Weekend Adventure: Adventures in Blogging and a Giveaway

They gave me cupcakes.

Also? Wine.

And it was good.

But let me explain.  On Sunday, I was invited to the Silicon Valley Moms Group Brand/Blogger Meet-up for the DC Metro Moms community. It was at the Ritz-Carlton (one of the brands that was part of the event) in Arlington and I was totally stoked because I don’t usually get invited to swanky places like the Ritz because I belch in public totally blase because I completely belong at the Ritz.  There were probably 50 bloggers there, all moms, some with nurslings in their laps, others with toddler pics being beamed to their phones from husbands on kid duty, some wondering if their homes would still be standing after leaving the four teens in them all day. There were also representatives of brands.  Big brands. little brands, brands we’ve all heard of (Stonyfield Farm) and brands I only knew about from reading the now-defunct “Making It” feature in the Washington Post magazine (Lice Happens). One brand, BitDefender wanted us to help them shape their product to meet the needs of internet-savvy families and they stuffed us full of eggs benedict while asking us questions about internet security. Other brands wanted to learn how to better work with bloggers as local resources and national mouthpieces. One brand called Litl gave away a web-book and I may or may not have cried when I didn’t win it.  Luckily two other brands, Georgetown Cupcake and Cinnabon had cupcakes to make me feel better and iGo Green gave me a universal wireless charger that my husband can’t have.  It’s mine, all mine!!!!!

So yeah, there was swag, some of it edible, but that wasn’t the best part. The best part was the awakening when I realized that bloggers are part of something big. We are a vanguard of new media opinion leaders and we will shape how communities interact. The revolution will be blogged, friends.

See, here’s the thing. Remember how 9 out of 10 dentists recommended Trident? In 2010, companies want to know that 9 out of 10 mom bloggers will recommend their fabric softener or gluten free bread or stroller or what have you. They rel all building social media marketing departments faster than Facebook can change its privacy settings so that they can capitalize on what we, the bloggers, are doing as we reach out to our readers and fellow writers and chat chat chat about the topics that light out synapses up. They want to light our synapses up but they don’t know how to do it.

This is a brave new world, my friends, and no on quite knows what to do with it.  Should bloggers work for product?  Or should we demand money?  Wait, will you all trust a paid review? Will I be swayed by cash or goodies? Do I like the brands I met yesterday better than I did the day before just because they were nice to me and gave me cupcakes (but not a web-book)? Should they hire PR firms or do their own marketing? Should they pitch one blogger? Ten? 100? How specific can they get in their targeting (pretty damn specific, if you ask me.  I know a thing or two about tracking data for diverse groups with general commonalities but specific niches and how to customize communications based on criteria and HELLO! Maybe you could ask me about that, brand people. I have ideas and experience and really? It can all be done by interns. It’s easy and you’ll make bloggers happy if you pitch them blog-appropriate product and address them by name.) (What just happened there? I don’t know.  Moving on…)

I have a feeling that the whole brand/blogger relationship is like quick drying cement and very, very soon, marketing gurus will have best practices for working within social media. We need to act fast to make sure it dries the way we want it to.  For me, that means making a commitment right here and right now to adhere to my personal code of ethics when working with brands.  You will not see me working with companies who I have, for various reasons, decided are not worthy of my business. If I plug a brand here, you can be assured that their business practices are ethical, they are pro-woman, they are pro-family, and they are high quality. I would be deeply ashamed of myself if I ever pitched for a brand that ended up in a gender discrimination lawsuit or created a massive oil spill later on so I’ll do my due diligence.

That’s my promise to you. I also promise that I’ll stop talking about the business of blogging now and get on with the business of giving something away.

The good folks at BitDefender gave me their Internet Security Package 2010 which provides one year of virus protection, blocks spyware, and protects privacy for PCs (not Mac compatible). One lucky winner gets it just for leaving a comment here today.

Another lucky winner gets the DVD of season  of Cake Boss provided by the nice folks at TLC.  Again, just leave a comment.

And one other lucky winner gets a $100 off coupon for a Litl Web-book provided by Litl. All you have to do is, you guessed it! Leave a comment!

One comment gets you entered for all three prizes.  Winners will be selected at random on Friday. Good luck!

I was an invited guest of SV Moms Group and met with all the brands mentioned above as part of that event. Below is a complete listing of brands that were in attendance. I don’t know the cash values of the products I received or the items I am giving away because it was not disclosed to me and I didn’t have time to look it all up. Well, the $100 coupon is $100.  But the rest, I don’t know. Everyone at the event got the same stuff I did.

And yeah, Eden Fantasies.  That’s right.  There was sex toy swag. No.  I’m not gonna blog about that.

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20 comments for “Weekend Adventure: Adventures in Blogging and a Giveaway

  1. sara
    June 8, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Sounds like a great time you had!! Jealous!

  2. Hope C
    June 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Sounds like fun! LOVE SWAG, in my past life I used to be a corporate event/trade show planner and used to get tons of Swag. God I miss it!

  3. June 8, 2010 at 9:39 am

    i’m so bummed I missed it—sounds like it was a great time!

  4. Lynn
    June 8, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Only been to the Ritz once and I swear I saw Monica Lewinsky.

  5. anthrogrrl
    June 8, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Can I get entered just for the Cake Boss DVD? I have become addicted to any shows involving cake or weddings over the last few years (it was research, I swear). And while Buddy is no Duff Goldman, and his sister has one of the most annyoing voices on the planet, I love it when his ma shows up and starts screaming about how she’s the real cake boss. *smile*

  6. June 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Sounds awesome! And you do totally belong at the Ritz. 🙂

  7. JS
    June 8, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I support belching in public at the Ritz. 😉

  8. June 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I am so jealous! Sounds like you had a blast! I would love to win one of your fabulous prizes!

  9. Deb C
    June 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    wow… lice happens , edenfantasys AND the ritz all on the same sponsor list… interesting! and i, too, support belching in public at the ritz, at the w, at the mayflower – take your pick!

  10. June 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Sounds like a good time! 🙂

  11. KLZ
    June 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Have I told you lately I think I need to move to DC?

  12. June 8, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Nice – but I don’t need to win anything! I just loved reading your thoughts on the event!

  13. Loralei
    June 8, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Recently followed you on Twitter and I love your blog! Swag is always cool! 🙂 🙂

  14. June 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    sounds amazing.. wish there was stuff like this for all of us San Antonio mamas

  15. June 8, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I love the quick drying cement analogy. Too many consumers (let alone bloggers) are giving away the farm by allowing poor quality initiatives to form social media pathways, easements, well-worn paths that lead directly to us. We must stand firm and give access a quality standard that we can… stand.

  16. June 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Sounds great! And I want that Web-book. 😉

  17. June 9, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I need to find a convention near me, this looks like a lot of fun! Great giveaway!

  18. June 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Sounds like it was a fun event!! I love being around other mom bloggers… good luck everyone!!

  19. June 9, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Heh Heh…in reading the comments & looking at the sponsors, I’m disturbed by my mental combination of lice & sex toys…I think I need more sleep…hehe

  20. June 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    How is it we keep going to these things and I barely get to talk to you? This must stop.

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