Everything Is Negotiable … Until It Isn’t

dad2summitLive Blogging Dad 2.015, Uncategorized

The best daddy bloggers can make anything, even laundry detergent, engaging and fun.

It’s why many make a credible income from their blogs – working with brands to extend their revenue stream.

The brand-centric panel at Saturday’s Dad 2.0 Summit event let four seasoned bloggers share how they make money online, and why writers should take care before accepting their next sponsored post.

Moderator Jim Lin (@busydadblog): Brent Almond (@designerdaddy), Charlie Capen (@charliecapen) and Roo Ciambrello (@roociambrello)

“Not all negotiations end in yes,” says Lin, who works both on the PR side and as a daddy blogger. The dance between blogger and brand is an intricate one, and the blogger must consider a variety of options before sealing the deal.

Almond, who oversees designerdaddy.com, says it took a while before he felt the confidence to work with brands. Now, Almond does so with care, making sure the companies in question don’t clash with his personal views.

He recalls feeling conflicted when Barilla Pasta reached out to him for potential posts. Almond had bristled at the company’s stance on gay issues, but Barilla’s team wanted to make amends and put out a more positive, inclusive message. He saw that other respected bloggers were hopping aboard the company’s campaign. Plus, Barilla gave him the creative freedom to write what he pleased.

The result? A paid gig plus a robust conversation on his site.

Capen, part of the team behind HowToBeADad.com, says his first foray into a brand partnership was a disaster.

“We didn’t ask [the brand] what a success looked like in the campaign … they weren’t specific about what they wanted to achieve… we learned a lot from it,” Capen says.

Bloggers need to put themselves in the brands’ shoes when starting a business relationship, he says. What do they hope to achieve? More traffic? Online conversations?

What Capen won’t do during a campaign, though, is remove his brand and personality from the equation. When a brand demands that, he usually ends the discussion.

That wasn’t the case with a Clorox campaign where he developed with the “three Ps of parenting” – poo, puke and pee. The post in question featured a Venn diagram of those three elements, a comical take on a problem all parents face.

Roo, who runs several blogs including ScratchorSniff.com and Semiproper.com on top of her copywriting work, says honesty is the best policy when dealing with brands. So, too, is being direct.

“I’ll go ahead and ask someone at the PR firm, ‘you know what I do, my engagement, my traffic … what do you think is a fair price?’’ Ciambrello says.

From there, Ciambrello works as hard on her sponsored posts as her more traditional articles. Sometimes even harder.

“I want it to be a mutually beneficial relationship for all parties,” she says. “I want to always create a great piece of content.”

Some bloggers may think their modest traffic levels means brands won’t go near them. Think again, she says.

“You’re more than just what your monthly page views are,” she says. “You have to figure out where your value lies. Maybe you have really great engagement … my audience might not be super huge, but they’re engaged.”

The bloggers agreed that authenticity is paramount when dealing with brands. Anything else isn’t fair to readers, and it could spell trouble for your blogg.

“If you’re willing to lie on your platform, maybe you want to gut check yourself,” Capen says.

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Christian Toto is an award-winning journalist and film critic who covers entertainment at HollywoodInToto.com and fatherhood at Daddylibrium.com. Follow him on Twitter at @daddylibrium.