Editor's note: With the author's permission, we've updated this entry to cl arify some terms. By Carlo S. Ople* Over the past few weeks, there have been talks going around on what advertising agencies and marketers should expect from bloggers. Iâve been thinking about t his for a long time now, and I think I have enough examples and put enough thou ght into this to publish it on this blog. Companies who want to tap bloggers should be aware of the different kinds of bl oggers. Not all bloggers can influence your target market, and not all of them can have the same level of interaction with their readers. Iâve generally defined the types of bloggers into these 4 categories: Value, Ho bby, Journal and Google. Thereâs a fifth type which Iâll share at the end of th e post. Note that these categories can overlap, and in fact some of the best bl oggers have stricken a balance on how to be all 4. However, these are rare blog gers. Most of the bloggers right now just fall to either 1 or 2 of these catego ries. 1. HOBBY BLOGGERS. They generate content from the t hings or activities that interest them the most. The best example here would be Food Blogs. There are so many already in the Philippines. Whatâs amazing is th at only a few restaurants are tapping the potential of driving more traffic to their stores by partnering with the top food bloggers in the Philippines. Other topics that Hobby bloggers talk about can be: anime, movie reviews, fashion, g eneral merchandise, photography, etc. Hobby Bloggers have good potential to grow communities and with that comes auth ority and influence. This happens more if the blogger is actually good at what heâs doing. If a Hobby Blogger is also a Value Blogger, then you have one of th e most influential types of online personalities (more on Value Bloggers below) . 2. JOURNAL BLOGGERS. They usually post about life experiences. Their topics can be really random and can be anything under the sun. A lot of Journal Bloggers can be found on social networks especially on Multiply. Favori te topics include current events especially topics that are being discussed by media outfits and online communities. Journal Bloggers' readership is usually c onfined to their circle of friends. This is so because people interested in fol lowing Juan Cruz for example, will be people who know and are close to him. The reach is not there. However, since Journal Bloggers are very credible (because they know each other personally) to their readers, you can expect that they ca n easily convince readers 3. GOOGLE BLOGGERS. They focus on Search Engine Optimization w ith no or little regard to relevant content, personal branding and influence. B loggers like them are in it for advertising and money. They prioritize building keywords so that search engines like Google and Yahoo will point towards them, thus giving them substantial amount of traffic. The problem with Google Blogge rs is that they may have really high readership, but you donât know where itâs coming from and the level of influence and interaction is very low. Google Blog gers will have a hard time building communities and a loyal following. 4. VALUE BLOGGERS. They are writers who put content, personal branding, and service as top priorities. Value Bloggers focus on delivering pos ts that add value to their readers by giving them insights, tips, tactic and ad vice on how to improve oneâs craft, hobby, or whatever. In other words, people go to Value Bloggers because what they write is relevant, sensible and useful o r something that can actually learn from. Value Bloggers will rarely sell out c ontent and advertising because they care about their personal brand and believe their audience deserve more than paid PR releases. Value Bloggers are the most influential types, because they have the strongest potential of building commu nities around their blog. They can easily get a following because what they off er is practical sound advice and insights on their particular niche. In fact, a gencies and marketers may encounter problems closing deals with Value Bloggers because they will not compromise their integrity in exchange for a few thousand bucks. OVERLAPPING TYPES Personally, I find Value Bloggers crossed with anything (especially Go ogle) will be the most effective Blogger in terms of reach, interaction and inf luence. Whatâs important here is that to build trust, they should focus on a ni che and deliver quality content useful to readers. They shouldnât settle for co py-paste methods or getting content from existing bloggers or online sources. B loggers are not just grapevines for information--they can generate good content . FOR MARKETERS: LET YOUR ONLINE MARKETING AGENCY DO THEIR JOB. If you hired a consultant or an agency to handle your blogger events, make sure they screen the invites well. The worst mistake you can do as a Product Manage r is to just say "Get me as much bloggers as possible." What if 90% of the blog gers that attended are not legit but posers? Then youâre just wasting your mone y, effort and time. Make sure that your consultant or agency does the following : 1. Donât do open invites. Tell them to show you the list of bloggers they plan to invite. 2. List of bloggers should show URL, niche, blogger type 3. Ask for their stats as well- Unique Visitors is an indicator of traffic (rea ch), while Bounce Rate and a high ratio between Unique Visitors and Page Hits c an be good tools to measure influence. Donât do blogger events just because itâs the âinâ thing. Do it because you kno w that it is really a cost-effective way to get your communication across to yo ur target market. However, make sure that what your offering is really good les t your PR event turns into a nightmare when your product disappoints the blogge rs. To Bloggers: What kind of blogger are you? Are you really giving value to your readers? Are you building an online community with your content? Are you bloggi ng just for the heck of it or do you want it to become a tool for you to advanc e your career, profession and business? Carlo Ople is the main author of New Media Philippines, a blog that aims to help Filipinos maxim ize and realize the potential of New Media. Apart from being a blogger, Carlo a lso serves as a Marketing Manager for one of the leading online gaming companie s in the Philippines. He is also a freelance digital marketing consultant and h as worked with various politicians and business owners expand their reach and i nfluence through the use of social media.
