Is Trying to Make a Difference Worth It?

As a social good and human interest blogger, it is no surprise that I love to write about companies who are giving back.  There are so many ways to pay it forward and one of them is by using our collective consumer power.  Cause marketing is not just for posterity anymore.  Consumers want brands to give to causes and to communities in a way that shows genuine commitment and involvement.

Here’s the proof.  Nine out of ten consumers want to know what companies are doing to make the world a better place and yet seven in ten report being confused by the message companies use to talk about their efforts and impacts.  Someone (ahem) needs to spread the word about these social good efforts through a cause marketing blog.

Social responsibility matters.  Despite watching their wallets closely during these economic times, consumers are twice as likely as they were in 1993 to purchase a product because it was associated with a cause.  Four in five Americans say they wish brands would support causes and would consider switching brands if one supports a cause and another does not.

Research junkies like me have known for years now that women look online for purchase recommendations.  We do our homework and we trust each other’s recommendations.  In fact, more than 60% of women who are active blog users say they have made a purchase based on a recommendation from a blog.  Information found online was considered more significant than information found in traditional media, including magazines, newspapers or TV.

So many companies have invested all of their time and energy into Facebook, thinking that Facebook should be the source of disseminating information about their products. Yet women actually prefer blogs over Facebook for getting product information and help in making purchase decisions.  In BlogHer’s 2012 study of Women and Social Media, an incredible 85% of women said that blogs are their most trusted form of information, tied with Pinterest and ahead of both Twitter and Facebook.

Now it is up to those of us who blog for social good to get brands to understand these numbers and see that bloggers can work with them in an authentic manner to get the word out about their causes and initiatives that give back.

I struggle sometimes because this blog and my social good/human interest focus does not always get the type of posterity that a DIY, celebrity, recipe or craft blog might enjoy.  I envy the bloggers who get the types of numbers and perks I will never see and I truly congratulate them on their success.  Yet I love what I do.  This is what is authentic to me.  If consumers think more highly of brands associated with causes then I want to keep on doing this, and perhaps make a small difference somewhere along the line.

What are you doing to ensure that your target market knows about the causes you support?


Sources:  2010 Cone Cause Evolution Study, 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Study, Game-Changers: Women Defining the New American Marketplace, Fleishman Hillard & Hearst White Paper: Women, Power and Money, BlogHer 2012 Women & Social Media Study,


  1. Please keep doing what you are doing, but I do understand your frustration. One of the things that also bother me in the social good marketing campaigns that companies often think that bloggers who write about social good and do social good want to work for free.

    • That’s true, Katja. I love this line of work and I am so happy for those who are achieving success with it. Hopefully companies will start to see the value of this real estate too. :)

  2. I agree with Katja! Keep it up Jessica. I hope that soon companies will continue to see the huge benefit to spreading the word about their social good and PAYING amazing marketers like yourself to do it. I get frustrated when I receive emails that basically say, “Look at what good cause our brand supports. I know you will want to share this with your readers.” For Free. Cause it is too good not to……

    • Thanks, Annie. If customers continue to prove that social good is important in their purchasing decisions, hopefully the marketing teams will too.

  3. It is hard, because sometimes I find out a company that I believed was doing social good, is not.

  4. I think you hit the nail on the head in your post without realizing it. It’s much easier to pin a recipe, gawk at a celeb, or find recommendations for diaper cream than it is to research and understand cause marketing and tease out if companies are really ‘walking the walk’ so to speak.

    As such I think it’s more important than ever for bloggers to have a voice to talk about social good, and cause marketing campaigns to educate their audiences and share what they’ve learned from the companies, the beneficiaries, and the problems or issues that may arise from social good marketing.

  5. I agree with Kelly: You nailed it. As a tech blogger, I feel the same way many days. The crafters, chefs, and fashionistas are getting the highlights; companies don’t know what to do with the rest of us. They aren’t sure where we fit.

    I think you’re doing exactly what you should be doing: calling attention to it and showing how you can make a difference. You bring up excellent points about blogs being trusted sources of information; they must be part of the overall strategy.

    • Thanks, Melanie. I think Pinterest has created an even greater divide between those crafters, chefs, and fashionistas and the rest of us. I do hope that the companies get that the rest of us still have a great deal to offer.

  6. it will happen. you’re an amazing writer in an amazing niche. but, with that being said…i totally know how you feel!!

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