Monday, August 15

What Australian PRs think: Is it getting easier to identify the bloggers to target?

I am probably guilty of over-analysing how I'm working with brands on this blog because I'm quite precious about the content and so when I work with a brand that to me is that 'perfect match' it's a win-win-win situation.  Win for me, I've learned something and am passing on some valuable content to my readers, Win for readers, they are learning (or winning!) something from me and the brand is winning because they are getting to that all-important-target-audience.

It is innate curiosity today that brings today's question.  I sometimes see some blogger/brand relationships and am bewildered.  'That's an odd match' I think to myself and then others I'l read and think 'Oh, that was a blog+brand match in heaven'.  It does happen! So I wondered if it was difficult, especially for establishing PR's to actually work out who to target.. surely it must be?  There's so many bloggers these days.... or is it?  Does a good read around the blog rolls, or twitter bring them to the fore?  Is it stats or engagement that matter or is it both?   I think depending on the PR it could be any of those.

I have asked two of my favourite PRs who I respect in this space and are working closely with and within blogging to tell me: Is it getting easier or harder these days to work out which bloggers to target?  Is it trial and error sometimes?

 Trevor Young – Strategy + Innovation, Edelman Australia

Yes, I think it is getting harder, if only because of sheer dent of the increasing number of bloggers out there. That said, it's still a quality issue but it's a good thing to have more bloggers coming through the ranks because it provides a degree of variety for everyone. 
At Edelman, we have a tool called BlogLevel which helps us ascertain the influence of bloggers (we also have a version for Tweeters called TweetLevel). 
That said, I don't like getting too intrusive from an analytical point of view (unless of course money is changing hands and a partnership is in the offing, in which case we would have a duty of care on behalf of our client to dig a little deeper in terms of research).
Media buyers and advertising people, from what I understand, seem to over-analyse every statistic known to man when it comes to identifying bloggers - that's because they're besotted by numbers, the bigger the better. This is a throwback from the days of buying traditional media.
I see things differently. It's as much to do with the quality of engagement a blogger has with their community than raw numbers alone. I'd rather use a bit of intuition and gut feel, especially around this issue of engagement and influence - the filtering process may require some tools to sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, but ultimately if you're active in the space you will be in a better position to spot a professional blogger with a strong following from one who doesn't cut the mustard.
The social web is a very transparent place and you can find out a lot about a blogger simply by doing your desk research as well as personal interaction. So in summary, tools are good and statistics are important because they help with targeting, but they only tell part of the story.

Allison Lee, Director, Business and Strategy - Impact Communications:
It is getting definitely easier to work out which bloggers to target. Top bloggers post regularly; they are on Twitter and Facebook; they are talked about online. 
It’s not hard to determine who these are these influential bloggers are. 
Where PRs need to be savvy is in understanding how each individual bloggers works and not expecting them all to be the same. Bloggers deadlines or timeframes will vary, PRs need to work within this framework.

So, what do you think about how and who PR's select to work with?   Do you think it's too restricted or too broad?  Are your favourite bloggers dealing with lots of brands or just a few? Or...none? 

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8 lovely comments:

Kate on August 15, 2011 at 10:51 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Fascinating topic, I often wonder how some blog/PR connections are made and what kind of research is carried out on the part of PR beforehand.

I read many blogs that don't work with brands at all, and many that have a constantly changing brand presence in their writing. At the end of the day though I believe as you said Liss that it's all about the right fit in order to benefit everyone involved.

Lina@MothersLoveLetters on August 15, 2011 at 11:03 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

This is a really great post, thank you.

As a new mummy blogger (5 months), I've been slowly learning who's who and what's what in this blogosphere. It's been really interesting coming in with my "fresh" eyes.

If you only have a superficial understanding of how blogging and the blogging community work, then I can see why you'd be (over)relying on the pure numbers alone.

Having said that, there's definitely also a need for a blogger to demonstrate reach through stats, to be able to give an advertiser/sponsor value for money.

But we bloggers know if you PR/Marketing people know whether you truly understand blog value and influence... which, in turn, will determine how we communicate and negotiate with you.

There are a lot of factors to be taken into account, with appropriate balance.

Trevor Young sounds like he knows the deal :)

Thanks again.

Melissa on August 15, 2011 at 11:04 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I agree with Kate, a facinating read. I'm not one getting PR offers (well I've had a couple, 2 weren't good 'fit's for me, so I politely pointed them in directions of others I think they might be better suited to) and one is on there now.

But I often wonder. I'm signed up to Nuffnang, but have only had one campaign. I'm at a loss as to what they want.

Melissa on August 15, 2011 at 11:04 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I agree with Kate, a facinating read. I'm not one getting PR offers (well I've had a couple, 2 weren't good 'fit's for me, so I politely pointed them in directions of others I think they might be better suited to) and one is on there now.

But I often wonder. I'm signed up to Nuffnang, but have only had one campaign. I'm at a loss as to what they want.

Veggie Mama on August 16, 2011 at 8:20 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I think it's easy to see who's influential online, once you get past the numbers/followers hangup, which isn't always indicative. I can imagine half the problem is just that there is so many of us now! Keeping track of it all would be a bit of a headache. Such uncharted territory, isn't it?

katepickle on August 16, 2011 at 4:53 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I read this this morning and have been pondering it all day...

I can't help but feel that there are some PR people out there who aren't really that focused on finding the right 'fit' for the product. Some of the pitches I get seem to be more about pitching to as many bloggers as possible regardless of whether it is a good fit or not.

I often find myself wishing that they had just taken a second to read my about page, or even just the blurb about me in my side bar...

Or perhaps I am not influential enough to attract more focussed PR pitches yet... or perhaps I need to change my about page so it is more useful... hmm....

Christie - Childhood 101 on August 17, 2011 at 9:38 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I love Allison's point about recognising the points of difference between blogs and bloggers and I would love to see more of this, in terms of the approaches made to bloggers by PR firms. I am much more likely to respond positively to a unique and creative partnership idea than a pitch that lacks any sense of personality. I would also love to see PR personnel and brands considering each pitch in terms of benefits to the brand, the readers and the blogger - and by this I am not necessarily talking solely about money.

bigwords is... on August 19, 2011 at 12:02 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I find it hard enough keeping up with who is out there - I'd imagine it could a full time job for prs trying to identify the bloggers which best suit their brands.


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