April 2009 Archives
By NiÃ±a Terol (Editor's note: Originally posted on author's blog) 1. For writers and other creative souls, blogging is practice. Participants of my Freelance Writing for Dummies class know this: I cannot stress enough the im portance of blogging, especially for an aspiring freelance writer. Blogging off ers a free platform for writers and other creatives to test out their ideas, ho ne their writing style, explore various subject matters, and begin developing a relationship with an audience. Writing is very serious work, and anyone who wants to become a writerâwhether f ull-time or part-timeâmust treat it with utmost respect. It is a demanding art- craft that requires the readerâs full attention once the page is opened, so the writer must ensure that the written material is worth the ink, the space, and the readerâs time. Blogging, then, is like the rehearsal before the actual performance. It allows the writer to flex those critical writing muscles and get into character so tha t once âreal writingâ is needed, the audience wonât be disappointed. 2. For public personalities, it is an avenue to connect with their a udience using more than their on-cam persona. Ours is such a media-inundated cu lture that itâs sometimes difficult to tell which is real and which is reel. Ne ws is often biased, sensationalized, and âtelenovela-dâ; reality shows are some times âgamedâ and are often part of the celebrity-manufacturing machinery of ou r ratings-hungry networks; and there is hardly any time or space for public per sonalities to just let themselves be. While blogging by celebrities is one more way of extending their media reach and, therefore, of expanding their populari ty, it can also be a good venue for them to show the public what theyâre really made of. 3. For politicians and other public servants, blogging is one way to connect to their constituencies and have an alternative forum for feedback-gathering. My principal knows this, which is why he tries to update his blog, Facebook, and o ther social networks as often as he can. Blogging is a great way to test out id eas, solicit instant feedback, and continue a two-way dialogue with constituent s that is just made impossible by mainstream media. US President Barack Obama h arnessed the power of blogging and social media to the max; other politicians f rom around the world have learned from his example and are trying to follow sui t. A note for politicians though: donât use blogging and social media merely for g randstanding or to win an election. Use it, too, to improve on current projects , update your constituencies about your projects, ensure transparency in all yo ur operations, and provide a forum for the public to air their grievances. Like reading on a page, reading a blog requires the audienceâs full attention, so p lease make sure that your words are worth our time. 4. For organizations, blogging is an Ã¼ber-cheap alternative for reporting to s takeholders and constituencies, rallying support for a cause, expanding oneâs c onstituency base, or announcing events. If your organization doesnât have the b udget to maintain a website or produce newsletters or annual reports, put up a professional-looking blogsite that can store your updates, photos, advocacy mat erials, and event announcements. In this age of free blogging platforms (I like WordPress and Blogger), free widgets, and even practically-free documentation courtesy of camera phones and low-priced digital cameras, you now have no more excuses to not have your org information and updates online. Oh, and if you want to fund raise online too, blogging will NOT give you the pl atforms for online fund-collection, but it CAN give you avenues to begin a conv ersation with your constituency, build relationships, and âraise friends.â Then the money can start flowing in. 5. For artists, musicians, and other creatives (again), blogging is a free plat form to promote your work and nurture a fan base. For years before he finally p ut up his Multiply site, Iâd been bugging my fiancÃ© Paul to have a venue for c onnecting to potential clients and audiences online. Now that he has a Multiply site and is also on Facebook, heâs enjoying the process of putting some though ts down, choosing photos and videos to upload, making contacts, and meeting âon line buddiesâ from different parts of the world. For creative souls in search of inspiration, blogging is also a great way to ca ll out to the Muse. So is reading othersâ blogs. Who knows what images, words, rhythms, and ideas can arise while reading someone elseâs words, commiserating with someoneâs pain, or sharing someone