Blogs are influencing purchase decisions and recommendations more than ever. According to Technorati’s 2011 State of the Blogosphere report, 38% of bloggers talk about brands positively and negatively on their blogs, and 34% write product, service, and brand reviews.
Furthermore, bloggers are influencing each other a lot more than they were just a year ago. In 2010, 29% of bloggers claimed to be influenced by the blogs they read, but in 2011, that percentage jumped to 68%.
There is no doubt that bloggers are gaining influence, particularly professional bloggers who are paid to write about specific topics. These authoritative bloggers have carved out a niche as credible sources of information, and people are listening to them.
Unfortunately, the 2011 State of the Blogosphere report provides some unfavorable information related to how brands interact with bloggers. Despite the broad reach and influence that bloggers have, only 1 in 2 feel that their interactions with brands are favorable. 17% indicated that brand representatives have asked bloggers to publish something or do something that would compromise the blogger’s credibility or the blog’s content standards. Furthermore, only 14% said that brand representatives are knowledgeable about the blog, its content, and its audience, and just 16% said that brand representatives are actually interested in building relationships with them. Amazingly, only 23% of brand representatives provide information that has value for a blogger’s readers.
Those are some poor statistics that clearly show brand representatives don’t understand how they need to approach and interact with influential bloggers. Traditional publicity pitches don’t work, and brand representatives need to work on understanding the blogger, the blog’s content, and the blog’s audience in order to build relationships with the blog and its readers. The statistics in the paragraph above are disappointing to say the least.
Are you or your brand representatives approaching bloggers in the wrong way? You’re not doing them any favors by “letting” them write about your brand. Influential bloggers know that they’re helping brands by writing about them. There needs to be something in it for them and their audiences or they won’t help you. Remember, influential bloggers are very busy people who get dozens or hundreds of pitches each day. If you want to get in front of their audiences, you need to do more than send an email with a copy of your latest press release.
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