Earlier this year I attended the annual Problogger event on the Gold Coast. At the quirky Qt hotel in Surfers Paradise, 400 bloggers from categories as diverse as travel, parenting, fashion, health & wellness gathered with one common goal: to learn more about blogging.
Bloggers are in it to win it
The Problogger Event (#PBEvent), was a fascinating 2 day conference of networking, seminars, panel discussions and keynote speeches. Darren and the team did a great job this year (and there was even a vegan, gluten free buffett – woohoo). One thing was clear – these bloggers are serious about treating their blogs as businesses. Gone are the days where unassuming bloggers share their opinions online merely to pass the time of day. There is now a very clear opportunity for bloggers to turn their digital platforms into money earning machines. And why shouldn’t they? Blogging is time consuming stuff. Trust me, I know because I have my own blog and let’s just say the writing element of blogging probably only constitutes 15% of what’s actually involved. In which case, why shouldn’t bloggers earn dollars for their time?
Interestingly, the content at the Problogger event mirrored this theme with numerous discussions and presentations on monetizing your blog. Brands can no longer get away with sending bloggers some product in the hope for some free earned media. Bloggers now deserve to be paid for their efforts and they know it.
The thing that stood out for me was just how savvy these self-starter entrepreneurs are. And focused too – I have never seen so much laptop and smartphone usage at one event! Social media is clearly top of mind for bloggers and perhaps this is why now, more than ever they are attracting the attention of the big brands. You see, bloggers have something that big brands don’t. They have authentic audiences who trust every word that they say. This coupled with exceptional social media skills and they have a pretty mean offering when it comes to branded content.
We all know that Bill Gates was way ahead of his time back in 1995 when he said ‘Content is king’, and the stats have finally caught up. A Gartner survey earlier this year found marketers spend almost as much on content creation and management as they do on paid online display. So content creation is big news for brands – and there are multiple ways of doing it. So why use bloggers to create branded content?
3 theories why bloggers pack a punch
I have a few theories on this. The first is that bloggers are clear, undisputable influencers. Who can argue with a highly engaged readership of 20,000+? And let’s not forget, these readers have all been built up from scratch: with no publisher backing and often no investment other than the bloggers time.
My second theory lies in the very nature of blogging. If you think abut where blogging came from, it started as a channel to express authentic opinions. It always has been a model based on credibility, which is the total opposite to advertising. If you consider that the very purpose of advertising is to sell, and at some level as consumers, we are always aware of that fact. Blogging however, has always been about authentic, credible opinions, so it’s very essence comes from a place of truth. Hence why there is so much value for brands to penetrate these platforms.
Thirdly, I believe the beauty of bloggers working with brands is that an opinion from someone impartial, is worth so much more than the opinion of the brand its-self. Let me give you an example:
Brand X says: Our new chocolate bar tastes like silky bliss! You’ll be in heaven!
Your response: hmmm right? They would say that! How do I know it’s true?
Blogger X says: I tried this chocolate bar recently and wow I really loved it. So silky! Mmmm.
Your response: That chocolate bar sounds yummy and blogger X knows what she’s talking about, I’m going to try it!
The crux is one tiny four letter word:
Consumers trust bloggers. They do not trust brands (unless they are long term advocates which is a whole different blog post).
And so I digress…back to Problogger 2013, where bloggers are not only learning how to create and sell products via their blogs but also how to launch their speaker careers and freelance writing portfolios.
The rise of the humble blogger continues to fascinate me. These are a bunch of highly driven, entrepreneurial, talented people. All I can say is watch this space, because there’s only one-way for bloggers to go and that’s up. And if you’re a brand, now is the time to get involved, before your competitors do.
Are you a brand and have you worked with bloggers? Tell us about your experience.
Are you a blogger and have you worked with brands? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
More Feature articles:
- How Not to Work with Bloggers
- 5 Ways to Ensure You’re Ahead of the Digital Curve in 2013
- The Influencer Vs Advocate Debate