Q&A With Daddy Blogger JackB

Here’s a Q&A with a newish member in my community, TheJackB. And, dang if I could find Jack’s last name to properly introduce his content below. I looked high and low on his blog and elsewhere on his pages; to no avail. So, you can call him The Jack (because apparently there was another Jack B, and this Jack B wanted to be THE, as in HRH Jack B. Uh-huh, you get my drift.

This piece below from THE Jack B stemmed from his comment on my post this week about Mommy Bloggers versus Mompreneurs. Jack wrote about his work as a Daddy Blogger and the work he’s gotten from some major brands. So, I spouted off a few questions, and here’s what Jack has to say. Neat experience; impressive. Thanks for playing, Jack!

Soulati: How did you get involved in parent blogging?

I would almost call it serendipity. I began my blogging career in 2004 on a whim. In the midst of my foray into posts that were generally foolish and insignificant my father had a major heart attack and ended up on life support.

It was a very scary time for me. I had a young son and a pregnant wife and was suddenly responsible for taking care of three grandparents. I felt like I had to be strong for everyone so the blog became my confidant. It was where I let my guard down and shared my fear.

In the midst of this I thought that it might be interesting to chronicle some of the things that my son did and the discussions we had.  I don’t think that I began to call myself a dad blogger until several years later. I was just a blogger who wrote his kids and parenting.

The ads on blogs have been around for as long as I can remember but the reviews/giveaways probably didn’t start until around 2006. Or at least that is about the time that I first remember hearing/seeing them.

Soulati: How’s the barrier to entry for dads?

There is a very low barrier to entry for bloggers in general. All you need is a computer and an internet connection and you can start blogging. It is part of the reason why the blogosphere is saturated with blogs, most of which die within 90 days.

Soulati: Do you have someone represent you to find opportunities?

No. I don’t have anyone whose job it is to do so. All of the work that I have done is either through referrals or because the brand/agency contacted me. For a long time I intentionally avoided getting involved in all of this.

Eventually I decided that since I love to write it might be worth trying to figure out how to monetize my blog so I opened myself up to the possibilities.

Soulati: Tell me about your experiences with PR people working on blogger outreach.

It is mixed. I have received a lot of pitches addressed to Dear Webmaster or Dear Mommy Blogger that I sort of roll my eyes at as it usually indicates that I got copied on a mass email.

I don’t automatically discard those emails the way that some bloggers do because if you don’t read the pitch you don’t know what sort of opportunity is being pitched. What bothers me is when I receive something that isn’t appropriate for my readers and doesn’t offer appropriate compensation for the work they are asking me to do.

Overall I would say that my experience is positive. Most people are pleasant to deal with and responsive to my questions. It is like anything else, sometimes you run into jerks.

Soulati: You’ve mentioned you’ve seen some pretty negative situations. What is the solution, Jack? What must happen for a cohesive working relationship from PR to blogger? From corporate marketing to blogger? From blogger to corporate marketing?

I suspect that many of the negative situations stem from misunderstandings between the two sides. Let’s start with the bloggers.

Many bloggers have unrealistic view of what their blog is worth and consequently are irritated when they aren’t offered appropriate compensation.

They would be well served to learn more about PR and advertising. If they had a better understanding about what the agency/brands are trying to accomplish it would help them. It is not hard to create a basic media kit, an ‘about me’ page, disclosure policy etc.

Another issue that has been created is the saturation of the blogosphere and the number of bloggers who negotiate and I use that term loosely ‘bad deals.’ Why would you work for 15 hours for the chance to give away a $10 gift card to company XYZ.

I suppose that you argue that the agency isn’t culpable and bears no responsibility for this happening but I think that is short sighted. Even though it is an inexpensive way to try and promote your client you are not building a good relationship with the blogger. It is just cheap labor that you are going to burn out.

Savvier blogger and agency reps will work together to build programs that add value for both parties. If you create more of a partnership between the two sides I think you will see better results.

Maybe I am the oddball here, I don’t know. But I spent a lot of years selling space, most of it for online publications so I always want to know details about the campaigns. I want to know if they are building awareness or engaging in lead generation.

That experience also taught me how much money the brands have to spend on their marketing/PR efforts. But even if it hadn’t all you have to do is look around and see what the brands are doing and it is hard not to want to try and grab a bigger piece of that.

I am not the only blogger who is cognizant of this which is why so many are pushing for compensation in dollars instead of just products/services.

