Bloggers claim to be as influential as mainstream media but 69% of businesses fail to grasp their importance
The Truth About Brands and Blogging: new research study into blogging released at World PR Forum in Melbourne
Sixty-nine per cent of businesses are failing to grasp the importance of new media and blogging despite the fact that 95 per cent of bloggers want to work with brands, according to the results of IMPACT Communications Australia’s new research paper, The Truth about Brands and Blogging, that will be launched at the World PR Forum today.
“Bloggers have become absolutely essential to those marketing their businesses. Fifty-one per cent of bloggers believe they are important to influence niche markets, whilst 25 per cent believe they are as influential as the mainstream media,” says report author and IMPACT director, Nicole Webb, who will reveal the results at a session entitled ‘Communicating and Connecting In Digital And Social Spaces’ at 11.30am on Tuesday, 20 November 2012.
IMPACT’s in-depth study, The Truth about Brands and Blogging demystifies bloggers and how brands can work with them. The report draws on quantitative surveys and in-depth interviews with prominent Australian bloggers. It also includes survey data from 17 PR firms in 14 countries which, like IMPACT, are members of international PR network ECCO International Communications Network.
“The world has changed. No longer is marketing about reaching the most people, it’s about reaching the most engaged. Now it is bloggers, with their strong community of dedicated readers, who drive customer’s purchasing decisions. It’s new-fashioned word of mouth,” says Webb.
Despite this, 43 per cent of companies fear that bloggers are risky and simply don’t know how to work with them. And bloggers know it; 56 per cent said marketing and PR professionals simply don’t understand blogging.
Webb believes that most businesses fail to recognise the highly personal nature of blogging. The study found 43 per cent of bloggers believe creating a unique and personal voice in their writing was the most important element of blogging, while 93 per cent of bloggers won’t write about products they have not experienced personally.
“The approaches that are used to communicate with traditional media won’t work with bloggers because journalists and bloggers are not the same thing. For bloggers, their personal experience is as important as what happens in world stage,” says Webb.
While Webb believes all brands need to understand the blogging communications, she warns that blogger outreach requires skill. She says, “Bloggers are much maligned and often receive patronising demands to run stories. Blogger outreach requires skill. In fact, 83 per cent of bloggers want to work with PR agencies with a Written Code of Conduct for Blogger Outreach.”
The Truth About Brands Blogging identifies the seven deadly sins of blogger outreach. They are:
- Ignorance of the blog and its community of readers: Put simply, don’t send a leg of lamb to a vegetarian blog! Know that you are talking to the right blogger and the right readers.
- Failure to build relationships: Bloggers are different to the mainstream media. It’s not appropriate to fire off media releases scattergun. You need to be part of the community and have relationships with bloggers.
- Impersonal approaches: Don’t even think about ‘Dear Blogger’ emails. Not only will this result in failure, it will burn relationships.
- Lack of respect for bloggers’ editorial integrity: Free products will not result in blogger’s coverage so don’t demand or expect it. Treat bloggers with the same respect you would afford a professional journalist.
- Ignorance regarding bloggers’ juggle: 87% of bloggers blog as a hobby while they juggle jobs and families. Marketers need to be mindful of their time and not expect them to incur costs when writing about a product or service.
- Sycophantic behaviour: Don’t fawn to cover the fact that you don’t know about the blog. Bloggers can see through insincere approaches.
- General ignorance about blogging: Bloggers are a forgiving bunch and they understand that blogging is new to many companies. Try to understand the basics before picking up the phone.