to our brand and message and present the information in an authentic and honest way?  So if we don’t like it we say so.

New world, new way of thinking.

I like to think out of the box. The box of the status quo is too limiting and rigid. Out of the box is freer and more creative.

Think of Jerry Maguire. He challenged the Status Quo. He realized the old way was not working anymore. He took a risk and believed in his new manifesto, taking only one other person who believed in him with him. It worked out in the end that challenging the status quo and moving in new directions when the time calls for it can only bring about big rewards for those who are brave enough to do it.

Sure there is risk, but so is a 30 second TV commercial that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and may bring about nothing.

Instead of just paying a blogger, or many bloggers, a few hundred bucks here and there to write a post about the brand’s product, or sending them a press release, free product or free trip in the hopes they will write about it, why don’t we think of different win-win relationships?

Why don’t we think in terms of celebrity endorsement, but blogger sponsorship?

You could sponsor a blogger for a year for far far less than you could for a TV or print ad and get far more coverage.

A brand can pay for a blogger’s total operation costs, plus the value of their brand and voice, just like NIKE does with MJ.

Of course brands don’t have to pay that much, but I’ll certainly take it 🙂

How can Blogger Sponsorship Work?

Instead of the blogger accepting sponsored posts, flashing javascript ads in the sidebar, and text links scattered throughout their site and annoying their readers, they can instead have one or two major sponsors.

And those major sponsors will be the only ads on the site, tastefully done, not competing with anyone else and not annoying the readers, as the readers would have already been informed,

“Hey we have a sponsor for our blog. We have this sponsor in order to provide us the finances so we can continue to provide you the stories, the inspirations and information that you come here for everyday.

Here’s the thing with our sponsor. We have not just chosen anyone. We have chosen a company/brand that is totally in alignment with who we are and what we stand for (and before you go saying people will abuse this, think carefully- their readers will know if they are not being authentic. They have been following their voice and story for months)

Nothing will change with what I write. Everything will go on the same, I may just mention my brand in a few posts and you’ll see a few ads and a few creative campaigns that we have worked together in a win-win-win way.

I’ll still be me. I’ll just have a backing.

I believe in the brand, I trust in it. I think they can provide you what you need, and I’m happy to back them and they me.”

Finding the Perfect Fit and Making it Win Win

When we found out about our Qantas deal we jumped all over it. Not just because of the opportunity it presented to us, but because we love Qantas.

We found that it was a perfect fit for our brand as we were for them. In that regards we are so happy to work with them and promote them.

We are frequent fliers of them, they are an Australian company, they are passionate about sports like we are and of course travel. The Great Crusade was in alignment with our Ultimate Travel Adventure.

Qantas was the first flight I ever took and have flown with them many times since. Honestly there are few airlines I have flown that have given me as much of an enjoyable experience. Perfect brand fit.

IThe ideas of how brands/bloggers can work together in this way are not limited to a few posts, links and ads, there are a million ways you can sit down together and come up with win-win campaigns and strategies that align with what you do and that can provide value to your readers.

When Craig and I first found out he was going on the Great Crusade, we immediately wrote down a whole list of possible ways we could make this a win-win relationship with Qantas and with our readers.

We had a ton of ideas of things we could do to help promote each other. Our ideas are good.


Because we know what we are doing. We are experts.

We understand blogging, we understand social media, we understand TRAVEL.

We know what works, we know what our target market wants, as we are the target market and have been for over 14 years. We’ve been hanging with the market for all this time.

We eat, sleep and breathe the market, we are down on the ground with the market.

Brands need to start thinking of bloggers as, not just mum and dad writers online, but as business men and women who can really provide value to their brand exposure.

In order for this to work well for brands and bloggers alike, both parties really need to do their homework to ensure they find the perfect fit for a sponsorship match.

Never sell yourself out by going with a company that does not suit who you are and your message. This is not what this new way of being should be about.

Don’t work with companies you can’t truly stand behind and say you love and whose products or services you use and would happily recommend for free.

Brands must make sure they do their homework as well. Research those bloggers who suit your brand’s message and purpose.

It is better for brands to have one/two high profile bloggers who will represent the brand well than trying to give free stuff to many bloggers in the hopes they will give free coverage. Many of which are tired of bring expected to work for nothing and so probably won’t or won’t do the best job.

How Can PR Firms be Involved?

Is there a need then for PR firms to be involved?
I think this new way can definitely involve them and it can be made win-win-win. But they have to change their thinking and approach.

PR’s have the contacts and very marketable ideas.

Everyone needs a good PR rep to take care of those things they are experts in that bloggers may not be.

The more potential relationships are viewed in this way the more benefits everyone will receive.

The Way Forward

This is what I see as the way forward for bloggers to work with brands. It is smart, clever and can be easily molded to suit the changing publication and marketing environment.