elseâs joy? 6. For companies, blogging is a great way to reach out to a certain segment of your target market. One brand-built blog that caught my attention is Doveâs Cam paign for Real Beauty, which featured real blogs by real women. It made real Do veâs brand proposition that beauty is not only the domain of models and celebri ties, but of everyday women living everyday (but not necessarily ordinary) live s. According to Technoratiâs State of the Blogosphere 2008: âBrands make up a majo r part of bloggersâ online conversations. More than four in five bloggers post product or brand reviews, and blog about brands they love or hateâ¦ Companies a re already reaching out to bloggers: one-third of bloggers have been approached to be brand advocatesâ¦ Bloggers are most open to receiving marketing messages from other blogs. Even non-blog web content is more influential among this gro up than traditional media sources for brand information.â If you see that blogging would complement your overall brand strategy, then the re shouldnât be any reason not to try it. 7. For families, blogging is a great way to document and share precious family moments that can never be replicated. More than just sharing photos and videos on your social networks, itâs also great to capture the feelings and the conver sations that were all part of the experience. Whether itâs a momentous occasion such as a birth, a wedding, an anniversary, a graduation or a ânon-eventâ such as making pancakes with the kids, taking the pet out for a walk, having an âad ult-likeâ conversation with a toddler, or practically anything else under the s un, blogging is a way to make sure memories donât just fade away. Iâd also recommend good olâ scrap booking, but for busy parents who donât have the time or the patience to artfully lay out photos and other mementos, bloggin g is the way to go. (Blogs can also be set as private so the whole world wonât have to see whatâs meant only for your family and friends.) 8. For individuals, you actually donât need a reason to blog. Some people blog to share recipes, others to share lyrics and quotable quotes. Some use their bl ogs as online journals and share their thoughts and feelings with the world; ot hers use their blogs to comment on social events and be engaged spectators in a world thatâs constantly shifting. Some write lengthy prose that seem like maga zine articles; others write catchy one-liners. Some have an audience of million s; others have an audience of 10. But it doesnât (and shouldnât) matter. As lon g as youâve got something (non-violent and non-offensive) to say, then you shou ld be able to say it. What is personal is universal If you think about it, never before in the worldâs history have we been given a chance to document the worldâs collective consciousness. Now, thanks to blogs and other social media, the Web has become just thatâa repository of the state of peopleâs consciousness at any given time. What were people feeling when the United States elected its first African-Ameri can president? The blogosphere gives us a clear snapshot of that through people âs blog and micro-blog (e.g., Twitter) entries. How are people coping with job loss and financial instability? We can find out at any time, too. What went thr ough your head the moment your crush told you that, yes, he wanted to be with y ou too? If you blogged about it, then you can revisit that time, too. More than self-promotion or self- flagellation, blogs and blogging allow us to understand ourselves and our world better. Brands and politicians alike tune in to the blogosphere because, here, they are able to capture real, instantaneous thoughts and feelings that donât have the normal editing or censure processes of traditional media. Through micro-blogs like Twitter or Plurk, weâre able to capture âThe State of My NationâRight Here, Right Nowâ. The world is constantly changing, the Web is constantly changing, WE are consta ntly changing. But thanks to the introduction of blogging and other forms of so cial media engagement, one thing that will never change is our desire and our a bility to connect to other human beingsâeven if itâs just through flickers of w ords or images on a computer screen. __ NiÃ±a Terol is a self-proclaimed Communicator, Enabler, and Organization-Bu ilder, using the power of vision, words, and connections to inspire, empower, a nd motivate others around her. She is a political communicator by day, a freela nce writer and poet by night, and an advocate for reform in Philippine governan ce 24/7. To subscribe to Long Live Blogging, click here: http://longlivebloggin g.wordpress.com/subscribe/