Controversial I know, we have all experienced this in one capacity or another, whether you are a blogger feeling like a PR won’t take you seriously or a PR who is under pressure to focus on the ‘A list titles’, it’s a tricky situation. Remember these are Â just my observation and opinion.
Bloggers and journalist are not equal, they are different and serve different functions. I would say that they are both still very important but for different reasons to consumers, brands and PR. Things are always changing and at the moment there is a need to find a balance between bloggers and journalists to create a broad range of opportunities, however, things are always changing and with the internet becoming our main source of information and entertainment, things will start to tilt towards favouritism to the blogger or online magazine.
So, let me break it down for you, my thoughts on the importance of both the traditional journalist and the blogger.
Why are journalists important?Â
Traditional journalism and printed media are currently viewed as the mostÂ prestigiousÂ places to place brands, the ability to claim a product is ‘As Seen in Vogue’ or ‘Cosmopolitan Award Winning’ has a lot of clout from a consumer, PR and brand point of view. It is a fantastic feeling when a brand you represent graces the pages of any printed magazine and to make it into a ‘A list’ publication is very satisfying.
Competition to get into the printed pages is tough, PR companies are set targets by brands and have to fight for the journalists attention, because the client want to see their brand in the top magazines. Hence why, sometimes when a blogger doesn’t receive much attention from a brand’s PR it is likely to be because their budget is focused on achieving printed coverage.
Press clippings are the pride of the PR world, it looks amazing to claim to have graced the pages of ELLE, Vogue or Grazia, it adds value to your service and makes the brand happy!
However, it is incredibly difficult to measure the return on investment on printed PR, if there is a really good piece of coverage the brand might see a uplift in sales, but it’s not always easy to link this to the press coverage. So this is where the online becomes more appealing.
Why are bloggers important?
With the continuing growth of the blogosphere and the ways that we can interact with brands, PRs and consumers, online PR is becoming more appealing for all. Internet coverage is a lot easier for a PR and brand to measure success of, if a blog links to a website, it is easy for the PR/brand to measure how many hits come from that piece of coverage and even what percentage make a purchase. Because of this technology, online PR is easier to justify as you can see a clearer return on investment.
The blogger also offers a personality behind a review, that may be lacking from some printed publications. Readers feel a connection with the author and therefore can relate to and trust their opinions.
How are things changing?Â
It is quite clear that things are starting to tilt in favour of online and bloggers for PR. Magazines are investing more time and effort into their online presences, interacting with bloggers with awards and collaborations.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but a far few magazine journalists who have previously been linked to specific publications have gone freelance, is this a sign of the decline of printed journalism? The clear trend for offering awesome freebies with magazines, promotional reduced prices and rebranding also indicate that there is a clear battle for readers. Don’t you think? All of this makes me think that things are certainly changing, the internet is becoming more important as the days go by.
So, how do these factors effect us bloggers? Here are a few tips on how to deal with the current situation and how to prepare for the future.
Good Blogger Practise
- Think about how many bloggers are out there (LOADS!) what is your USP? Think about what makes your blog different and valuable to a reader, brand and PR. Don’t think that purely owning a blog means that you are valuable. It takes work.
- If you want to contact a brand/PR think about how many other people are emailing them with the same request. What can you do to make your emails memorable, appealing and interesting? Also, don’t expect an instant reply, PRs/brands are mega busy andÂ probablyÂ have about 200 other bloggers emailing them too.
- If you want to work with PRs/brands be professional. Even it you blog as a hobby, a PR isn’t going to work with someone who can’t be professional.
- If a PR/brand chooses not to reply or work with you don’t take it personally there will most likely be a perfectly valid reason which could be to do with their budget, PR focus (the brand might not want blog coverage)