Fashion Bloggers, Designers, Brands, PR experts, Students and more enthusiasts will be joining from all around the world, including our panelists from Montreal, Toronto and New York.
JUNE TOPIC: The Business of Blogging: To pay or not to pay.
With their ever growing influence and notoriety, you’d think that bloggers have rightfully earned their place as Fashion professionals by now, with nothing more to prove… well, think again.
Turns out, a lot of fashion brands and retailers remain skeptical when it comes to paying bloggers, they question the actual return on investment bloggers could potentially generate, in comparison to traditional magazines and TV ads for instance.
One issue is that bloggers are seen as journalists in more ways than one, which makes certain industry players uncomfortable to pay them for writing about a company.
“We don’t pay journalists. I have the utmost respect for the blogger community, but I don’t have a budget to pay for product placement and the line between what’s advertising and what’s editorial just needs to be clear.” – said Neiman Marcus VP of corporate PR, Gabrielle de Papp
But bloggers see it differently, especially the top tier ones whose blogs generate millions of page views per month. Such impressive traffic numbers are no small feat, so shouldn’t it be fair to pay bloggers?
The good news is that not everyone is against paying bloggers:
“We see bloggers as editors, influencers and entrepreneurs, who reach a very specific and unique audience, and we find great value in working with those who are relevant to our brand, and we are willing to pay fairly for projects.” – said David Duplantis, Coach’s executive vice president of global Web and digital media.
Top tier bloggers can charge $5,000 to $25,000 or more, to work with a brand on projects and longer-term partnerships, a win/win for all parties involved considering the cross-promo and influence to be gained from it.
“Ultimately, everyone in this world is trying to make a buck, and I don’t see why bloggers would be reprimanded for trying to turn hobbies into a business.” – said Man Repeller’s Medine.
So what do you think?
Are brands and retailers right to distance themselves from paying bloggers? Is there something bloggers should do to earn industry recognition? Or should bloggers stick to the “hobby” lane instead?
See what our Panelists have to say and join the conversation LIVE on Twitter @FashionUnfold.
JUSTIN ADLER - works as a Montreal based digital marketing and community management specialist. secondtakemarketing.com
I’m not sure that contemporary fashion bloggers are “journalists” in the strictest sense of the word. Rather, I feel that fashion bloggers are a mix of PR professionals, networkers, publishers, and influencers.
If bloggers curate content to an engaged audience they have cultivated, why not treat them as professionals and compensate them accordingly? I feel that any brand that doesn’t see the equity in fashion bloggers needs to seriously re-examine their stance on the issue.
I feel that a high profile blogger can often provide much better ROI then a print publication. Beyond the obvious benefits of web vs. print, bloggers have a higher equity as they can scale the involvement of a brand from a single post into wider coverage or other fields (such as event marketing).
Often times bloggers are also better able to cater to the needs of a specific brand – rather than offering preset packages – as is often the cases when dealing with larger online magazines. Moreover, in my experience the content that bloggers generate is largely more organic and feels less directly “sales oriented” then their magazine counterparts – which is a huge positive.
All that said, I think many bloggers walk a line between monetizing content creation/curation and simply trying to monetize their reach.
DANIK YOPP - American transplant who began instantly diving into the alleyways o Montrealwith his camera and innate sense of style exhibitionism to create MontrealStreetFashion.com and become the Art Director at DYDH Productions
There is a difference between blogs adding ads to their website and going beyond the scope of an html link. Brands are not only asking for a story but sending samples, providing for parties, and sponsoring online events.
Bloggers now create events, run contests, and influence a whole string of the web savvy generation. In a world that perpetuates life worth through earning potential it should only be the next logical step for a serious blogger to be paid for their services.
I think a problem that most bloggers face is realizing that once you are spending hours a day working on your site that it becomes a job and thus your hard work deserves worth.
Anyone who says it is just a hobby, why should they be charging for their work has never met a handyman, a seamstress, or DJ.I do believe the industry is embracing Bloggers as a legitimate source with a wide span international audience and simply rising in its importance and influence as a medium.
LISA-MARIE PHOENIX – Social Media Maven / Lifestyle Blogger at PhoenixAficionadoMag.com
As both a blogger and a professional marketer, I am an advocate of brands treating bloggers as professionals. But, it is still taboo for someone who loves to blog to be compensated for doing it well.
The main hesitation is due to the fact that blogging is a new medium and brands are still unfamiliar with its ROI and benefits. Not that long ago most social media professionals were justifying themselves into the budgets of brands across America and now, you can’t find a single successful brand that does not leverage a social media power player in some way, shape, or form.
With that being said, I am a firm believer that bloggers should be held accountable to their audience in the same manner as major publications are, by disclosing when messaging is sponsored.
I am in all favor of blogging as a business; however when a blogger is being compensated for select content, that is a form of advertisement and should be disclosed as such as oppose to being published as general editorial content.
In conclusion, the more we shine a light on blogs being a practical advertising and marketing option as well as diminish the line of disparity between editorial and advertising through transparency, the more brands will be receptive to treating bloggers as professionals.
ANDREW LOVESEY – Journalist, Fashion Connoisseur, Social Media Maven AndrewLovesey.com
I feel that bloggers have fought long and hard to be recognized as journalists of their own rich – virtual storytellers and sharers of information. Without the help of bloggers, many brands would not have achieved the status they have today.
Though, the question remains – would bloggers coverage still be as ethical and objective as that of a journalist with a major publication? The answer is no, advertorials are becoming more and more prominent in this digital age. Brands are partnering with internet sensations to push their lines on readers in an indirect way.
Most readers don’t even catch on that they’re reading an advertorial; they often think the blogger simply favours that brand or designer.
So the issue of publishing work for pay arises again, is it fair that brands can partner with writers online when major publications shy away from such practice? Some argue that it isn’t, stressing that partnerships should be based on skill and merit of the designer – not on Louboutins for the front row.
Yet others say partnerships are key in marketing designers’ en mass to a dedicated reader base. I am right in the middle. As a print journalist I naturally favour the nay-sayers, as true journalism is to report objectively and without bribery or bias – yet I wonder, how would anyone get style advice if there weren’t a stern voice to guide them?
TAMARA WALKER is the personality behind the famed lifestyle blog, The Curvy Socialite
Bloggers represent direct connections to potential clients/customers. They also provide innovative ways of introducing products and services to their fans and communities, which can result in new customers or even products improvement.
Therefore, brands, retailers and other professionals shouldn’t overlook bloggers, just because some of them may not be certified marketers, advertisers or PR experts.
Teaming up with celebrities and other influencers is common practice, although they are not experts in advertising and marketing, their notoriety alone justifies the pay, because they carry enough influence with the general public to influence sales.
Bloggers can do quite a bit for brands too. They are real people with opinions share with their audience. And when they love something, they reach out to brands and offer advice on how to get the product in more hands. You pay advertising departments and marketing professionals to do the same thing. So why not pay bloggers as well?
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