This is definitely what Craig and I have been working towards on our blog. As you can tell by the absence of ads on the site and the building of our personal brand and platform.

We don’t want to have to rely on flashy ads and text links for revenue. We feel we are far more valuable than this and that we can offer something great to our readers in working in closer sponsorship with big brands we like and trust.

With the backing of brand in this way, we can continue to travel, doing what we love and providing information and inspiration to our readers, which is why they hang out with us a lot.

We don’t want to have to fade away and stop providing this value to our community because brands continue to want us to work for nothing, and life just doesn’t allow you to survive in that way.

What are your thoughts on how bloggers and brands can work together?

btw..thanks for sticking through the post with me, I know it was a long one 🙂

posted in: Blogging, Daily Life
tagged with: , , , ,

  • Nikki @ Styling You

    Wow, Caz! Incredible post. Fantastic points and great arguments. Looking forward to hearing you speak at Problogger’s Training Day!


    • Caz

      Thanks Nikki. I’m looking forward to that day too. I’m sure we’ll all learn so much from each other.


  • Vanessa Monaghan

    Caz, this is an amazing post. Your expertise and professional attitude really shines through. I too am really looking forward to meeting you and hearing you speak at ProBlogger. We head off to the UK on Saturday and I’ve been saving your podcasts up to listen to on the plane 🙂


    • Caz

      Thank you Vanessa. I really appreciate that. Have a wonderful time in the UK. I’m jealous. Hope you enjoy the podcasts and they don’t put you to sleep 🙂


  • Penny

    Thanks so much Caz. You’ve made me look at blogging and sponsership in a whole new light. It may have been a long post but you held me until the end with such great information and insight.


    • Caz

      I’m so glad you made it through to the end Penny. I just have too much to say on this topic sometimes. So happy that you can now see other opportunities that exist with your blogging


  • Kelly Exeter

    Caz I can only imagine how long this too to write – but fantastically amazing work!! You have absolutely nailed it.


    • Caz

      Very long. But I have been thinking these thoughts for a long time so it didn’t take days to write it down at least 🙂


  • Dorothy

    OMG! What an awesome post! You’ve obviously been in my head? This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about, but whenever I mention it to anyone I just get lots of “you gotta be kidding?” You are so right, people will trust what a blogger has to say a lot more than a celebrity.

    Thank you so much for writing this, because now I don’t have to. Instead I am linking to it in tomorrow’s post….


  • wanderingeducators

    SMART!! great talking points – this is definitely a must-read for the travel blogging community.


  • Wanderlust

    Caz, love this! You present a really compelling argument, one of the best I’ve read yet. And you consider it from all angles. This sort of sponsorship (for a full year) has been happening in America for a while. I hope Aussie and UK companies come on board with it soon.


    • Caz

      Thanks so much. I hope Australia catches up with the US soon. They are still way behind with internet connection so it may take us awhile 🙂


  • Chelsea C.

    Wow — thanks for this. A friend sent a link to your post, and it’s an eye-opener. I think the great thing is that most (if not all) bloggers probably agree, and would love for the brand-blogger relationship to be this way! The trick of the matter may be getting brands to see things in the same light. Maybe something that has to change bit by bit, as the public sees brands like Quantas investing in a meaningful way with blogs like yours.
    Great post!


    • Caz

      Thanks for stopping by Chelsea and to your friend for passing on the link. Hopefully if all the bloggers start moving in this direction the brands will start listening. They’ll have to


  • kristineswisher

    Fantastic article! This is always quite the debate and I am so glad you wrote this compelling argument. Thank you for re-assuring all of us that what we are working for is right. All the best!


    • Caz

      Keep on working towards it Kristine. IT is so right 🙂


  • Vera Marie Badertscher

    Saw the link on twitter, and I’m so glad I took the time to read this. I just hope that all the people on my twitter PR list will read it, too. Bloggers will agree that we need new thinking, but getting companies to think about it is a different matter.


    • Caz

      I’m glad you took the time to read it too 🙂 and thank you I know it was a long one. I hope PR and brands pay attention as this has to be a really promising way forward for everyone.


  • Andrea

    Excellent post, Caz! I’ve been on both the traditional media side, where brands fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars (and more) on a campaign with traditional media and also the new media side of things, where exposure is expected to come dirt cheap. Advertising agencies (at least the last few meetings I had in Australia) don’t want to bother with online/social media/blog spending because they haven’t perfected a way to quantify it and can’t bill their clients as a result (if ever a business runs lean it’s an advertising agency). I don’t know the PR agency business model but I can only imagine they have the task of making the most of the budget that isn’t spent on print and television promotion. I was interested to read Wanderlust’s comment that the States is on board. My experience with Australia is that the agencies are behind the US – perhaps more research into the effectiveness of these campaigns in the States is in order. I do hope it changes!


