Bloggers pay rates probably seem reasonable to companies

There is a lot of commentary on blogger pay rates (Can Bloggers Strike It Rich?) these days.  Working in marketing and being familiar with clients’ advertising budgets, they strike me as a bargain.  To have a strong online advocate posting and defending your product, perhaps working in conjunction with a creative online PR strategy, for $500 to $2500 a month is a bargain. 

Of course any online effort first needs to be ethical. So I do deeply hate fake blogs.  Where I see this going is bloggers are "sponsored" by news organizations as well as other companies.  Like NASCAR drivers have Quaker State on their car, a blogger should have an affiliated logo for CNN *and* MSNBC as sponsors. The consumer is smart enough to realize that a sponsorship does not mean the sponsored individual is the brand, or even fully represent the brand at all times.  The obstacle here is the media which currently asks their own reporters to not write for other organizations except for freelance writers.  So sponsored bloggers, with multiple sponsorships, is somewhere between the current world of reporters and freelancers.

Having contributed to numerous magazines for freelance articles over the last several years, the biggest problem for me is the time delay. It is hard to get excited about an SEO piece for public relations professionals that will run four to six months down the road when I am afraid the content won’t be fully relevant.  Publishing in the MSM compared to blogging and writing seo articles on our site in real time; there is just no comparison on which one is more gratifying.

Wiki’s beyond authoring

Rob Hoff wrote an interesting piece on wiki’s called Learning to Work with Wikis about the Business Week news team using a social text wiki to collaboratively compile their Best of the Web list.  They did a number of things right:

1) They waited until he had an actual need, to compile a collaborative list and keep work efficient, and then sought out an appropriate social software tool; a wiki in this case.
2) He limited the authoring on the wiki to a group of interested people, or knowledge-matter-experts.
3) They sound like they approached it with a sense of playfulness.  Social software does not work in my opinion without a sense of "what if" and "wouldn’t it be cool if" is behind it, at least initially.

Some observations on what he could have done to improve the use of the wiki.

1) Rob noted that he probably limited the authoring a bit too much.  Not enough authors, or editors, and you lose the creativity of a free flowing group.  Too many and you wind up with a spawiki (spam wiki).
2) Did not use, or at least did not mention work flow.  My personal belief is that wiki implementations need better work flow management.  He may have used work flow, but I’d sure love to hear about the work-flow even it the implementation of the work flow was social (verbal, email, offline, whatever).
3) He chose as a wiki test a topic that lends itself to opinion.  Not everyone is created equal despite the wisdom of crowds and when compiling a "best of" list you obviously have opinions which prevent the use of NPOV (Neutral Point of View).  So from a proof of concept point of view this was a tough selection.  Sort of like you really should fly an RC airplane before trying an RC helicopter (different story…)

Overall I’d like to see more journalists working with wiki’s internally or in a controlled but enthusiastic fashion to help move the media past the LA times wiki fiasco