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A PR Black Out?

The PR Black Out:
I got a call today that went a bit like this,

“What do you know about this Mom Dot thing?”

(gasp!) “I don’t know! I’ve been to the park, and then I was working – a lot. Dooce was on GMA.”

“No, no, the Mom Dot thing. The PR Black Out…buh, buh, bummmm”

“What? (looking around to make sure no pr reps are in my living room, hiding behind the couch or under the coffee table) What’s she thinking??”

“I don’t know, but I bet it won’t mean pulling down her ads for the week or not working on those social media marketing projects.”

“Yeah, girlfriend. True dat. Word to your mommy blogger.”

Okay, so it didn’t go exactly like that, but you get the idea. The air was thick with controversy, my stomach definitely churned once or twice, and then I ran to the computer as fast as I could without my husband realizing what I was doing.

I prepared to face the post with righteous indignation. PR Black Out!? But she loves to work with companies…except for the ones who don’t like when she curses. But still! What’s she thinking?

What she’s thinking is what I’ve been thinking. A lot of us are burned out. We’re tired. We say yes to a lot of fun (free) projects that leave us exhausted and clawing to find time to work on the (sometimes) fun not free projects. And blogging about things that we love just because we love them? Well, that doesn’t happen very often for many of us.

The suggestion was this: take one week in August and stop working with PR. Don’t host a giveaway. Don’t write a review. Don’t e-mail the PR reps back or take their calls. Hold a PR Black Out.

Here’s the problem with this for many of us – a week off of PR is like a week away on a tropical island where there is no WiFi, no mobile service, and possibly even no technology.

It’s just not going to happen. It would be not only biting the hand that feeds me – it would be gnawing off the hand that feeds my children.

The Mommy Blogger Hybrid:
Apparently the battle rages on between the purist mommy bloggers and the “PR Friendly” button wearers – like myself – who get just as big a thrill learning and blogging about the best new thing as we do blogging about the crazy experience we just had with our children on the playground after school.

Let’s just end this battle now and get something straight. I am a Mommy Blogger Hybrid – MB2.0 – available now everywhere blogs are read.

Like Trisha at MomDot and many others, I blog about my life, my kids, my family…the products I love, the products I’m trying, and the products I’m giving away to you. For some old school bloggers and blog readers, this is an unlikely partnership that leaves many feeling awkward and uncomfortable, much like when you find yourself sitting next to the 70 year old grandpa and his 25 year old girlfriend at your cousin’s wedding. You just need to look the other way.

But for many of us this is a natural fit. We were already e-mailing other moms to tell them how much we loved our Graco strollers and going on local Yahoo forums to find out if anyone could recommend the best diaper. Bringing this aspect of our lives online along with the proud mama, angry wife, motivated woman ramblings just comes naturally. And then some figured out that there was money to be made, and not just in sidebar ads. Is that the straw that broke the camel’s back? Perhaps.

Now imagine the conversation happening in PR firms around the country as MB2.0 began to pick up steam…

“Did you see that Mommy Loves Stuff for Moms has been writing about the latest tech sites for kids?”

“Yeah, and we’ve got that client we just brought on – Our Sites for Kids Rock – and they could totally use that kind of exposure.”

“Oh, I know! She’s got 245,983 pageviews a day! Let’s e-mail her…”

And so it began. Some PR firms are better than others about the ways in which they reach out to bloggers and the ways in which they offer compensation. In my experience, I have refused pay for post, but I certainly enjoy a good giveaway for my readers. Other bloggers prefer ad revenue opportunities, while still others are happy simply to receive the product. The problem in the world of Mommy Blogger Hybrids – and I think this is what Trisha was getting at – is that these offers are coming at many of us from all sides, all the time.

We are MB 2.0 because of our natural inclination to love this type of blogging, so refusing fun offers and choosing to not tell our readers about an interesting new site or product is a very tough call. And so along comes the PR Black Out.

I love this idea. I love the idea of some time off. I love the idea of taking a week to write all of the ideas that litter the white board on my wall, clutter the sticky notes on my desk, and swirl in my head in the quietest times of the day.

But again – dance with the one who brought ya’. I care for and respect the PR firms and brands with whom I work and a black out just doesn’t make sense for me.

So I have a counter offer for you, Trisha.

Let’s have a Brown Out.

For every Mommy Blogger Hybrid who has been working just a little too hard, riding the wave just a little too long, let’s commit to finding a day every week to blog about nothing. Or anything. But not because a company’s suggested it to us…

Or how about this – let’s unplug and take a few days to not blog at all. A vacation, even.

I won’t be blacking out with the Mom Dot ladies because it just isn’t a fit, but I applaud the sentiment behind the idea. Balance is important – and so is moderation – so I will approach my opportunities with a judicious eye moving forward because the last thing I want to do is burn out…and have to black out.

PostScript: One of the comments brought up the notion of having many blogs to suit many needs, which is an idea that went around the mommy blogging community more than once recently, with ladies seemingly divided on the topic. The whole “disclosure/carpet baggers” debate led me to add a new button to my nav. bar giving me a feeling of permission to write about, well, just me. But I still wonder if a completely separate blog is a way to not feel the need for black outs, brown outs, or freak outs of any kind? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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  1. […] thinkers, and friends. ┬áThe group that welcomed me in whole-heartedly could best be described as hybrid mom bloggers. ┬áThese bloggers partnered with companies from time to time, hosted the occasional giveaway, and […]

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