A recent article by Lynette Smit of Hippo Communications, asked the question: "Who are the Mommy Bloggers?" Well, I think I speak for all of us when I say that the time to stand up and be counted is long overdue.
Sure, mommy blogging in South Africa is not nearly the lucrative industry that it is in the US, but then the unfortunate difference is that the bulk of PR/ communications agencies in SA are stuck in the dark ages as to how to use us.
While blogging for the most part is recognised as a business or a legitimate media platform, mommy blogging by and large is seen as bored housewives passing time... Bored housewives who should be flattered by the lure of a free bag of nappies here and there in exchange for a rave review.
The DMMA this week facilitated a debate about bloggers charging agencies for reviews and advertising. While the general consensus from the blogosphere was that blogging, just like print/ radio, is a media entity like any other, and should therefore be treated in the same vein, the mommy blogger community was incredibly silent.
The fact is that even though we know the consumer power that lies in our hands as the decision-makers in our homes, we will be the first to buckle at the call to work for free, and the reason for this is simple: Moms are used to doing all kinds of nonsense for free.
When you become a mom you become a person who willingly cleans up someone else's mess. For free. Literally. You clean up the messes. For free. Ask a teenager or a middle-aged man how they would feel about doing that.
When I add up the number of hours I spend daily cooking, cleaning, shopping and driving for my offspring around, I sort of want to cry. I love being a mom, I truly do. I chose to have children and I stand by that decision. I wouldn't change it for the world, but let's be honest, the long hours of (generally) thankless and unpaid work sucks. There's no sugar coating that.
Unpaid work is part and parcel of motherhood If you don't suck it up and accept that, you are going to be one bitter and unhappy mother.
So? Who better to ask?
Which leads to the next concept: Who better to ask to do a thankless and unpaid job, than someone who has already been conditioned to accept that her (hard) work will be thankless and unpaid?
As mommy bloggers we often refer to our blogs as our 'other babies'. But your blog is not your baby. Your blog is the one place you do not have to work for free; you do not have to conform to anyone else's schedule. Write what YOU want for free, but someone else's rubbish? They have to pay you. Only your actual baby gets you to work for free.
Few mom bloggers can resist the siren call of an established and respected brand that is willing to take them into their esteemed fold and sing their praises to their untold masses of followers.
Time for change
Suave promises to link to their sites and promote their expertise are heady stuff, but let me ask you this: When was the last time Brad and Angelina "partnered" with Sony to make a movie for free? How often do you see chefs running a kitchen in exchange for a t-shirt and a badge naming them best burger flipper? Does your dentist do crowns in exchange for a shout on your Facebook wall?
While I have to thank Lynn Smit for pointing out that mommy bloggers probably have the biggest consumer impact in the blogosphere, this is something that has been known all along - so as bloggers with a platform, it is our responsibility to stop feeding the 'freebie' culture and make agencies put their money where our mouths are.
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