Blogger Compensation: What’s Right For You?

If your social media team is working with influencers locally, regionally or nationally, it’s likely that the topic of compensation has come up.  As more and more brands work with influencers, the discussions are becoming more tangled.  Some of the questions I’ve heard from PR practitioners at recent conferences go something like this. Should they be paid?  Should you treat them like journalists?  Can you offer unique or custom experiences in exchange for their social output?  What can you require them to do?  What should you be required to do? How do I explain this to my boss? Here are some typical blogger/brand models that we’ve seen and how they might work for brands and bloggers.

The Advertising Model

In this model, bloggers get revenue through paid ad words campaigns or affiliate marketing. Amazon is the best example of this model but there are many popular to bloggers including BlogHer, AdThrive,The Blogger Network and Ad Sense. This story from Elayna Fernandez, The Positive Mom, talks to bloggers specifically about making money from blogs.  Below is  an example of affiliate marketing from Tori Foster Johnson of The SToriBook.

Example of how bloggers use affiliate links and promo codes

 

Sponsor Model

In this type, bloggers (or other influencers) are approached by a brand with a request to create content for a blog post or other social network.  The brand offers a fee based on the request and the exchange is not unlike a freelance writing agreement. It may include deadlines, word count, hashtags or links and may be on the brands’ networks or the individuals or both.  Examples of this type are easy to find and are most popular with consumer products, particularly those appealing to families. Below is a sample of a sponsored post from Colleen Pence at San Antonio Mom Blogs.

Example of a Sponsored Post on a blog

 

Consultant Model

 In this model, bloggers are approaching brands that they are interested in and offering or negotiating a contract or consultation which could include identifying and approaching other influencers and working as a go-between for the brand and the bloggers to a mutual end. Similar to hiring a subject matter expert or celebrity and usually involves a specific timeline or project. Many in this model have media or communications backgrounds so they can be quite sophisticated but others bring only enthusiasm for the project or the brand.

Fam Tour Model

This capitalizes on the brand’s need or requirement to NOT pay for coverage and the bloggers need to develop great content for their networks.  It also plays into the bloggers desire to develop content for growing audiences to build their network. It is dependent on the individual passions of the bloggers and the reputation of the individual brands.  There is also a certain amount of prestige to working with a specific brand. For this model to work, the value proposition needs to be high for the blogger – the brand must offer something great! This model is often used in the hospitality industry and by destination management organizations as it aligns with how they work with travel writers.

Scarcity ModelBadge from a Disney Moms program

The brand in this model creates a competition to create alignment with bloggers and to build attendance. The brand identifies and approaches bloggers but creates a competitive environment to draw in the best candidates.  And the brand often charges a nominal rate to recoup the expenses incurred from hosting them on the trip or experience. These usually have large WOW factors! The SeaWorld of Texas AdventureCon program is in this category and so is the Disney Moms program.

The Passion Model

In this model, the brand or cause reaches out to bloggers based on their personal convictions –bloggers participate because of their personal beliefs. Local causes leverage the fact that bloggers want to contribute in their communities and are vocal when doing so. The project that Step In Communication managed for Cardboard Kids falls in this category.

Using bloggers and other social influencers as part of overall marketing goals is evolving. And there is no ONE way for bloggers and brands to work together. With so many models out there, it’s no wonder that some marketing and PR teams are confused. What models have you seen? How are they working? Share your examples here.

 

Mobilizing My Community to Fight Child Abuse

two-foot high cut out of a child FACT: In 2013, there were 5,846 victims of child abuse in MY COMMUNITY. 10 children died at the hands of their abuser.

FICTION: There’s nothing I can do about this.

When you think of your social media channels, do you ever think of how you can use the networks you’ve built to help your community?  This is an often-overlooked area when it comes to bringing attention to community causes.  This month, I’m using my networks on behalf of ChildSafe. 

ChildSafe and the Burden of Child Abuse

Earlier this year, when I was asked to be a volunteer with ChildSafe and help them advance their cause using a more strategic approach to social media, I had no idea where it would lead. Child Safe provides a range of services for child survivors of abuse and neglect and their protective family members, including forensic interviews, crisis intervention, case management, individual, group and family therapy and even adventure therapy to aid in healing child victims. They work with dozens of organizations in San Antonio but there’s more work to do. Only 1 in 10 cases of abuse is reported, so we need to create an environment to bring the problem to light.

Introducing Cardboard Kids

Cardboard Kids is a new program of ChildSafe, which should bring attention to the problem. 5,846 two-foot-high cardboard cutouts decorated in every way imaginable, will appear around San Antonio on April 3, which is the official start of Child Abuse Awareness Month in our city.  One Cardboard Kid for every case reported last year.

How I am Using My Online  Community

Bloggers from the Coffee Hour Holding their Cardboard KidsFirst, we invited bloggers who participate in a chat group on Facebook to meet the ChildSafe team and hear about Cardboard Kids. We asked them to participate, and dozens have already contributed. We created sample messages on a Google Drive document to make it easy for them to share messages and included important links and hashtags for easy retrieval.

Next, we scheduled a Thunderclap, a tool which combines the power of many voices in a simultaneous message delivery on a designated date and time.  Here’s a picture from our Thunderclap page.  You can add your voice to the “thunder” for our April 3 “clap.”

As our message begins to build momentum, we are seeing traction in many channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  But it’s hard to be everywhere at once, so we’re going to set up some keyword monitoring and we’ve created a Tagboard to collect everything in one place. We have so much more we can do between now and April 3, when we expect people who see these cardboard cutouts all over town will start posting pictures and questions.  We are encouraging citizens to take a picture, tag it #cardboardkidssa and reading about what ChildSafe does.  We have no idea how many tagged photos we expect to see next week, but it should be thousands.

thunderclap march 27There are lots of different ways we could mobilize our community, but this is how it evolved for us. Have you ever used your community for a special cause? Share your ideas in the comments. I’ll be back to share how we did in a couple of weeks.