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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who REALLY Cares About Bloggers

In Just a few weeks I will be heading to DC to Cover CPAC. This year I will also be "working" at CPAC as a volunteer for the National Blogger's Club -Blog Bash.  NBC President Ali Akbar wrote this great post about the passion of our bloggers and our sponsors. With his permission I share it with you guys below


Bloggers are not only the pulse of the conservative movement, they are the heartbeat and guide the moral direction of this world. Bloggers have toppled corrupt corporations, tyrannical governments, and exposed what the mainstream media has refused. Free speech may be the only right that’s actually expanding — thank a blogger for that freedom.

It’s easy for me to sit here and pitch that our sponsors are the best in the world. But objectively, these are the groups in the movement that are willing to give bloggers cash money so that they can have 6 hours once a year where many of us can get together face-to-face. Blog Bash is about honoring bloggers, not about relentless pitching.

I’m going to fire this first shot. I’m a member of the consultant-class. I make money from pitching writers, reporters and bloggers stories. I’m pretty good at what I do and sometimes the check (when it comes) is a healthy one.

That’s why I do Blog Bash — bloggers don’t pay a dime and our registration process favors bloggers who live outside of the beltway and aren’t paid for their work. My friends help me take home a check. All too often, there are digital media firms, public relations agencies, and non-profit think tanks that want bloggers to post their fundraising link or the latest oppo research, but don’t do anything for the bloggers. Instead of building relationships and a buck or two back to the blogosphere — they take credit for blogger’s work and take home a fat check. No more.

That’s over. That’s why we have the National Bloggers Club. Together we are strong. In fact, we are the most powerful force for good this world knows.

These folks care about bloggers. How much? A ton. Most of these organizations not only give cash, but also ask what else they can do for bloggers. These organizations have staff dedicated to interacting with bloggers on a day to day basis. These organizations and firms acknowledge that the blogosphere has an ever-increasing role in picking the winners and losers.

Think about this… these organizations cannot be the headliner. 95% of them don’t get to speak or take the stage. They cannot plaster their logo all over the event. Rules even prevent them from handing out materials unless they’re in the top tiers. But what about ROI? We’ve got it and we’re second to none. Our organizations are our partners. When True the Vote came under fire last year, who was there for them? Bloggers. When John Sexton received the Blogger of the Year award, our friend Andrew Breitbart hired him. When bloggers asked for dedicated advertising buys, Americans for Prosperity stepped up and has benefited from these placements. Not only do these organizations care, but they’re seeing a return from their participation. See, we don’t fundraise all year and we have no major donors. We take no policy positions. We are here to facilitate and our sponsors value that.

We made sure that there was a low bar to jump over. An organization has to donate $350. That’s it! We understood that some of those grassroots organizations couldn’t afford a lot, but the $350 covers their food, drinks, and helps us pay for up to two attendees. We’re big tent. One must consider, why wouldn’t a group give just $350?

Firms like Active Engagement have donated to every major Blog Bash event we’ve held. Every. Single. One.

Last year was the first year we had a content party sponsoring, with Townhall.com chipping in. Now we have other content properties donating like Breitbart.com, ViralRead.com, and Townhall.com has returned. These organizations that pay their bloggers understand and are willing to help cover the costs of what I call “heartland bloggers.”

We also have our first pro-life group this year: Americans United of Life Action. We’re proud to have our natural allies realizing that we are here to stay. We also have more congressional participation than ever before with the following Members of Congress giving: Speaker John Boehner (second year in a row), Former RSC Chairman Rep. Tom Price, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. We have a few more surprises up our sleeves. Oh, and Facebook is returning this year! Pumped about involved more tech companies, because we are their market… geeking it out.

And I would be remise to not thank the American Conservative Union. The strategic partnership we have with them allows this party to happen. All sponsors matter.

When Melissa, Aaron, and myself first started paying for this ourselves, we had no idea what it would turn into. We just wanted to feed our friends one meal because the trip up to DC can be so expensive. I’m proud of our history and excited about future.

The evening of March 14th, everything changes. I will take to the stage and encourage my peers to start trashing pitches from firms and organizations that haven’t shown they care about the blogosphere. The regular pitches will stop and consultants will give back to bloggers. We are the largest party at CPAC. We are the most influential. We built that!

It’s time to stop using bloggers and start working with them. This isn’t about Blog Bash. There are plenty of other ways to give back… but how do you choose which bloggers to reward and which to ignore? Why not benefit as many as possible at the largest gathering and the only academy of bloggers of this type?

Are you with me?

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