Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Women bloggers influence millions and want to be paid for it

Women bloggers influence millions and want to be paid for it
September 30, 2011 00:09:00
Dana Flavelle Business Reporter
Some 55 million women across North America read other women’s blogs every month.
And about 80 per cent of them will make a purchasing decision based on what they’ve read.
Yet, very few women make a living from writing a blog, despite being deluged with requests from big brands for product reviews of everything from Sippy cups to strollers.

Some women bloggers want that to change.
At a conference in Toronto on Friday, organized by the networking site ShesConnected.com, some of Canada’s biggest brands paid the price of admission for 200 of Canada’s most influential digital women.
From Ford to Toshiba to Molson Canada, the conference attracted an A-list of corporate sponsors.
“Many women don’t make their living from their blogs and don’t even want to,” said Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer.com, the United States’ largest blog network.
They blog to promote a cause, or share an experience, or tell their personal story, she said.
“But there’s a whole layer that’s professionalizing,” Camahort Page said in an interview after presenting the conference with the data on the power and influence women bloggers wield in the marketplace.
This new breed of professional woman bloggers see themselves as a media outlet, and like all media they want to get paid for reaching a valuable target market, she said.
With 26 million monthly viewers, 60 employees and “tens of millions” in annual revenues, Camahort Page’s blogger network is one of the few that’s figured out how.
A lot of the “mommy bloggers” attending Friday’s conference have a career in another field, said Donna Marie Antoniadis, co-founder and chief operating officer of ShesConnected.com.
“Many brands don’t have a clue how to work with bloggers,” Antoniadis said. “And bloggers don’t know how to work with brands.”
While brands value bloggers, many pay nothing at all or pay with gift cards to toy stores in exchange for mentions on blogs, said Hollie Pollard, who owns one of the top 20 blogs in Toronto, called commoncentsmom.com.
That’s not enough, some bloggers said.
“I can’t pay my phone bills with chicken,” said Anne-Marie Burton, a blogger and founder of momstown.ca, after hearing a panel of brands, including the Chicken Farmers of Canada, describe their approach to blogging.
Burton is considered one of Canada’s top 10 mom entrepreneurs. Yet, five years after starting her business, it doesn’t pay her a salary.
Tamara Watson says she started blogging to promote her store, Daisy Days, which sells baby carriers, in Hamilton.
“I do it for enjoyment,” she said in an interview outside the conference. But if there’s also a business opportunity, she’s interested.
After registering for the conference, stroller maker Guzzie & Gus offered her the use of a free stroller for the event. In exchange, she offered to blog about it.
Corporate advertising budgets are often handled by outside agencies, the conference heard. And at multinational firms, those decisions may not be made in Canada, the conference heard.

“It’s difficult to be in your seat and get to the right people,” said Dana McCauley, culinary director, at Janes Family Foods, a Toronto frozen food maker.

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