Monday, January 19, 2015

Fire and Rain, Bloggers and Designers, My Take.

I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain

The other day I was checking some of my old links and looking through various designer's profiles and I came across a few that state "We no longer have any use for bloggers."  or "We don't use bloggers anymore." or some permeation of that.

I found that interesting.

The age old complaint is that bloggers ask for product, and then they never blog it.  They just want handouts.  Just because a blogger has never asked for product, or if they have they blogged every item, religiously and brilliantly, is no reason not to treat all bloggers like scum,  just in case.  Just because they haven't offended you "yet," does not mean that they will at some point, given half a chance.

It's an attitude of, "Let's not just go after the guilty, lets get them all.  That way no-one slips through the cracks."

But as for bloggers and the big advantage of having review copies to blog, how do you think we are advantaged by that?  Most bloggers spend as much time doing their blogs as you do designing.  They have to keep on top of what is new, get out there and look around and shop, get their item, style themselves and their friends that might be in the picture with them, spend hours finding poses or props, choose the sim and the lighting.  Not sure how much time has been spent worrying about finding the perfect way to present your design and then to  take a  picture, working on the pic in photoshop and writing up the post and making sure all the links are there.  And then ... most of us . . . can never wear or use that item again because none of us blog the same dress etc twice.  Those copies you supply bloggers with are for the soul purpose of doing a blog on YOUR design.  Advertising YOU.

We do it at our own expense.  It costs us money to blog.  We buy the clothes or the accessories, and the equipment/programmes we use.  We pay the blogging fees for our websites etc.   We clearly do that because we are self serving, users, who are only in this for the freebies and our psychopathic need to  abuse your generosity in supplying some of us, once in awhile, with a review copy which is about 1/10th of our overall blogging expenses.  I bet there is a special place in hell for us.  No, I know there has to be.

But here is something else to consider.  It is the bloggers who spend hours going over the feeds, looking at the mags, attending shows, networking.  These are the people who talk in their groups and on social media, sharing and promoting YOUR work.  Bloggers are often your constant, unknown and unappreciated, best friends, always advocating for you, standing up for you, liking your posts, showing up at your store, creating buzz about your latest creation. 

You benefit from all the bloggers that blog your work whether they got the queenly nod to be "allowed to blog" you or not.  You don't understand how you benefit from the non-english speaking ones, the ones that do not blog every day, the ones whose avatars are not "pretty" enough, the ones whose pics are not up to your standard, the ones who engage in activities you disapprove of, the ones who don't do their eyelashes perfect , the ones who have failed to kiss your ring just the way you like it kissed.  If any of those "types" of people blog anything of yours - YOU benefit ... all those people you made it clear on your profile that piss you off, that you will never speak to and would never qualify to blog for you, have readers that like their work and based on what they blog, come shopping for you.    You still benefit from the advertising that they pay for and let me be clear that THAT advertising is the best advertising you can get.

I can tell you honestly after years of working in Second Life television and magazines that those ads are not the ones that rake in your big monies.  One of the biggest reasons you are a success is because the bloggers blog you and they are often very loyal.  Bloggers are all so different and attract very different followers for all kinds of reasons.  Those followers end up as your customers and they are customers you never would have reached if it were not for the many, varied bloggers who get into nooks and crannies you consider beneath you or you actually had no idea even existed.  These are not people you ever reach when you rely only on your  "prestige" advertising.  Want to know why?  Because the people who read those magazines, and care about the "fashion elite" are pretty much . . .  only the fashion elite.  They are not your biggest customers, nor your biggest fans, and often THEY are the people you wrongly (from a business stand point} provide your review copies to.  They are the people who can afford to buy your designs, but probably never do.  They are the people that can and do wear your freebies, often and repeatedly.

So you may not "have an use for" or "need" bloggers anymore.  And perhaps bloggers should check when they go to put up their blog, what exactly that policy is.  And maybe, if that is your attitude, we should all just not bother to put any details up about the product of yours we are wearing.  Maybe we should just post  the statement "info withheld at request of designer who does not need bloggers."  Justice would be served if only the bloggers you smile upon were to blog you and all the rest of the "unneeded users" stop blogging you at all.

I am not saying that anyone has to give out a single review copy if they choose not to.  I am not suggesting that designers do not have the right to choose who they want to review their items but this attitude that bloggers are scum or that we are your servants and have to jump through a million hoops and you get to hijack our blogs and tells us how we blog, just because you give us review copies of designs, has to stop.  "Thank you for your interest, not accepting new blogger applications at this time."  is polite and loses the attitude.

Dropping a blogger without an explanation is not acceptable.  It is especially rude when you try to avoid their question as to what happened.  Even worse, when you begged that blogger to cover you when no-one else would and you were just beginning and they worked hard putting up dozens upon dozens of posts over a couple of years.  THAT person deserves a thank-you and a brief polite explanation that you are going in a different direction or something - NOT a "your pics are not up to our standards."  It is just a matter of fostering good will among all of us instead of disrespect.

If you do send out items for review then either allow the bloggers to pick which ones, if any, that they feel compliments their style and blog.  Otherwise let them specifically request what they would like to blog.  Everyone used to do that and it actually allowed for some really interesting different blogs.  Great designs stay in stores a long time.  Some of the designers are capable of producing timeless masterpieces that a customer is as thrilled to buy today as others were 3 years ago.   How does anyone know the depth of your talent if you are only ever going to promote what you just made?  There is an untapped market there, if you are smart.

And as to monopolizing all a bloggers time with impossible demands regarding every aspect of how they blog, think about it.  Bloggers style your clothes in new and interesting ways that you might not have considered, opening up new niche's in the market that benefits you.  Usually readers gain a trust with a blogger of the quality level of what they review, so when a blogger has some choice in that presentation, it is powerful.   You maximize your investment with them.  If a blogger only blogs one or two designers, that becomes a  sense of "she works for that designer so of course she is going to blog it" instead of the power behind the sense she choose it because it was worthy of her fashion style.

You are missing out on good business practices based on a false sense that somehow bloggers are trying to take advantage of you and that their efforts are not helpful to you.

So, notice from me.  You decide how this is going to go.  I demand a modicum of respect and decency if you want me to blog your items.  I work from the premise everyone is a gem until they prove otherwise.  But use me, abuse me, and I have no problem holding up a mirror and sharing the reflection of your actions.  I have a new philosophy, if you are going to choose to act, be prepared to stand proudly behind it because I will assume THIS is who you are.  I am not going to be abused and then help you keep your secret that you are an ass.

 And ya, some designers won't be getting any further free advertising from me. 

Not being nasty, just being real.  And hey, the designers who have been absolute gems and I have neglected to appreciate,  will also get added attention from me and recognition that THIS is who they are.  In fact we should all be stepping up that acknowledgment of the many generous, wonderful designers who work an awesome partnership of mutual respect with the bloggers, both those that are on their chosen list and those who are awesomely involved elsewhere.

You're welcome.
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