Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Think Before You Act

I'm reading: Think Before You ActTweet this!

Isn't that the kind of advice we give our kids? You know, instruct them to take a moment to think through their actions and the potential consequences, for example, before they stick the metal tweezers in the electrical outlet?

As bloggers and aspiring businesswomen, we need to heed that same advice.

Years ago, after I finished my first large client project, I was approached about another potential opportunity. To us humans, money can be like blood is to a vampire. We need it to live and once we get a taste of it, we want more. More!

I was excited about the prospect of another client, but when I heard it was a group that wanted to promote the goodness of HFCS, I walked away. I wasn't thinking about myself or fledgling consulting business as a "brand," it just didn't seem like a good fit.

Since then I've turned down other opportunities and failed to follow up on others because I'm picky like that.

When I tell people about MomImpact:
"We connect brands and bloggers for conversations, events and product reviews,"

I get this reaction:
"Oh, you match brands and bloggers like {insert name of much larger organization}."

And then I explain that I'm much smaller and not likely to set the blogging world afire because I'm picky. (That said, I have some exciting, value-added projects in the works for MomImpact members.)

I don't have a set checklist of questions I review for each potential client (or product review opportunity on this blog), I do a gut check, though.

If I did have a checklist, it would look something like this:

  • Would I purchase or consider purchasing this product with my own money?
  • Would I eat or use this product?
  • Is this a product I would want to share with my real-life friends?
My business is not me. It has its own tax ID and is a true corporate entity. And yet...it is me. Or at least a reflection of me.

Your blog and your business are reflections of you, too.

Which is a very long-winded way of saying you must read Mom 101's post about blog product review tours gone wrong. Specifically, she's writing about the current "corn sugar" blog tour, but you can ignore that.

Focus on the Big, Important Questions in her post.

There are many.

Answer them.

Answer them for yourself.

Answer them for your readers.

I don't care if you answer them in her comments, in my comments, on tiny scraps of paper, on your blog, or in your head, just answer them.

Understand that Liz's answers and my answers and your answers may be very similar. Or they may be completely different. And that's okay. We're not the mom-Borg collective, after all.

Our opinions may change over time. And that's okay, too. Jan Brady taught us that it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

The important things are to know where you stand in the here and now and think about where you are headed.

And if you are so inclined, I'd love to know what kind of questions you ask yourself before taking on a new client or product for review.

Okay, you made it to the end. Now go read Liz's post.
Edited to add: Mir's post about not selling out, is also a great read.


Backpacking Dad said...

I never ask "Would I use this?"

I always ask "Can I write about this in a way that I find interesting?"

I'm not an opinion-shaper or thought-leader or brand-advocate. I post to post posts and if I get a product I have a creative idea about and I think I will actually write about it I say yes.

That being said I have a product in the closet right now I thought I had a great idea for in June that I still don't have the energy to write about.

I'm bad for brands.

Gina said...

Last week my 6YO son announced that he had successfully tried out and been accepted to a friend's club at school. He was pretty excited about this achievement until I asked him what the club was about.

He hadn't asked. And didn't think about what that means now. When we described a couple scenarios (like the pretty pink unicorn club - because he strongly dislikes his younger sister's pretty pink unicorns), he got it.

Ask the questions. If it doesn't sound or feel right, ask more questions until it feels very right or very wrong.

For me, my values, my integrity and the trust I have of my community of friends are all too important to be tempted to accept many offers.

These are the lessons we teach our kids. They apply to us too. Right?

MollyinMinn said...

So well said, Kim. I have seen much written about this, but I really think your take on it added a new voice.

Thank you.

And yes, the big take away is stop and think before you act.

Mom101 said...

Thanks Kim. I bet your clients love working with you.

Not just for the awesome Jan Brady reference.

Susan Bearman said...

True not just of product reviews, but of posting online in general. I was disconcerted when I first got a Google alert about a silly retweet I sent. Didn't know Twitter was searchable that way. Or that comments left on other blogs were also searchable. Google Alerts is a great tool for keeping tabs on your online impact. (I do not work for Google.)

Julie said...

what do I think when I consider a pitch? Is this a company I'm proud to have my brand share space with. And one I'm proud to have my name next to.

Nicely said, Kim. Yes, we have decisions to make in our line of business. We must consider how brands fit into our lives and truly believe in them before working with them.

Shari said...

Bloggers need to stay true to their blog's purpose. I blog about our girls as a virtual scrapbook and way to connect with other parents. I rarely accept products for review and if I do then there's a connection directly to our family. If you cannot make a clear connection to your blog's purpose, then you're just taking free stuff.

Meowmie said...

Having spent an inordinate amount of time with food scientists, my BS meter went off the dial with that marketing. (Of course, I'm a quiet blogger, I talk about things like decluttering and economics and I'm not in North America so I'm unlikely to be involved.)

But, back to the point. I think your questions that you ask yourself are VERY good.