Whatever you blog about, chances are you’ve been approached recently by a big brand looking for coverage.
And although I’ve heard about this happening across the city, it isn’t just a Manchester thing – witness the Midlands based mom blogger Linda Jones’ recent Disney-funded trip exclusively for bloggers.
Such a non-press press trip for a major holiday company would have been unthinkable just a few years ago and is a clear example of a shift in marketing strategy that I’ve a feeling we will see more of going forward – afterall what better way to engage with a well-defined target audience than through niche publications such as blogs?
(I have contacted the Disney press office to ask what made them decide to handle the trip in this way and to see how they will gauge its success. Hopefully a comment will be forthcoming.)
It’s an issue that has promoted some interesting conversations in recent weeks about the ethics of taking freebies in return for words. It’s an issue which journalists previously had to deal with – a fine line between product trial and advertorial. (Although, as I’ve posted on here previously, for some reason press trips to exotic locations often seem to skip happily under the radar!)
As there’s no guidelines on these sort of issues (and long may that remain the case), it’s a matter for each individual blogger to develop their own ‘code of conduct’ . I’m regularly asked to try out food products and have developed these rules of engagement;
1. The relationship is fully disclosed in the blog post – the company that has provided the product named plus the fact the product was supplied for free.
2. If I don’t like, think it’s poor, over-priced or whatever – I say so. Just because it’s free, doesn’t buy support or favour.
I’d be interested to hear any thoughts on these, or from any other blogger who has attempted to draw up their own personal code of conduct in these matters.
It’s a topic that’s currently under discussion within the Manchester Bloggers group – join us on Facebook here.
A PR company is hoping to sponsor a future meet up in return for being able to engage directly with bloggers who have a music based audience – isn’t that what used to happen with press briefings for entertainment journos? Changing world indeed!
But proving the tried and trusted inducmenets are still the best in the new world, free alcohol is the offer for bloggers at what is being billed as a “blog launch” for the Cutting Room Experiment happening on Thursday evening at 6-7:30 at the Bay Horse, Manchester. Read more about that inititiative on The Manchizzle blog here.