Professional bloggers have to learn how to manage their trust capital, a special form of social capital that develops from the trust that readers develop over time from reading your work. Readers must come to believe that what you say on your blog stands for something, or else it has no value in the marketplace, and then you cannot use it to sell anything. But by the same token, if once it has established enough value to sell things you then use it to sell too much, you can lose all of the trust capital you have built up. The posts below explore different aspects of trust capital and how different actions affect it, its management, growth, and development in the blogosphere.
This is the post where I try to actually better define what trust capital is, and what makes it different from just basic social capital. Trust Capital In The Mommyblogosphere
My thoughts on sponsored content are kind of conservative, at least at the moment. I tend to shy away from doing sponsored posts, though I have done one product placement for a local establishment that I endorsed before I was paid to do so, and I thought Design Mom’s spot for Mayflower was fantastic. My experience still left me feeling strange, and I decided that it must have something to do with trust capital. (There are ways to get around this, though. You can use the Microsite Model, for example). I would also not recommend sponsored tweets, because even if it’s a small amount of content, it’s still content, and you are teaching people to ignore you.
Events are appealing to bloggers because having a brand sponsor an event is not quite the same thing as endorsing it on your blog. For one thing, it takes place outside of the blogging space and there’s no obligation to explicitly endorse or use the product. Sponsored events, like the one I discuss here, are a way for bloggers to monetize without expending a ton of trust capital in the process. But, as with everything, moderation is key. How you handle an event separate from sponsors can still affect your trust capital in the community, as was the case with the Broad Summit and, for some people (including me), the Mighty Summit.