Should Brand Influencers Feel Guilt?


Dino Dogan owns Triberr shirts in every color; psst, he also owns Triberr.

Professional bloggers toil day in and day out to develop a brand and solid content people want to read. My blogiversary is this month; we’ve been married four years, this blog and me.

In the life of a blogger, that’s nearly a lifetime. Along that journey, the word monetization pops up and there begins the need to get paid for these smarts.

Thanks to Triberr’s new direction offering bloggers an opportunity to join campaigns, write a few blog posts and get paid, we now have that option.
Bloggers apply, the application is reviewed, a blogger is selected, blog posts are written and published, and a fee is exchanged. Cool, eh?

So, why is there guilt associated with that?

Anyone else feel a twinge?

Dino Dogan said it best to me, “When bloggers rep for a brand, it’s not congruent with self perception.” What he means is we all have worked for free for so long that when the opportunity to get paid comes along there’s some concern about “Am I worthy? What will my community think?

I think he’s right…if I get paid to put up a post and have to add the disclaimer, “hey, this is a sponsored post!” there’s some discomfort about that, like I should feel badly I’ve been hired to write for a brand that needs help.

What I’m here to say and help each of us get over that hump of “am I worthy?” is this:

Bloggers work harder than anyone I know and we’ve done it FREE for years. For we who do it well, there are now opportunities to showcase smarts and do some really neat writing. For those who are feeling upset on the sidelines, jump in! There’s opportunity for all! For bloggers who don’t trust they’re worthy, carpe diem! This is finally where your hard work pays off!

Thanks, Dino and Dan!

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Influence Is Topicality With Tools

Influence has been my favorite topic of late; in fact, it’s been everyone else’s, too. Let me bring you back up to speed with a bunch of good reads (not to mention a five-post series right here with many guest bloggers) since my series ran:

  • Gini Dietrich writes at Spin Sucks about Peer Index vs. Klout In this post she talks about tree frogs, her new pet and friend for Jack, and she also shares that Peer Index is trying mightily to be produce authorities on various topics.
  • Neicole Crepeau writes a heckuva intriguing post at Mark W. Schaefer’s blog, Grow, about a new way to measure and categorize influencers (she told me she is a “nerd” and this bit is all her intensity).
  • Shakirah Dawud tagged an Adweek article on Twitter about the Klout score showing up on resumes (I told you so…there, had to say that again.)
  • Judy Shapiro wrote a really good piece about why social media is a bad measure of influence (and she addresses that new influencer game, Empire Avenue (I’m staying far away from).

There’s another application I’d like to share based on a conversation and brief look at a beta site I saw yesterday. mBlast has products focusing on influencers and its flagship is mPact, rolled out earlier this year. mPact’s claim to fame is topicality as the filter of influence, and I liked what I saw although the kinks are still being worked out.

They’ve got a free product, so you can check it out, too, and its fee-based offering is reasonable considering what you’re going to get. In fact, as a small business, it’s quite reasonable at the lowest level.

One thing that resonated in my conversation with Mark Blount, vice president of mBlast, is about influence in general – it’s going to become more complex to sort through those with new social media influencer status, and the way to do that is going to be by using tools. Indeed.

(And, I especially like this Gartner-esque influencer map mPact offers…check it out…)

(images:, mBlast)

Word of Mouth Marketing and Diapers

My diaper-buying days are over (until 100 years from now when I’m a grandma, perhaps). But, when I did buy dipes, I bought Pampers, just like a gazillion moms today and tomorrow. And, that’s why Proctor & Gamble is having such a hard time convincing moms there’s nothing wrong with its latest innovation in diapers called Swaddlers Dry Max.

Irate mothers launched a Facebook page, “Bring Back the Pampers Cruisers, Dump Dry Max” claiming the new diapers cause chemical burns. They very well may in spite of the 50 mommy bloggers who tested the product prior to launch. If my beloved newborn had heat rash beyond normal, I’d point a finger at the diaper, too.

On May 16, the Facebook page had 1,052 “likes.” In the scheme of things, that’s a paltry figure compared to the population of diaper-buying families. But it’s enough to warrant positioning in a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal’s “Marketplace” section, on blogs across the country, and in conversation from mommies’ mouths to other mommies’ ears. In a quick run through the blogosphere, the story is growing with a thousand+ views at this post on Gather, for example. 

So, what gives?

It’s the power of word of mouth marketing and the influence mommies have on product success. This is another fascinating study (marketing classes are very busy watching corporate America struggle with negative case studies in word of mouth marketing) about the influence of viral social media.

An extremely tiny proportion of customers have taken action against a behemoth, and they’re being heard. Could there be a diaper recall? Some are suggesting so.  If I were a diaper-buying mom, I’d be watching my kid’s behind closer than usual, too.

The question becomes…why do companies believe they must fix something that’s not broken in the name of innovation? If you’ve got a good thing going, don’t mess with what works…no complaints are a really good thing P&G.

Moms and Dads, care to weigh in?