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Bren Kenin

Bloggers & Merchants

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Can anyone recommend a good source of information about bloggers from a merchant's perspective? 

What is a good amount of bloggers to have? Reasonable merchant expectations? Reasonable blogger expectations? Blogger managers - their role, compensation, etc? The best way to find good bloggers? I'm having a hard time finding any standard of practice or advice on what the "norm" is in SL.

I'd appreciate any advice. Thank you in advance.

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I honestly don't think there's a norm as each store is different and due to that different things will work for different stores. The number of bloggers needed would vary and depend on the quality of the bloggers and the audience can reach. One well known and high quality blogger can reach more than five, or even ten newbie/moderate quality bloggers with a lower audience number.

There's also blogger motivation, whether they're doing it as a hobby or to get as many freebies as possible or a mix of both or something else entirely. There is too many factors at play here, hence why there is no standard practise. I'm hoping though that a few will post their experience here, but take everything with a grain of salt. What works for some, might not work for you. It's trial and error.

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My appproach would be to read blogs... if you stumble upon an entertaining one ask the blogger if they would be comfortable with receiving free review items for their blogs.

Be chaotic - be random! IMHO the organized approach has a good chance of being only effective on the bloggosphere. So you will only reach blogs read by other bloggers, not the really interesting ones. If you demand your blggers to do "at least" two blog posts a month it will be two blog posts only each month.

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As a blogger of over eleven years (and a merchant for almost that long) and I believe the most fashion and design posts on my main blog (well over 5000) --  I of course have a point of view.

LOL.

Things have changed over the years. Flickr is king now --- partly because that "no body reads" mantra is true :D.  There are few blogs out there still with fans, but not like five years ago.  Readership is down as a whole -- easy to see on other blogs by looking at the ratio of comments between now and then. Easy to see on mine as I have the statistics. 

Merchants are having a difficult time getting their bloggers to blog -- this from merchant chatter as well as blogger manager rants and the absence of photos on Flickr that "should" be there and are not. 

As a merchant, I haven't found any relationship between items featured and sales.  Now, that's an eye-opener, but true for me anyway.  Partly this is because of the long time trend to get as much as possible into one picture (clutter in furnishings OR in clothing and accessories) so that nothing is really "featured".  There are a few of us using the "feature the products" method, but not that many. I have never had a blogger group --- or a store group  for that manner.

And while there are some GOOD blogger managers (typically I am grandfathered into group when that becomes part of the process OR I leave that designer) but there are some that have the photo takers running for the hills as all the managers do is rant like a drill instructor.  Hence, bloggers sometimes leave even when they had the best of intentions when joining the group.

I used to write more on my blog. Now it is often just text highlighting the features of the new products. That saddens me, but it is the new norm and what is expected.  I miss Berry's memes and the color a week challenges and all that was Second Life blogging of long ago. Blogging has become more of a business than a hobbyist  activity. 

So after all that input, my advice would be to keep working on your shop and think about advertising for bloggers when you really WANT that process as part of your SL experience. Do it for enjoyment, not because you feel you HAVE to. 

 

We ARE supposed to be having fun here !!!

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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Now that my trip down memory lane is over I guess addressing the OP QUESTIONS would be appropriate :D.

As Syn stated there really is no norm. Some designers hand out new release copies to a few bloggers that they like, some have subscribomatics, some have blogger groups in that SL group manner, some are on Blog0tex. 

Blogger groups vary in size with some up to 50 "bloggers" or more.  Some have rules, some just say "feature me when you can". 

Reasonable merchant expectation?  I would say one or two items featured per month per blogger. Note that this FREQUENTLY doesn't happen. Then again some bloggers will feature more often that that. 

Reasonable blogger expectations?  Items of good quality that they can mix with other items of good quality to make a pretty picture and / or an interesting post. A plus is getting some info on what event the item will be appearing at (sometimes left out so bloggers have to do a lot of legwork tracking down the info needed).

Finding bloggers?   Look at the Flickr sites of your competitors. If you like the photos and presentations, check the blog link in description (if you are actually looking for BLOGS of course). When you think you have found a blogger that will work with your brand check their review policy if they have one. Some bloggers accept goods from anyone, some do not. You can then send a notecard asking if they are interested in blogging your items OR send some items along with a notecard.   

I suggest the hand delivery method at first as that is how most designers start.  I have some that still hand deliver and I love that as we now and then chat a bit and that makes things more personal (and nostalgic).  

Good luck!!!!!

 

Edited by Chic Aeon

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Thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it. 

I like the idea of hand delivering items and having some sort of relationship with my bloggers. I had one that just sort of disappeared on me and stopped replying to messages so I wasn't sure if I had fallen down on my end of the relationship. I stumbled upon another blogger who was a customer. I was blown away by her Flickr page. One thing led to another and here I go again. I did create a blogger group as I assumed that was the norm. Honestly, not knowing what the norm is, and suspecting as you all have said that there is no norm, I probably didn't need to. Oh, well.

 

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1 hour ago, Bren Kenin said:

Thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate it. 

I like the idea of hand delivering items and having some sort of relationship with my bloggers. I had one that just sort of disappeared on me and stopped replying to messages so I wasn't sure if I had fallen down on my end of the relationship. I stumbled upon another blogger who was a customer. I was blown away by her Flickr page. One thing led to another and here I go again. I did create a blogger group as I assumed that was the norm. Honestly, not knowing what the norm is, and suspecting as you all have said that there is no norm, I probably didn't need to. Oh, well.

 

PERSONAL blogger groups are my favorite method -- aside from the hand delivery which I know can get tedious if one has a lot of bloggers) so something for the future maybe.  With a personal group items are there in archives for two weeks. So if a blogger (me anyway) misses a delivery they can always check to see if something new is out.  

My personal least favorite blogger method is BlogOtex which seems about as far removed from "friendly" as it can get. 

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SL is a platform and it is used from players to designers.  I agree with every previous post, there are no rules when you are here to enjoy your SL to be creative. You doing everything is good for your mood or you having in your wishes. Chic Aeon is right also.

For my experience of Second Life, it is something between a social network and an alternative world. It is mean especially social post on your profile, marketplace, the search system of SL and also bloggers are inspired by Real Life. It works in the same way and the way to use depend on your aims. If you are a merchant and you need reviews for your products, you can contact single blogger you like or you can also open your own blog if you are a writer. There are also shop make real websites and post on Social Network any real marketing working, if they want a shop online them using SL market place like, in reality, you could use E-bay or Amazon. Exist also advertising company on SL offering service for it hosting your advert, your post or your picture. 

I like web marketing also in real and as i know more link you have from others to refer you, and more you will be visible. So there is not a number of bloggers. Blogging is something not so commercial it is usually for pleasure and fun. There are also bloggers could doing it for good exchange. If you need Professional writer you can look to find a bloggers manager or website owner who manage them instead of you. If you need help with it you can visit http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ukanipo/237/129/45

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