So, Forrester think it is OK to pay for blog posts, so long as the relationship is made clear. This is so unhelpful to the passionate people at companies who have been trying to get employees more involved in Social Media.
I think that there is a huge difference between giving an experience at the company’s expense vs paying someone cash. It is the difference between someone who is generous and thoughtful vs a person who thinks they can literally buy your attention and affection.
I’ve been pushing for some time to encourage people to engage in and with Social Media in the “right” way. The reality is that this is tricky, uncontrollable, and time-consuming. But the benefits can be huge if it is done well.
Paid posts are never going to have the same impact in the long-term as genuine people blogging voluntarily about a Brand because they have deemed something is newsworthy and interesting. Paying may get the news out, but in the long term it discredites all the other efforts.
My biggest concern is that busy marketing managers will take the easy route, and will think it is OK to just pay bloggers rather than doing things right. As someone who is trying to get these same marketing managers to “get involved”, a report saying that it is OK to pay bloggers is unhelpful, to say the least.
The idea that people can be “editorially independent” while accepting money for the post is just nonsense, and very very unhelpful. Since Banner Blindess is real, perhaps the issue is that we need advertising space where people actually look. Maybe advertorials are something that we could consider?
But please, let’s not ruin this thing that we are so passionate about.