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#BloggerBlackmail – Our Thoughts, And How Blogs and Brands Should Work Together

Did you see the #BloggerBlackmail hashtag explode onto your Twitter feed on Sunday? Of course you did, but just in case you’ve spent the past few days on a mountain with no signal or Wi-Fi, here’s the story:

Food and lifestyle blogger Mehreen of Wrap Your Lips Around This contacted local bakery Anges de Sucre to ask if they’d be interested in her popping in to sample their wares and write a review. They said yes, but when she turned up Mehreen wasn’t happy with the size of the sample she was being offered – “a s’more, a marshmallow and a macaron” according to the bakery, “a tea/coffee and a selection box of eight macarons and marshmallows” according to Mehreen.

Whatever the treat selection really was, Mehreen asked for 3 large selection boxes instead but the bakery wasn’t happy giving that much away, and it all spiralled downhill from there. Mehreed posted some not-very-nice things on Instagram about their macarons (which she later deleted), Anges de Sucre responded with a blog post claiming they’d been blackmailed (which you can read here) and Mehreen followed up by publishing her side of the story here.

So… what exactly went wrong?

 

1. The blogger and brand didn’t agree on a product value

It seems like Anges de Sucre and Mehreen never discussed prices before she arrived at the bakery. Mehreen wrote that she is used to receiving a 3-course meal plus wine when she reviews restaurants, but Anges de Sucre is a small bakery that’s probably more used to £5 or £10 purchases from its customers. It’s clear that they went into this with two very different ideas of what a ‘sample dish’ should look like.

How to work together well

Be clear about what you want, or what’s on offer, before the review happens.

We recently blogged about whether bloggers should charge for reviews or not, which highlighted how much time can go into a blog post – from trying the product out to photography and social media promotion – but the brand may not know this.

And as a blogger, don’t be afraid to tell brands about how much time you spend promoting your review – they’ll love to know they’re getting more than just a quick write-up, and will have a better appreciation of the time you invest in your blog.

Discussing the nitty gritty of what you want or what’s being offered, such as “one box of 16 macarons”, may seem like overkill but it means both the blogger and brand are heading into things with the same expectations and both happy with what they’re each getting out of it.

 

2. The brand thought they were guaranteed a positive review

Anges de Sucre believed they were offering Mehreen some treats “in return for posting a positive review”, but Mehreen pointed out in her blog post that all of her reviews are completely honest (which is how it should be!).

How to work together well

Brands are used to working with contracts, and working with an independent, free-spoken blogger can seem a little daunting. Keep things clear and friendly by posting a review policy on your blog, and making the brand aware of this before you agree on anything.

For example, what happens if you have a bad experience? Will you give the brand a chance to make things right? Will you not publish a review and email them your feedback instead? Usually, as long as you are willing to let the brand work with you to try to solve any issues you may have together, they’ll be more than happy to let you voice your honest opinion.

 

What do you think of the #BloggerBlackmail story? Do you have a review policy published on your blog?

We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment below!

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