Heather Armstrong (@dooce)
Gabrielle Blair (designmom)
Maggie Mason (@maggie)
Stephanie Smirnov (@ ssmirnov)
Brian Solis says that capturing an audience is artful.
What's the new gold standard of collaboration? (between bloggers and brands)
Heather (@dooce) - taking advertising with Federated Media. Developed community as she was having her second baby and FM went out and looked for brand that could sponsor the launch of this community. Suave stepped up and now 20K members strong. Advertisers are afraid of bloggers because it is so raw and unfiltered. Evolving to we want to be associated with this voice - we are confident enough in our brand that we thing it's ok. Artfulness may be on the line ....
Gabrielle Blair (designmom.com) - content campaigns happen over longer period of time where blogger and brand begin to associate with one another. Experimental and it's a partnership that is pretty good but not perfect. Partnerships will make more and more sense and that will get better. Why is it hard to pair a blogger and a brand that makes sense... funny pairings of popular blogs and not so great fits. VERY FUNNY. For example - she found out she was moving and they didn't have employer to fund the move. She thought she'd be writing about it so she approached a sponsor and she approached moving companies and Mayflower was perfect fit. 1. They were the most visual (designmom) 2. Very wholesome company reputation and Mayflower was well respected by her audience. 3. They made themselves accessible - pr person specific name and email address. 4. Wrote back write away and they were able to move fast. Moving forward we are looking for the right fit.
Maggie Mason (Might Girl .... lots of sites and then shopping site) Campaigns she things is that ads are truly starting to become information because you can target things so specifically with someone who truly understands their audience. We may get to point where advertising isn't annoying.
Microsites - content lives on some other site but idea is that she refers to it from her site. Gap asked her to do interviews with other design bloggers in the design space - they wanted the "born to" message statements to begin. The microsite content is definitely more involved she is looking to develop a better product so that she is directing her readers to good content - clear on that it is an but her readers know the deal.
Next level: she wrote a life list. Wanted to sell a sponsorship to the list and it took a year and a half but a creative sales person had Intel to sponsor a number of items on her life list. She rolled in a Kayak, sent her to Greece.... Intel paid to make her site more interesting. Bloggers can put faces on PR people and recognize that the brands are looking to do something... they are people. She was able to introduce sponsors as people and they are a team.
Brands are not people but brands are trying to act like people. Relate and engage - so this gives them a voice.
Advice to bloggers newer to content campaigns?
Even tiny blogger works with smaller vendors and a great way to experiment. Maggie said she was trying to think of a way to get people to comment. Engaged a small designer and conducted a giveaway and that was a small content campaign but write interesting content and make readers more confident.
Join forces with 4-5 other blogs to create more "oomph" and that becomes part of your job. You are a highly paid copywriter but if it isn't what you want to do it is more difficult to profit. Smaller blogs can offer sidebar gem ads. Blogads engine - sign up and it puts you in a thing people can search and when spaces aren't full you can fill them with attractive things.
Heather says that back in 2005 she was scared to take advertising because of "sell out" mentality. First advertisement was small ad for $400. Have to be passionate about what you are writing - if you aren't it won't work. It is a lot of work. Get involved in communities that you want in your audience. Make a name for yourself in those communities. Build a network - find the people you want to read your site and interact with them.
Suave - owned by Unilever - people want to know how they were bold enough to partner with an authentic voice such as Heather (@dooce). She has a hard time not messing with her hair... her hair is part of her brand. Suave called her and asked if she use Suave -- she said her impression was that it was cheap stuff so they sent it to her and their new thing is that the cheap stuff is just as good as the really expensive shampoos and conditioners. Her audience was who the were targeting.
Last year the talk was all about Life Casting .... Gabrielle is dissing the "Life Casters".
NOW people are saying Blog is landing page, more of hub and so really more of aggregation. People are thinking that long form writing is maybe taking a back seat to this.
Maggie - actual influence of mothers on society - nothing compares to the impact that we have in society. BUT our relative ability to be heard has never come close to reflecting our actual influence. Social Media has grown and we are on trajectory that it is possible that our ability to be heard could equal our influence.
Gabrielle - Somehow - people who don't understand think that internet is fake friends etc. - internet has expanded her understanding of what life could be like. If we can just look at each other - look to blogs for insight on how people turn things around or different things you relate to. Look at each other as an individual point of inspiration.
Heather - Shift is going from brands telling us what our lives should look like to "this is my life" how are you going to fulfill me. It is us saying "how do you fulfill what I need". Women and mothers have power because we are the ones making decisions. Just being involved in social media means you are influential and powerful.
This was the best most informative panel I've ever seen speak. So nice to see that @dooce is a real person, I like her, never read her blog but I think I'll take a peak at it!