Okay, so perhaps a little release can be attained via a few announcements and a real, down and dirty question about... gasp.... marketing. Do you think we can handle it?
You know the marketing topic is going to take up so much of our mind-space that I think I'd better save the announcements for later this week. But they're coming. So that's good to know.
a Delicate Question
So this is not a small-talk topic like "talk to me about aprons." It's a much more delicate question with a much more significant (to me, anyways) answer. I'll try my best to get us there without hurting any feelings. We're going to have to be big girls (and boys) and not make accusatory statements, while at the same time speaking up for how we feel.
If you read blogs, you know about marketing. It's part and parcel of why all of this works. Each blog post I write takes at least an hour at the computer, over and above time sewing, photographing, thinking. If you keep a blog, you know what I mean. Sustained blogging exists because the writer gets some kind of reward. It could be via personal satisfaction, comments/feedback, relationships, fabric, money, ideas, or a combination of these.
|via Pinterest, folding tutorial at Turning*Turning|
Fabric? Yes, fabric. There is fabric to be had. One could earn fabric from sponsors, receive gifts from designers or even get fabric directly from a manufacturer. In fact, many manufacturers are looking for influential bloggers to partner with on an ongoing basis. In the past I received an invitation to be a fabric ambassador of sorts for a fabric house. You've probably seen this arrangement around. It has many forms, so I'm not speaking about any specific program, but the general idea is one agrees to form a long-term relationship whereby the blogger receives quantities of fabric in exchange for posting about said fabric on his or her blog and usually providing free, detailed tutorials using the fabric. These tutorials "live" on the manufacturer's blog, not on the bloggers blog.
How does this make you feel? Jealous, probably. Or, at least I've been there. It's totally human to be jealous if anyone is getting free fabric. Hey, fabric to us is like candy to a kid or chocolate to a hormonal woman or booz to a ______. Well, you get the picture. One can feel jealous while still feeling happy for the person getting the fabric. Hey, we want everyone to be happy (ourselves included)! I'm not assuming you get all green with jealousy, but just a little jealous, ya know?
Aside from that, how else does it make you feel? If a blogger keeps promoting that one manufacturer (as they've agreed to do), does it color the way you read their blog? Is it a turn off? Or, do you feel like you can easily read around any messages since you understand the lay of the land? Does the blogger's connection with the manufacturer conjure feelings of admiration? exclusion? disdain? indifference?
|by Coeur Blonde, via Pinterest|
If you're a blogger, do you desire this kind of ambassador relationship? Do you want to receive fabric in exchange for tutorials? Does it bother you that the tutorials don't live on your blog, so you won't continue to receive traffic from that work? Will you make your best tutorials for such a program or will it encourage sub-par work? How will you feel when you like and use fabrics from other manufacturers? Will there be a conflict of interests?
As a reader, are you glad these programs exists since they create free tutorials? Oh, and there's usually giveaways of the fabrics used too! Do you like these posts or do they come off as "marketing" quite apart from the content you usually love? Do you think that overall these programs are benefiting our community?
|by Helga Webber via Pinterest|
I ask because I care. I want to make decisions that do benefit our community. I believe that having a thoughtful discussions about these topics can help all involved - the manufacturers, the bloggers, the readers. We all share a common love for sewing, for fabrics and goal to enjoy this amazing hobby together. Please speak up and share with kindness, honesty and tact so we can all benefit!