When General Mills came to the realization that bloggers are powerful, they decided to make that influence and reach work for them. The company started MyBlogSpark and recruited over 900 bloggers (80% of them mothers – a coveted marketing demographic with strong buying power) to become members.
The concept of MyBlogSpark is simple — bloggers sign up for free membership, and in return, they receive free products, coupons, samples, and so on from General Mills. They are asked to write about the items they receive on their blogs. Participants are not compensated in any other way, and while General Mills claims they want to be transparent (according to an article from AdWeek), bloggers are not required to mention that the items they review were provided to them courtesy of General Mills. Bloggers are also not required to write positive reviews, although they are asked to contact the company if there is an item that they feel they can’t write a positive review about (supposedly so the issue or concern can be rectified). So far, just about all the reviews written have been positive.
MyBlogSpark is just another example of large corporations finally realizing how powerful bloggers’ voices are. The combined audience of the 900+ blogs included in the MyBlogSpark community is over 8 million. It’s not surprising that companies are leveraging that power.
It’s also another example of how licensed blog syndication through a company like Newstex can help bloggers get in front of corporate influencers who just might call on them to participate in an interesting or unique initiative such as MyBlogSpark. Since many corporate professionals can access content via Blogs On Demand through their corporate libraries or researchers alongside content from well-known and highly respected media organizations, they’re realizing more and more that the shift from traditional media to user-generated content continues to grow in influence and reach.