Independents

The PR Adviser: Are Bloggers Here to Stay?

IndependentsNov 13, 2017

The PR Adviser: Are Bloggers Here to Stay?

Yes, says Lilian Raji, though her affirmative answer comes with a few caveats.

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Lilian Raji is a strategic marketing and public relations adviser who helps luxury lifestyle brands sell more products to luxury buyers.

Hello My Readers!

This month’s question comes from the lovely Marina Paes de Barros with Brumani

Q. What do you think of bloggers? Do you think they’re here to stay, or will they go away?

A. Fair warning: I’m going to be incredibly honest, as I wouldn’t be a good adviser otherwise. Tissues and kisses for anyone’s hurt feelings.  

That caveat aside, let me first say there are some very good bloggers out there. They started blogging when I was still struggling with a former assistant’s insistence of texting me after I specifically told her email only. She’s no longer my assistant, but I’ve since embraced texting just as many PR professionals have embraced bloggers.

This column is not about the hard-working bloggers who’ve exchanged blood, sweat and tears for their success.

It’s about the bloggers who email me, declaring their 300,000 Twitter followers entitles them to receive free products. Unfortunately for them, I use a free service called Twitter Audit, which tells me what percentage of those followers are actually real.

So, to the blogger that emailed me demanding free jewelry in exchange for “exposure” to her 260,000 Twitter followers, the reason I didn’t get back to you, after I spent two hours laughing at your audacity, is because 82 percent of your Twitter followers are fake.

And herein lies my problem with most bloggers today.  

This new crop of bloggers have disregarded the price of admission paid by reputable bloggers. Rather than blood-sweat-and-tear it to the top, they’ve paid companies to generate fake followers on their social media platforms. They then email PR people with their bulls and hits numbers and demand we give them the world in exchange for promoting our clients to what amounts to thin air!

Time for a story from the PR Adviser archives.

In 2012, I was hired by the makers of Elf on the Shelf to assist with their holiday PR campaign. To those who hate that elf: I’m sorry to have been part of the problem.  

A blogger called me at the height of the campaign and spent 30 minutes telling me how her vast network of mommy bloggers would initiate the most incredible endorsement campaign this side of Oprah’s Favorite Things! All I had to do was give her 100 elf kits, at $45 apiece, for free.

I applauded her desire to contribute to the elf’s already immense popularity

but, unfortunately, we’d just delivered the last of our available elves to Anderson Cooper’s now-defunct talk show, “Anderson Live;” I had none left to give. I offered some elf accessories instead as an alternative.

Anyone want to venture a guess at her response? No, no, it was nothing like you’re thinking.  

It was far worse.

She spent the next 10 minutes berating me, telling me how ungrateful I was, how her network was so huge that it would help an already-sold-out product sell more. I’d never had a conversation like this before, but I learned that should I ever enter a conversation like this again, I should simply hang up the phone.

Does this illustrate how I feel about bad bloggers?

Now, on to your next question: Are bloggers here to stay?

Well, yes, but it will be impossible for bad bloggers to continue their schadenfreude.

First, because I’m going to teach you how not to fall prey to their nonsense.  And second, because the Federal Trade Commission has significantly upped their surveillance of blogger activity.

The FTC is a much longer discussion, so I’ll save that for a future column. Let’s talk now about how to approach blogger requests.

When a blogger contacts you with whatever fantasy they have, use Twitter Audit to audit their Twitter account. If the results yield more than 30 percent fake, pass.  

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to have 0 percent fake followers as everyone with a Twitter account eventually gets followed by fake accounts. I have fake followers, even though Twitter has long abandoned updating my account and the number of followers I actually have has not increased since 2014. But that’s another story, and one of the many reasons I dislike Twitter.

If their Twitter audit numbers look good, go next to their YouTube, Facebook and Instagram pages.

You’re looking for engagement. This is the single most important thing that gives a blogger value--not the number of followers they have.

Engagement means people are responding to their posts. Are there conversations being had on their social profiles? If you see an Instagram account with 1.2 million followers, hundreds of likes, but no comments, you’re likely dealing with a faker. Save yourself time and move on.

Which brings us to another point--don’t dismiss the blogger with only 1,000 social media followers, and a 30 percent or less Twitter audit. This is a blogger most likely following the tried-and-true path of her successful predecessors. Check out her engagement levels, see if you like what she has to say and, if you do, find ways to work with her now before she becomes a star. She’ll be less expensive.

We’ve come to another end, my dear readers. Let me know what you think of bloggers. Do you think they’re here to stay? Do you have favorites that should be on everyone’s radar? Comment below!

Until next time, lovelies!

Lilian Raji is a strategic marketing and public relations adviser who helps luxury lifestyle brands sell more products to luxury buyers. Send questions for The PR Adviser to nationaljeweler@lmrpr.com or contact her at lilian@lmrpr.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Lilian Rajiis a strategic communications and PR adviser who helps companies understand their marketing problems, then designs and executes strategies to solve them.

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