This weekend I spoke at Type A bootcamp in Las Vegas and attended Affiliate Summit the following days.
It’s been an amazing experience, but an extremely challenging one as well. And I’m not just talking about the challenge of being an introvert in a room with 4,000 other people (for real).
The key difference between Affiliate Summit and the other conferences I’ve been to is it’s not just bloggers. Now on the one hand, that’s AMAZING. I’ve made some incredible contacts, and honestly I’ve told almost every single brand contact I’ve made about you guys. They are really excited to work with you and I’m putting together a post with information about different affiliates for you. This is a huge market that a lot of bloggers are missing out on. Affiliates beyond amazon and how to use them better… great things are coming this year, and I’m excited to have made these connections for all of us.
The down side has been being around so many business people who think poorly of businesswomen and/or bloggers. Since I fall under both categories I’m not sure which it is…But while some businesses have been completely professional, welcoming and been incredible contacts, others have fallen short.
There have been a few people who wouldn’t even look me in the eye when I walked up to their booth to introduce myself.
A few have blown off meetings with me (meetings they organized and asked me for).
And a few have pushed right past me to get to some one else instead of acknowledging me.
Before I go any farther let me tell you I’m not a woman that screams sexism at every turn. But from some of these brands there’s no other word to use and it’s absolutely appalling.
But here’s the thing. Yes, this is incredibly frustrating, completely unfair and I expect more from all of these people, (and humanity in general) but I’m also viewing it as a challenge. I’m taking it upon myself to change the way the blogging industry and female entrepreneurs are being viewed in this space…and it’s working.
One person in particular was looking over my shoulder hoping to start a conversation with the person behind me in line as he was shaking my hand. But I didn’t back down. I stared him straight in the eye and told him what I do. By the time I got to the end of my pitch explaining the types of things I manage and the things bloggers like myself could do for his company I had his attention and eye contact.
Should I have to prove myself before I’m even worth eye contact? No, I shouldn’t. But I’m doing it anyway. Even if I won’t work with a few key people here who have treated me poorly, I’m still excited that I’ve had the chance to change the way they perceiving bloggers and our industry.
If we carry ourselves in a professional manner at every conference, in every email and with every tweet, we can make a change in how we are viewed industry wide. It’s slow progress, but it’s happening. Let’s raise the bar.
I write this to encourage you not to be discouraged when you get those low-ball emails, or businesses treat you like you aren’t their equal. Use the opportunity to respectfully educate them about how incredible the blogging industry is, and what you do to benefit brands. Because in reality we are equals, even if they don’t understand it. In fact, we could revolutionize the marketing of their business if they only took the chance to listen.
We represent a major player in the marketing industry right now, and while some brands understand that, there are others who just don’t see the big picture yet.
Let’s work together to raise the bar. And keep our heads held high, even when we are treated as less-than. At the end of the day, whether we have the respect of a few people in suits or not, we are rocking the marketing world right now and pioneering a brand new industry. Our sites generate sales, and it’s a powerful tool for businesses.
We are entrepreneurs, business owners, and yes some of us happen to be moms and very few of us have a background in business. But we are businesswomen none the less and can work together to make our entire industry viewed as the marketing power house that it is.