Many of you know that last year, Epson sponsored the Sparkplugging team’s trip to the BlogWorld Expo conference. Many of you may not know the extent of the entire campaign that we worked on with the brilliant Barbara Jones from One2One Network. And I bet even fewer yet know of the fantabulous results that Epson saw at the end of our campaign.
Another project that is a hot topic lately is the Kmart / IZEA campaign that was done last December. Ted Murphy released a fantastic case study on it a few weeks ago, but I decided to take it one step further and dissect the differences between the bloggers that participated in the campaign, Chris Brogan, Loren Feldman, Julia Roy, Jeremy Schoemaker, Michelle Madhok, and myself. Thus, my post is a true case study of how different influencers bring different assets to every campaign they work on. And most importantly, it does pay to find the right influencers with the right following to match your campaign goals.
Both of these campaigns had strong viral components that created significant buzz – buzz around the brands, buzz around the agencies, and even buzz around the bloggers. I’m very proud of the work I’ve been able to do with these campaigns thus far, knowing they were great brands that I would put my own name on the line for without hesitation.
Being Paid for One’s Influence
With the furor around paid posts and sponsorships of late, I’d also like to make a very important point to those who think that mixing money and content are somehow immoral or bad. Besides the fact that these kinds of sponsorships date back to Olympians in ancient Greece, and besides the fact that these campaigns were all run with the highest ethical standards recommended by WOMMA, and besides the fact that we’ve been asking brands to do ‘Conversation Marketing‘ for years… there is one more thing I would like to add.
If I were to add up the amount of money I have turned away over the three years I have run this site due to my unwillingness to endorse the companies for whatever reason, I’d guess it would easily add up to $50K, if not more than that. And although many people think I am getting rich off of Sparkplugging, for the first two years I didn’t make a penny, so I certainly could have used that $50K at some point along the way.
The fact of the matter is, the bloggers that took part in the Kmart campaign aren’t people who really needed $500 in Kmart merchandise. We did it because we believed it would add value to our readers first, and to the brands, second. But most of all, it is completely unjustifiable to judge a blogger’s ethics based on what they are paid for, unless you also know how they are unwilling to be bought at any price.
I’m going to shut up now on this subject, because I will go on a never ending rant about people who think their self-defined “morals” should be everyone else’s morals too… and neither one of us wants to go there. 🙂