(Photo: Networx Events)
I am a regular attendee of the Networx events in Brisbane. They always have great guest speakers and interesting topics and this event was no exception. I enjoy blogging as a creative outlet with my own blog ‘Diary of a working Princess’ but I have nothing on these influential experts who shared their wisdom and insights during the event.
The Changing Face of PR: The Rise and Rise of Blogger Relations is a timely topic given the continual fragmentation and evolving media landscape. The panelists included Michelle Palmer, Managing Director of 360 Immerse; Natalie Birt, Creator and Chief Writer of Mummy Smiles; and Valerie Khoo, Ambassador of Best Australian Blogs Competition, founder of Australian Writers’ Centre and co-founder of SocialCallout.com.
Event facilitator, Cat Matson, posed some very interesting questions during the panel discussion with the key messages being about why blogging has become so popular, how brands are using them to connect with customers and how to start and find good blogs.
Bloggers are playing an integral role in bringing messages to an audience, much like traditional media has done for years. It has become popular because it reflects people’s developing preferences in this ever-changing world of communication. Bloggers are seen as having a trusted voice with some of them even becoming their own influential media channel. As consumers, we want to engage with brands that we can relate to and that will, in turn, interact with us. This is what bloggers do.
Hence, innovative agencies like 360 Immerse are taking bloggers very seriously. However, getting brands and clients to understand the power that bloggers have and allocating budgets towards this new channel, isn’t as easy it seems. “Bloggers play a big part as the new voice for brands and brands like Target are understanding the power of this medium”, says Michelle Palmer of 360 Immerse.
Her advice to bloggers who want to work with brands is make sure you supply the agency with relevant information such as statistics including the number of social media followers & blog stats in easy to read bullet points. From the client side, it’s just as important to give bloggers guidelines to work to and have an understanding of the audience a particular blogger has before briefing them on a project.
Whilst every blogger sets their own guidelines, Natalie from Mummy Smiles, feel it’s important to have integrity and work with brands that are aligned with your readership. She won’t blog about a product unless she has actually used the product itself. Sponsored posts (which is similar to an advertorial) have grown massively which has sparked a lot of discussion around the ethics around it. “Your review should be genuine. I will never publicly bash a product I don’t like and will give them feedback on the side”, she says.
And how do you find people to blog about your brand? A great place to start is SocialCallout.com which was founded by Valerie Khoo. Through her work with Australian Best Blogs Competition, Valerie has read hundreds of submissions and can vouch for the many and varied blogs out in the bloggosphere. If you want to become a successful blogger, Valerie’s advice is to “just do it, start writing and build engagement with your audience. Have a point of view and develop a unique community”. We are seeing multi-author blogs like Mamma Mia rising in popularity and these have the potential of becoming online magazines. Vlogging (video blogging) can also be a great tool if it is right for your audience and message.
With thousands of new blogs appearing every year, it seems that blogging is the new black.