Traditional PR has always been built on establishing and maintaining relationships with journalists. Long recognised and respected as the gatekeepers of information, journalists have been the go-to people in society when brands want to get their name out into the world. It’s a relationship that is still widely regarded as important, but now there’s another player in the ball game: online media.
With the increasing prominence of citizen journalism – that is, journalism created by the public for the public –, brands and agencies have recognised that they can no longer just focus on newspaper, magazine, and broadcast journalists. The net has been cast wide, and YouTube celebrities, Twitter users, and bloggers are now a central part of any outreach campaign.
But the distinction between bloggers and journalists can still seem blurred, with many agencies and brands not understanding the difference between the two.
Bloggers’ opinions are trusted and influential
When it comes to bloggers, however, readers are far less skeptical: 89 percent of blog readers are swayed by a blogger’s product recommendations and 93 percent of bloggers only writing about products they have tried or experienced personally . With this level of trust and openness – many bloggers will disclose when they have received a product for free for a review, and if a post is sponsored by a company – a blogger’s influence across their readership is incredibly powerful.
Bloggers just wanna have fun
Bloggers aren’t most motivated by identifying trends. Their key concern isn’t increasing their influence or making millions of dollars. In fact, a research paper by Impact Communications shows that like Cyndi Lauper, bloggers just want to have fun. Bloggers want to share their experiences, and write about what matters to them. They want to live life and enjoy it, not write about things that don’t have relevance to themselves or their readership.
Traditional journalism is seen as objective; bloggers advocate and own their own opinions
For many journalists and former journalists (sans opinion and editorial), it has always been a challenge to balance between reporting the facts and reporting what the individual journalist believes should, or should not be, heard. Objectivity has been at the crux of many journalists’ code of ethics, but when it comes to bloggers, it’s a different story.
Bloggers want to share what they think, and communicate their passions and thoughts. They want to connect with others and share in experiences. They make no claims to objectivity; instead, they pride themselves on talking about what they believe and what they think. Journalists are bound by their publication’s style guides and are subject to their editor’s discretion; bloggers, on the other hand, answer to themselves.
The million dollar question: what does this mean for brands?
More than ever before, relationships matter. Brands can’t just use creative, quirky stunts to ensure they will get in the media; instead, brands and agencies need to focus on what bloggers truly want and are interested in.
Instead of a blanket media release, it’s all about a tailored approach to individuals. Bloggers want to work with brands, and brands want to work with bloggers – it’s just about finding a way to work together and create a dialogue. Bloggers can be powerful brand advocates, but brands need to have a separate digital outreach strategy and talk about what will work best for the blogger’s readership and the brand’s customer base.
In the end, the relationship between blogger and brand is like a friendship: the more time you put in, the more you will understand each other and the more you will both get out of it.
Original post here.