So last weekend there was this very inside baseball networking event called the Brooklyn Blogfest, in which a bunch of Brooklyn bloggers got together to talk about blogging in Brooklyn.
In previous years, it was a small, but seemingly enjoyable gathering for new and upcoming bloggers to ask more experienced bloggers for tips and pointers. It probably wasn’t the most awesome thing in the world, but it certainly never seemed to cause any major backlash amongst the community.
This year however, something went horribly awry as PR people co-opted the whole thing by giving out shitty tchotkes like flipcams and free bottles of Absolut Vodka and access to Spike Lee and his wacky glasses. Now everybody’s up in a huff, and rightfully so. The blogfest is accused of becoming a shillfest and others are saying it was “a big fat joke” in the first place.
So how’d Big Vodka come in and manage to douse the Brooklyn blogging flame of love with Spike Lee and their drunken potatoes? It’s easy! Here’s a simple 6-step strategy to co-opting your very own hyper-local blogosphere.
Step One: Identify your target demographic and find a weak point at which you can buy your way in.
Step Two: Find a related celebrity.
Step Three: Tweak your product to be inspired by related celebrity so that bloggers simply cannot refuse because of its blatant pandering to their audience.
Step Four: Sweeten the deal with bloggers by providing things like flipcams, booze, and “VIP access” to THEIR OWN EVENT at which celebrity speaks.
Step Five: Co-opt their networks. Require things like “three dedicated blog posts throughout the summer,” an “agreement” to post their product image, and spamming your friends on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare “to promote the blog posts/program.”
Step Six: Profit! Everybody go buy ABSOLUT BROOKLYN!!
(Ed: For the record, we were approached to be a blog partner as well by a representative of the PR agency repping the brand. We declined to take part. And to be fair, here’s a defense of the whole thing by one of the event organizers. She also answers the question, “Why didn’t you disclose the money and other gifts you accepted from Absolut in exchange for turning this year’s Blogfest into a corporate launch party?” at the New York Times.)