Triggered by Lolly’s blog post about getting approached by an agency looking to pay her to write about their product, and the resulting debate that took place because of this, PR Week commissioned a poll.
It asked if PRs should pay bloggers, and astoundingly, 43% said it was acceptable to do so.
Now, granted this won’t have seen every registered PR take part, but to say that just under half the people in our industry think that it is totally fine to pay a blogger to write a blog post about their product, is a sad indictment of the state of the PR industry at the moment.
Robin Grant, the MD of We Are Social, hits the nail on the head when he says: “Bloggers are their own people and should write what they want. The results of the PRWeek poll only show the naivety towards social media in the PR industry; they haven’t got their heads round it and aren’t set up for it.”
And, pertinently, Lolly makes this point in the PRWeek comment section:
“As a blogger and a PR I am on both sides of the fence. Yes it is hard to get coverage these days, and it is tempting to throw a few pounds at someone in exchange for a few kind words. Bloggers who get paid to write blog posts might as well hand out their WordPress login details to PR agencies. Would PRs agencies pay bloggers if coverage was negative? Unlikely.”
Of which I agree wholeheartedly. There was another comment in the piece that had quite a reaction on Twitter, but i’ll let you figure that one out for yourself.
So I was dismayed/unsurprised when I saw Douglas Blyde tweeting about Douwe Egberts, who have offered to pay bloggers £50 to post a series of videos. What alarms me is that some of the bloggers have not disclosed that they have been paid to feature these videos, as Jamie Goode explains.
I have no qualms about a blogger being sponsored by a company, or getting them to advertise (I will ignore the post or advert), but a disregard for their readers by not letting them know if their blog post has been sponsored? Outrageous.
As a PR I will never recommend to a client that they should pay a blogger, and I would find it very awkward to continue working for any employer, current or future, who insisted on doing so.