You know there are times when I think this whole social media rigamarole is getting to be nothing more than a collection of self-righteous puffs. There seems to be an underlying belief that as commentators and opinion writers that we must be above everyone else, that we are purer than everyone else, that we would never sully ourselves with such mundane and dirty things as products.
God forbid that we should even think of taking a second look at that email from a marketer or some product from a really cool company – let alone write about it.
Why is it okay that if we find a product on our own we can holler to the tops of the mountains about it; but the moment it is suggested that a marketing company directed you to the product you are suddenly a slut. Did I suddenly lose the mental ability to make a decision on my own somewhere along the way to damnation?
Did I suddenly grow warts in impolite places and scare away children because I had a company offer to help check out a product that I might really be interested in; or that I know my readers will be interested in.
As John Carson; in an admittedly devil’s advocate type post, wrote today
“You find a product (by yourself), you like it, and so you tell all your friends. Cool. So, on the flip side, if a company searches you out and says ‘try our product, and if you like it, tell all your friends,’ then there’s only one more step there that’s different — the fact that you didn’t ‘find’ the product you liked by yourself, but a company did (by making it, and promoting it onto you). Would you not tell all your friends just to be obstinate, admit defeat that you were marketed to? Even though you may really like the product?”
This was a continuation of a comment he left on a post by SuzeMuse where she was talking about how it is okay to spread the word about a product if you found it but not if a marketer came to you with it
The issue is that word of mouth marketing can’t be forced. If the shampoo company called me up, or sent me an email saying, “Try our shampoo for the ridiculously thick-haired! If you like it, then get on Twitter and tell all your friends!”, I would be much less inclined to spread the word. Why? Because I KNOW I’m being marketed to. And I might lose credibility if someone were to find out that the shampoo company had contacted me, telling me to pass on the good word about their product. (I guess that’s why disclosure is important – but I digress.)
How the hell do you lose credibility? You were presentrd honestly with a product that a company who obviously has taken the time to read your blog so they know about your problem. As long as you aren’t just picking some Viagra ad out of your spam filter what is the frikken problem with any interesting offers that come from companies who have a potentially great product.
I don’t get this insane aversion to the idea of working this way – no one is asking you to be a slut and go after every product that comes your way.
Who are you losing credibility with? There is only one group of people who you have to be worried about – your readers. If you suddenly start pounding them with continual product placement posts trust me you’ll hear about it.
You readers should be your only bellwether in regards to what you write about and besides, suppose you help out even one person because of a good and honest post about a product – isn’t that worth something. Losing credibility among a bunch of better than thou bloggers shouldn’t matter one iota as long as your readers can still respect you in the morning.
As for your blogging peers and their self-rightous attitude about this kind of thing – fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke. Ask them when was the last time they bragged about some book that they had just read and how it had forever changed their life. Isn’t that product placement?
God knows I am forever seeing people going on and on about Seth Godin‘s books and no one is hammering them for product placement postings. What .. books are exempt from this? I don’t think so – writing about a book that your blogging best buddy recommended to you is absolutely no different. You are promoting a product so get off your high horse if the day comes where I write about some laptop or some othe cool item I get pointed to.
There is nothing wrong in my opinion with taking up offers from marketers and companies as long as you are honest with yourself and your readers. They are the ones that count – not a bunch of self-rightous puffs.
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