On the brand/agency side they need to understand that it is not an unreasonable request. There are times when it is makes sense to pay bloggers in the aforementioned goods and services but it shouldn’t be the only way.

One of my pet peeves is being told that they’ll also provide a link back to my blog. Let me qualify that, if that link has real value and I believe that it will provide good exposure than there is merit in using it.

But if I ask you for demographics about the link I think that I am entitled to them. It really boils down to treating establishing a professional relationship between the two parties.

 

17 comments
Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

JackB on the hot seat answering the questions from Jayme.

It's interesting to see the potential money side of this world, but like you say "all it takes is a computer and internet connection". Most blogs are not sustainable and I've seen several already go by the wayside. I don't plan on being a 'one hit' wonder but I imagine my blog will eventually evolve into something somewhat different than just being a 'general' blog.

It was good to see Jack out and about because I know Mr Jack has many layers and we've only seen the surface.

Hope all is well for both of you.

Marianne Worley
Marianne Worley

Hi Jayme,
I've been reading your blog for awhile, but this is my first comment. Thanks for sharing this interview. I'm a regular over at Jack's place, so it's nice to see him here too. One thing I have to tell you: Jack isn't hiding. Sure you might not see his full name or glamour shot, but if you go back to earlier posts and read forward in time, you'll find that you know exactly who he is. It's all there, in those words. Or at least, that's how it was for me. :-)

Life, for instance
Life, for instance

Hey Jack, (Hi Soulati)
I learn a little bit more about you all the time. WHAT a rough time you went through seven years ago. I hope things are better now :o
I'm impressed with the way you're monetizing your writing ability. It sounds like you've got a good command of this field.  
90% of blogs die within 90 days and you've been around since 2004! Impressed again! (and Yay! It's been over 90 days and I'm still here!)
Happy Wednesday Guys!
Lori

Soulati
Soulati

I just need to say...for a guy who's out there, that means here, you do a bang up job of hiding yourself -- no last name, no face time on the avatars, no mug shot of you and your kidlets. And, who knows if that photo you provided me for this piece is really you? Didn't you say you have two sons? Or, maybe one is a girl? At any rate, I'm not complaining...or maybe I am...thanks for this and you!

The JackB
The JackB

If you can sustain your effort for a period of time you can gain a lot of traction and turn that into opportunity. How is that for blog speak.

Soulati
Soulati

I understand from many of The Jack's community that he has much to offer us in wisdom, experience, parenting and plain old chutzpah. Thanks for coming; now where are the links to your stuff? How come I never see them so I can swoop in?

Soulati
Soulati

I'm so happy you spoke up to set me straight, Marianne! Thank you for reading here, and I'm delighted that this post prompted your surfacing. That means I need to do more of this; I also enjoyed it as an escape from the mundane!

Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

And I read one of his 2004 posts, pretty darn good.

The JackB
The JackB

Hi Lori,

I just lived life like everyone else. We all have our challenges and do our best handle them. Blogging just happened to be one of the ways that I have confronted mine. If you love what you are doing you keep doing it. Most of the time I love it.

Looks to me like you are doing quite well with it too. Keep it up, I enjoy visiting.

Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

I just show up and I'm always dragging that tired ol' link with me; I don't know why it doesn't show up. Probably how I'm able to stay invisible....

Soulati
Soulati

Me no likey. You're pulling my leg.

Soulati
Soulati

I was just catching up over at Lori's and saw your work out routine and screaming manifesto. I'd say cursing in any language is good for you. And, I'll offer it up here (like I did there; I have a phone, I have two ears and compassion. Please pick up the phone when you're feeling down and out; I'm a neutral party). And, I do get to LA every now and again on business; if my Persian cousins ever let me out of their sight I might get to have a coffee with you!

I'm impressed anyway; very. Love it. My aunt skyped me recently, and I was speaking in both languages; when I couldn't remember my third-grade word choices, I switched to English and back again. My accent sucks; humorous.

And, then there's King Bill with whom I exchanged comments in German with; we first met in German. Heh.

The JackB
The JackB

And I should add that I do much better with cursing. It is amazing to me how sometimes the first words people learn to say in a different language are curse words.

The JackB
The JackB

My Persian is awfully rusty- notice I didn't say Farsi. But my English is ok. Remember, I live in LA where they sometimes refer to Beverly Hills as Tehrangeles.

Soulati
Soulati

I think you're flirting with me and trying to impress me. I'd say, "khayli mam noon, doosteh man." (Shall I translate?)

The JackB
The JackB

What if I say that the food I cook is hoishmazeh?