As part of their Sears Grants a Wish campaign, Sears has given a smattering of bloggers the opportunity to grant their own wish and write about their experiences on their blogs. Each blogger went on a shopping trip and wrote a post about their excursion. Chris Heuer's Insytes was one of those blogs.
I had been blissfully ignorant of "blogging" until a few months ago. My former impression was that blogging was a lot like an online diary; people writing about their days, their families, work, beliefs, hobbies. It wasn't until I started to explore this whole blogging phenomenon that I found there's a whole marketing niche that's developed. Companies are offering bloggers the opportunity to try their products, write a post about the product and then offer the same to their readers.
All I can say is pure-marketing-genius! Companies are touching consumers almost directly by promoting their products this way. Bloggers are getting more readers to their site, readers that may share similar interests and likes. And readers, much like me, are having their initial perception of blogging altered. I, like many other people, have found blogs that I actually like and enjoy coming back to to read. It's not all "Janie's potty-training epic" or "My boss is a mind-numbing cheesedoodle". I've discovered sites that have given me great tips for shopping on a dime; computer tips, tricks, and fixes; how to work that dang digital camera that I lost the manual for. It's a wealth of knowledge out there, and I've only just begun discovering new blogs to read and come back to. Now everyone can be a novelist and write what they know.
The one thing that I have found with this whole blog-marketing thing is the lack of an "honest" review. I understand it..heck, if someone was giving me something gratis I'd probably be blowing smoke up their fanny too and telling everyone this great cleaning product not only cleans your home but fills your gas tank, housebreaks your puppy and angels will sing when you use it. But that's not what I always want to know. I want an honest review, one that gives me the pros and cons and then I can decide for myself if the "suck" is something I can live with. No product is a miracle. No product works perfectly 100% of the time. I can deal with that. As a consumer, I expect that. Hello companies...I can, and frequently do, make a decision to buy a product I know does not work exactly the way you portray it. That's why when I find an honest, accurate review, I embrace it and, by God here's a newsflash, I actually READ it! After reading Chris's review, I'm more inclined to shop at Sears..not less. Yes, there were some points that weren't all cuddles and kittens..but now that I know that, I've decided I can live with them and I'd still shop at Sears. I want honesty in the blogs I read, and I want them in the stores I choose to shop.
So if you've stuck with me to this paragraph, I'm going to encourage you to click over to Chris Heuer's Insytes and READ his honest review of his shopping trip at Sears. There's some valuable information in that post. After you're done reading, you can enter to win your own "wish" courtesy of Sears...one of three great prize packages Chris has put together for his readers. Choose one and one will be chosen to win. There's a Mind/Body/Soul package, a Media Package, or a Gamers Package. Chris has even offered to let his winner choose their own package, just go to Sears and find the item numbers of the things near and dear to your heart that you just can't live without (up to $500) and put them in your post. Go swiftly, young blog surfer, this giveaway deadline is December 23rd.