    • Caz

      Great points here Andrea, good to hear your experience from both sides. Interesting, but I was talking with Andrew MCEVoy today, the CEO of Tourism Australia and he was talking how the latest Oprah campaign, that they spent six million on, they are finding hard to quantify. Give me that money and I’ll quantify it for you 🙂


      • Andrea

        I’m not surprised – for something like that they would have to insert a way to measure into the campaign…having viewers sign up for a newsletter or Facebook page or something I would think. I’d be interested to know the politics behind THAT pairing. Did Oprah approach Australia or vice-versa?


        • Caz

          Tourism Australia approached Oprah. She always wanted to come out here so saw it as the perfect partnership


  • Lisa Wood

    I have been hearing about Branding and bloggers but didnt realise how much influence that bloggers with companies listening to us! I love my blogs, and would love to know more about what type of companies to approach.
    I am so looking forward to the ProBlogger event next month in Melbourne – are you standing on stage at that event? That will be so cool!



    • Caz

      Yes Lisa We will be there and standing on the stage. I hope, if I don’t fall down from nerves.:) Find those companies that you think suit your brand and message. Start thinking of them now and make a list of all those companies you would be happy to support


  • Mrs Woog

    Nothing to add. Excellent post xx


  • Lina@MothersLoveLetters

    YAY YAY YAY!!!
    I am so friggin excited that someone so intelligent, professional, authentic and god-damn FEARLESS, has the guts to say it like it is.

    You made so many amazingly, thorough, thougtful points, that it will take a whole blog post to respond properly (I can see why you wrote a whole post!).

    I love you nailing it – as an opportunity and need – to have a NEW WAY of thinking and doing things.

    Let’s face it, traditional media are shitting themselves – just like other industries before them did. And so they should. FOR TOO LONG, a handful of wealthy media tycoons controlled information and wealth creation from the dissemination of limited information.

    The world is changing at rapid pace. While some fear the changes, there are others who can literally feel the positive, powerful, energy and the DEMAND for something new, real and more equitable.



    • Caz

      Thank you Lina You are so lovely and thank you for the post that inspired me to finally write what I have been thinking for so long. I love Evolution 🙂


  • jen

    I like the idea of brands working directly with bloggers without the middleman so long as it’s all upfront and transparent. And I agree that companies need to get out of the mindset that bloggers and their blogs are just a cheap way to flog products. It’s turning into more of a business therefore has to progress.


    • Caz

      Bloggers work so hard, which is not really noticed from the outside. We deserve to be fully compensated especially when we have an influential platform. And it can still be upfront and transparent and make it a win for everyone.


  • Nancy from Family on Bikes

    Brilliant post! I was just talking today about bloggers and corporations needing to work together. We were in agreement that it’s a win/win situation, but it’s also so hard to figure out how to approach it as all bloggers are so different.


    • Caz

      I think when each blogger finds a brand match they should sit down together and work out how they can make it win win for each other depending on the blogs message and purpose etc.


  • Mom-Friday

    Thank you for this very enlightening and insightful post. I totally agree with you and hope in our side of the globe, we can look forward to some developments in social media practices and blogging.


    • Caz

      You are welcome. It is an exciting time for bloggers as many opportunities will be opening up like this soon. Definitely headed that way


  • Jason Castellani

    Excellent job Caz, now if we can only get the PR and marketing companies out there to listen. The future is bright for us, it’s just a matter of how long it takes and how long we can hold on before we are recognized as legitimate media publishers. Thanks for being a voice.


    • Caz

      That is our challenge. They have to start listening soon and it is a really good time to be involved in blogging, I think the changes will be coming, and I’ll keep pushing for them.


    • Caz

      Fingers crossed


  • rohan

    This was spot on. Really enjoying this Caz. I’m sharing this with the network of DC bloggers that I started to specifically address the PR/Blog relationship. I get PR pitches daily for my DC blog and I’m at the point now where unless it’s a non-profit, I’m extremely wary of requests. If you’re a PR firm contacting me on behalf of a for-profit firm (Which means you’re getting paid in $), I’d rather not be compensated in tshirts please or drinks please.

    And Thanks.

    It’s time for real change.


    • Caz

      Thanks Rohan I appreciate it. The daily PR pitches can be annoying. Sometimes a great opportunity comes from it but most of the time its just rubbish. Money is what is going to keep us in operation and giving the platform that these brands need.


  • Veggie Mama

    What an incredibly well-written, well-thought-out, interesting post. Excellent ideas excellently argued. It’s such a new and transitional time for all of us, that it helps to have someone articulate the benefits of such a relationship in this way. As a journalist, I totally understand the way PR reps think, because I’ve had to deal with them in traditional media before. But as a blogger, who understands the influence we hold in the online world, I can see such advantages for them to be flexible and work with us. And you’re so right… we’re a whole lot cheaper than traditional media and we are smack bang in the middle of their target audience. The future of this for both sides is enormous. Thanks for sharing.


