By its very definition a blog is a “website containing a writer’s or a group of writers’ own experiences, thoughts and observations.” This for many is viewed as a reliable source of free unbiased opinion.
From being a new mum, to perfecting the Smokey eye, to cookery tips and fitness advice, to business blogs and not for profit insights, the range and diversity of blog content is immense!
However, what happens when the blogger gains traction with its trusted followers and is offered commercial incentives to sway their “unbiased opinion”? How do we, as the readers then decide whether or not we actually trust what the blogger has to say?
Take for example Kim Kardashian West, she is without doubt the queen of endorsements, with a colossal following across her website and social media platforms (I am not quite sure personally what the fascination is, but millions of folk do), and whilst I understand the commercial value in it for her bank balance, where is the actual value for the brand? Is this a sign of brand desperation?
Just out of curiosity I reviewed exactly what endorsements have been keeping Kim busy, a few include; toilet roll, hair removal products, diet pills, perfume, fake tan, candles, OPI nail polish, sportswear, couture chocolate lollipops, even a photo app to perfect your selfie! Where should the list end? Would you buy any of the products based on Kim’s “honest, non-biased opinion”??
As the battle continues for brand exposure online and the quest to be top billing across the various social media platforms, we need to ask ourselves what is the real benefit?
For me authentic blog content is number one!
Genuine thoughts towards an experience, product or service will always win hands down rather that a pre-scripted review.
Bloggers with a following have become the new “online influencers” we cherish their thoughts. I am a huge fan of blogs and social media, I follow lots of interesting characters for lots of reasons, but recently I have found myself becoming ruthless and unfollowed accounts because content was blatantly paid for.
Now that aside, I realize that we all need to make a living and yes it’s true that if you have a significant following, brands will want you to become an ‘advocate’ for their offering. The trick to making it work is that it remains in the bloggers tone of voice.
This is often lost.
If you are a genuine foodie that loves to share your culinary delights and recipes, or a fashionista that can rock any look whilst contouring to perfection, there are other ways you can commercialize your blog rather than just polluting it with sponsored hyperlinks and brand promos.
Take a nosy at your analytics, identify if there’s an opportunity to make revenue from your web traffic rather than damaging the quality of your content, make sure the advertising creative is aligned with the content of your blog.
I ran some independent research across my own social channels asking people what they liked in a blog ... this is what they replied:
- Short and sweet posts
- To the point content, no waffle
- A light hearted, easy to read tone of voice
- Regular posts
- Always “own” it
- Something different
- Be inspirational and informative
- Controversial opinions, non conformist
- Stay on point (stick with your theme, don’t try to be all things)
- A well designed mobile site
- Quick load time
There’s a blogger in all of us, so, if you’re thinking of starting a blog please take note of Wordpress.com’s advice (https://en.support.wordpress.com/advertising/)
A final note to businesses looking to find their dream “online influencer” is to be careful whom you pay to endorse your brand online. You could be doing more damage than good. Be strategic; know exactly what you want to do with your Influencer! Make sure they fit with your brand values and don’t be dazzled and distracted with their millions of followers.
In the words of Bob Marley, “Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver and gold”.
Author: Naomh McElhatton