The Truth about Brands and Bloggers in 2014

In the last two years, there has been a massive shift in what motivates Australian bloggers and how they expect to deal with brands. New research- shared for the first time at Mumbrella360 2014- reveals the key lessons of this shift.

The study was born out of IMPACT’s real relationship with bloggers. The paper includes results of a survey of over 100 Australian bloggers, in-depth qualitative interviews, literature review of academic journals, media articles and similar U.S studies. IMPACT also surveyed 24 PR firms in 19 countries, all to develop a best practice model for PRs and brands working with bloggers.

There is no doubt that the traditional media is undergoing rapid change. Not only are we demanding our news in new interactive digital formats, readers are consuming news from a variety of new sources, including social networks and blogs.

Four years ago, IMPACT realised that bloggers were growing in influence – and quickly. We also realised that our clients, didn’t understand this new form of media. The second edition of The Truth about Brands and Bloggers, is an in-depth study that decodes and demystifies bloggers and how brands can work with them. The Truth about Brands and Bloggers was born out of IMPACT’s involvement in the blogging community and extensive research.

When IMPACT released the first edition of The Truth About Brands and Blogging in 2012, we found a group of passionate creatives producing exciting and amazing content. Often it was without reward or remuneration. We also found an eager audience ready to lap up the advice and information provided by influential and trusted bloggers.

Since then bloggers have continued to grow in influence with 37 per cent now claiming to be as influential as the mainstream media. A further 40 per cent claim to influence niche audiences.

In the past two years, IMPACT has seen bloggers move from simple storytellers to empire builders, creating their brand via their unique blogging voice.

In 2012, when this survey was first conducted, bloggers’ number one motivation was having fun. By 2014, growing audience ranked as the biggest motivator for bloggers, increasing by 20 per cent.

With bloggers’ increased expertise comes recognition of the value of their influence. PR and marketers face a savvier group who are demanding the respect and, to an extent, the budgets afforded traditional media.

Sponsored posts provide income to 75 per cent of Australian bloggers, 64 per cent gain income from advertising and 22 per cent from ambassador roles. Other income streams come from photography, styling, recipe development or providing social media consulting advice. While the media report on ‘million-dollar mum bloggers’, the truth is most bloggers earn less than $50 per month.
Despite bloggers’ growing influence, marketers are still slow to catch on to how to work with this new media.

62 per cent of PR firms globally believe their clients do not understand blogging. The same amount does not value coverage in blogs as highly as traditional media coverage. Only 37 per cent indicated they intend to increase the budgets allocated to bloggers.

Part of the challenge lies in evaluation blogs with bloggers and marketers speaking a different language when it comes to metrics.
According to bloggers, one of the biggest mistakes made by marketers is treating bloggers and traditional media have the same. Not a single blogger surveyed in 2012 or 2104 listed breaking stories, like a traditional journalist, as a concern.

Smart bloggers understand the key to developing an influential blog that will attract revenue lies in creating a unique voice. 84 per cent listed this as the most important aspect to blogging, doubling from the 2012 result of 47 per cent.

A further 67 per cent said they were concerned with creating unique content, whilst 42 per cent aimed to create engaged discussion.
This personality-driven format brings a different approach to writing. Bloggers are open about the subjectivity of their writing and with this comes a new style of honesty. In fact, 90% of bloggers would refuse to write about a product or service they hadn’t experienced personally. It would be seen as unethical.

Bloggers represent the new guard of the media. They understand how to leverage multiple platforms and write for a dedicated and engaged community of readers, passionate about a topic.

95% of bloggers link their writing across social media with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram dominating.

While new forms of media offer new opportunities for brands and PRs, new techniques are required to ensure that the blogger & brand interaction is mutually beneficial.

The Truth About Brands and Bloggers in 2014 offers a best practice model to take the guesswork out of dealing with bloggers.
For a complimentary copy of the report or more information, contact IMPACT Communications.

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