The other day on social media I mentioned that retailer XXX doesn't give a shit about blogs in the RPG hobby. I stand by those words but they need some further explanation.
Back in the "way back", when a Mr. Fannon was Community Director (or whatever title) at a certain online RPG store, he had a program in place for bloggers and their blogs (possibly podcasters too, but I can't say for sure) Those blogs that applied and got approved were given "featured reviewer" status so that they would get access to review copies of gaming products (reviews were then posted on said blogs), which was (and still is) cool. More importantly, they were given products and store credit to give away on their blogs to their readers.
Holy shit. Giving away free stuff on blogs would be beneficial to online stores and the publishers that sell through them? Say it isn't so!
Publishers see the benefit of giving away free stuff via blogs. Hell, I organize an OSR Christmas every year were publishers (and gamers), not retailers, donate gifts to the gaming community. Their generosity is humbling. I make an announcement and those that want to give, give.
What about the online stores? Nope. Why? Probably because even the biggest blogs aren't seen to drive enough traffic to justify the effort (the expense is minimal)
The thing is, the copies or credit given out to the community benefits both the blog and the retailer. The blog gets traffic and the retailer gets folks following links to products that they have for sale. Oh, and some lucky reader gets free shit.
Strangely enough, I'm not frustrated for The Tavern, as we do enough traffic and affiliate sales to give away store credit on our own. Giving back to the community we're all a part of is fun. Really.
I'm frustrated for the smaller blogs and the newer blogs that have great content and ideas and just need a little push to get more eyes on them. The Tavern was small and new itself at one time and it's success was certainly due in part to Mr. Fannon's program. Of that, I have no doubt.
To the new kid on the block, Table Top Library, I suggest you reach out to the blogs in the OSR and beyond and put together a program that will benefit them, you, their readers and your potential customers.
For the old kid on the block, I suggest you look to the past for ways to expand your reach and goodwill within the gaming community.
We are in a new era of online sales to our hobby. Competition may soon have an effect on the current monopoly, and blogs and even podcasts may be the means to reach out to new customers and maintain old customers, all while strengthening the online community that makes those purchases in the first place.
Stepping off my soapbox.
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