    • Caz

      You are welcome, thanks for leaving your thoughts. It is great to hear that someone from the journalist world sees the same potential and benefits in working with PR in a different way like this. Gives me even more hope


  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler

    Awesome post! I love your points about the possibility of bloggers being sponsored by one or two big brands who they really trust.


    • Caz

      Thanks Christy. Here’s to making it happen and having brands see the potential


  • Brooke vs. the World

    Finally got around to reading this post and it was exactly what I was talking about last Friday 😉 I love getting free stuff, but it’s not paying the bills, and then I’m forced to sell ads — which makes me feel cheap. argh. Sponsorship just makes so much sense. Great write up Caz!


    • Caz

      That’s write mate we need money to pay the bills or else we go out of business and our much needed platform disappears. Time for a new way of thinking


  • Techloban

    Great article! It gets the bloggers’ point across on different levels. I’m a blogger (and former journalist) based in another country, but I can totally relate.

    You’ve got a new fan! Cheers!


    • Caz

      Thanks so much for visiting and enjoying the post. It is always so great to hear the former journalists agree about this blogging platform


  • Scott Hepburn

    Nice job on a very thoughtful post, Caz.

    I’d love to see more discussion on how PR firms can be involved. On the one hand, I understand the blogger perspective, in large part because I AM a blogger. I know how much work goes into maintaining a blog. I know that the work-income ratio is out of balance. And I know how valuable a blog can be to a brand.

    For those reasons, I keep an open mind about compensating bloggers.

    On the other hand, I understand brands’ perspectives. As someone who provides PR and marketing services to brands (where does PR end and marketing begin?), I know brands are trying to achieve maximum impact while controlling costs. I know many brands are open to paying bloggers — but not all bloggers. Money is still a limited resource. And I also know no matter how open brands are to paying bloggers, the bottom line always acts as an incentive to pursue unpaid publicity.

    Which brings me to the PR firm. Obviously, when you pay a PR firm, that’s a cost. Paying a blogger is a cost. It might be cheaper to pay the blogger directly. But there may be reasons that’s not always the best strategy. And, regardless of strategy, the result is the PR firm is the middle man who gets cut.

    But as you said, this seems like a good discussion for PR to be part of. PR pros understand storytelling. They understand people and relationship-building. In those regards, good PR pros have a lot in common with good bloggers. It seems like PR should be at the table. But in what capacity? If the blogger’s biggest pain point is money, what could a PR firm bring to the table?

    I just KNOW there’s potential for more than a mere “transactional” relationship here. Any ideas?


    • Caz

      It’s difficult to find a way to best use PR’ in the whole process. They could definitely be cut out as brands could work directly with the bloggers. PR’s do have good ideas though and great contacts. I think the PR”s would have to take a cut in the amount of money they receive and transfer that over to the bloggers. I think they only need to choose one or two really great bloggers who fit the brand and work with them instead of trying to get hundreds of bloggers do something for free. Quality verse quantity.
      the good thing is that more and more PR/bloggers and brands are sitting down to talk to see how we can best make it work.


  • karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    Great post! We’ve been struggling with this very same disonnect (paying old media in the form of ads = good; paying new media in the form of cash support for targetted content = bad) since we began planning our Trans-Americas Journey back in 2004. Since hitting the road in 2006 we have attracted an impressive list of what we call Product Partners–top shelf, hand selected companies who have provided product or services (tires, after-market truck upgrades, sunscreen, guidebooks, luggage, etc) necessary to keep our 200,000 mile working road trip through North, Central and South America going.

    We are grateful to every single one of our Product Partners, but we still rely on our freelance work for traditional magazines and newspapers to generate cash. Darned if we know why…


    • Caz

      I know. I hope it will soon change. I think companies have to look more to this sort of a partnership, especially with the current GFC and the need to find cheaper marketing opportunities


  • Sam

    What a great post Caz, you have really nailed it on the head.

    I also found the comments about Oprah very interesting, it is so much money to spend on one person for a tourism campaign especially when Americans are travelling less and a large proportion of her viewing demographic are in the lower income threshold and for them Australia is not an affordable holiday destination.

    I think that arguments you have set out really show how bloggers can target such a wide, varied and diverse audience that are just waiting to be tapped into. Let hope the industry realises this soon too – how many bloggers (and thus how many more viewers, ones who are ALREADY interested in travel) could advertisers reach with that 6 million dollars!


    • Caz

      Thanks Sam. If only the advertisers got it. Can you imagine the advertising they would get for lengthy periods of time with one blogger with the price of a television commercial


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