During the State of the Blogosphere presentation at the 2011 BlogWorld Expo, Technorati CEO Shani Higgins discussed the sometimes tenuous relationship between professional bloggers and the brands they sometimes write about. While a great deal of bloggers do write about various brands in one aspect or another — product reviews, sponsored posts — the relationship between the two entities is not always a peaches and cream scenario.
In fact, if the stats Higgins quoted are anything to go by, there’s still a noticeable amount of disdain and/or ignorance concerning blogs from the perspective of these brands.
As indicated, a large portion of bloggers discuss brands in their work. According to Higgins’ numbers, the amount is around the 2/3rds mark, meaning quite a few write and discuss brands in their posts. Furthermore, 1/3 of bloggers surveyed post product reviews, and another 1/3rd post about everyday experiences at stores and their commitment to customer care. Of course, a critical post about a store’s poor customer service can be very damaging to a brand’s reputation, so perhaps that explains the rift between the two entities.
That being said, that doesn’t stop various brands from approaching the bloggers, asking them to either review or discuss a consumable item of interest. Upon review, it certainly appears as if brands view bloggers as a necessary evil, although, the same is not always true of the people writing the posts. According to Higgins’ information, in 2010, 33 percent of bloggers boycotted brands, but in 2011, that number has been reduced to 25 percent. That, however, doesn’t stop the brands from approaching bloggers, as many bloggers are cited as being approached by various brands numerous times a week.
Adding additional fuel to the “necessary evil” fire is the fact that over 60 percent of bloggers discussed in Higgins’ presentation have complained about not being treated professionally by the very brands they write about. Of course, if your blog publishes a “_____ Company Sucks” post, it’s doubtful the brand being criticized in such a manner would be very genial in their discourse, although, one could argue these brands should perhaps address the problem being written about instead of reacting negatively.
Furthermore, only 15 percent of the bloggers discussed report favorable interactions with various brands, whereas 34 percent say these experiences unfavorable.
So what does all this mean? Should bloggers ignore brands altogether and focus on creating other quality content? Not necessarily. Being an authority in the field you are targeting means knowing about and discussing those entities who have influence within the same field. If your posts ruffles some feathers, then you’re probably doing it right — unless, of course, you are writing about falsehoods and/or are making up lies about the brand being criticized.
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