Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013 WRITE: BLOG: Brand Blogging in virtual worlds. Blogging for the brands.

Brand Blogging in virtual worlds.  
Blogging for the brands. 
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Brand blogging
That is blogging for the benefit of particular brands.  

  • A brand might run its own blog.  
  • Or it might pay a blogger to write blogs that fit its goals.  
  • Events may also have official bloggers.  
  • Official bloggers might get no pay
  • But would get early access and co-promotion  
  • A fashion brand might pay a blogger to write about their products.  
  • Or the brand might give the blogger free evaluation products.  

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Here are some issues that come up in connection with brand blogging
  • Is it ethical?
  • Is an evaluation product the same as pay?
  • Can you tell if the promotion is working?
  • Can a blog promote to people not in a virtual world?
  • Can a blog have several similar clients, serving as an aggregator?
For my suggestions about these, read on
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Is it ethical?
If the blog carries full disclosure about the payment or other compensation, I see no ethical problem here.  
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My full disclosure: I do not accept pay or anything else for my blog posts.  The only earnings I get from this blog come from the Google ads.  I do welcome press releases and other notices about events and places of interest if these fit my themes.   
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Is a free evaluation product the same as pay?
I don't think so.   A blogger may need to own products in order to evaluate them.  It would not be practical for a blogger to buy all the products that would be needed to support an active blog.  Giving a product for evaluation does not automatically get any evaluation, much less a favorable evaluation.  
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Can you tell if the brand promotion is working?
Yes.  At least as well as they can tell with other media.  Because the method is the same.  You offer a special product at a favorable price but just on a single blog.  Then you see how many customers that offer brings in.   
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Can a blog promote to an audience not in SL?
That is the maneuver I call outworlding.  Clearly a blog is available to anyone with internet access.  But a blog can  promote only to people who read it.  So the question becomes to what extent does the blog reach the outworlders and influence their actions?  
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Some virtual world products are currently exported.   Outworlders are potential customers for these products, so there is value in outworld promotion.  Perhaps the biggest current export from Second Life is videos.  

There are several blogs, including this one, that promote and present virtual world videos to the outworld.   

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When 3D printing or other automated production is widely available at low cost, physical art objects and clothing fashions may become another important export.  That could happen next year:


Can a blog have several similar clients, serving as an aggregator?
I think a blogger should cover multiple similar products, whether they are from clients or not.  A blogger who writes about only one brand in a class of product is very close to publishing advertisements for that brand.  What kind of audience would that draw?  
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Aggregator blog example: iheartSL
Established in 2008, iheartsl.com is the longest running Second Life Fashion and Community feed. All syndicated blogs are written by residents and feature SL-related content.
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