2011: The Blogger Revolution

Can you hear that sound? It’s the sound of a blogger revolution ya’ll! That’s right the blogging world is changing and I predict that this year we will see some things really come to surface. From money to marketing, bloggers are savvier than ever before and we all need to get with the program.

I spend quite a bit of time reading tweets, blog posts, etc. which are all about the blogger/public relations dynamic. After covering this territory for years, here’s what I think will go down in 20-11:

Blogger Bombardment Stealing from my own comment that I left on our very own Danny Brown’s blog, he suggested I coin the phrase “blogger bombardment.” So, consider it coined. The truth of the matter is that now traditional media is downsizing at a rapid rate, and PR pros are scrambling looking for new places to get their clients visibility. That’s their job. The result: blogger bombardment. Bloggers are getting just slammed, and sometimes too much of something is not always a good thing.

Goodbye Reviews, Hello Viewpoints – It takes a good hour plus to write an excellent product review. That is a heck of a lot of time. What I’m noticing is that a lot of bloggers are scaling back on “reviews” and focusing more on unique content that dives into trends, their personal lives, issues and so forth. Does this mean product reviews will disappear? Not by any means. However I do see bloggers becoming choosier about what they review vs. what they won’t review.

All about the “niche”An overriding theme that I’m sensing in the blogging community is all about discovering your niche. Is it regional blogging? Is it politics? Is it parenting?  More and more bloggers are going to try and define their slots in the blogger universe.

Show Me the Money – This topic has been beaten to death with a very large stick, so I’ll spare you all of the long-winded details. Essentially, there are some bloggers that want to get paid, there are some that don’t. The definition of “payment” varies so it will be up to the blogger and the marketer/publicist to define that term. However, you will see more bloggers asking “I know what’s in it for you. What’s in it for me?”

Less is More I think companies are going to slowly move toward blogger outreach with the “less is more” approach. This means that companies will focus on working with just a select number of bloggers rather than trying to strive for the masses.

Content Provider – What do bloggers do best? Provide content. I predict that you will see more and more bloggers providing content for company’s web sites and communities; not just for their own sites. Oh, and they will more than likely get paid for it too.

Blogger Marketer and Marketer BloggerYes, I’ve blogged about this topic before and every day I see more and more bloggers defining themselves as “marketers.” They are creating businesses and promoting themselves as a voice-for-hire. Whether it’s Twitter parties or brand ambassadorships, they are dipping their hands in the marketing pot. And vice versa. I think you will see an upswing of publicists and marketers taking a stab at becoming bloggers. As I always say the quickest way to understand a blogger is to become one.

Downsizing of Blogger Sponsorships – Last year I got the feeling that bloggers struggled with finding “sponsorships” for conferences and events. Sure there were those that had no problem securing payment to attend these happenings in exchange for promotional support. However, brands will start scaling back on these types of opportunities because they are having a hard time getting an answer to: What’s in it for them? Instead I see companies sponsoring the actual conferences rather than individual bloggers.

Do you have any other predictions for the Blogger Revolution of 2011?

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  • R.C.H.

    Working around a lot of designers and programmers I see all the time just how excited these people can get about technology trends. Similar to how the emergence of social media, twitter especially, has provided PR practitioners with an all new set of tools to creatively communicate and do their jobs, people that create and maintain the content on blogs can get really juiced about new tech trends.

    As an example, the new version of Drupal came out not long ago, and there was a woman at my office who was bombarded with client calls and e-mails after she tweeted a few times about how excited she was about the new version. People wanted all the newest features of Drupal for their blog, although many likely were unaware of what the new features even were. I see blogging as becoming more advanced. Sure a written product description can take over an hour but someone who can quickly edit video can shoot and edit a video blog in half that time, and they can do it the first time they pick up the product.

    For products, I think people will want to see more honest and real reactions, reality tv in a sense. Written product descriptions were great when companies were still getting used to social media, but I think in 2011 the companies that are successful marketing through blogs will be the ones really pushing the boundaries of the medium and what a blog is. Blogs that incorporate more media and use it in creative ways will likely be the ones getting paid for their efforts. Why pay someone to market your product because they write a good description? I think you’re really paying for the blogger’s personality and expertise. In a technical field people might want to see an in depth written product description, but savvy bloggers will likely find ways to keep the user coming back to their blog for info on that product. Similar to some of the things that you were saying, companies will want more for their money in 2011, but I think that smart bloggers won’t necessarily need to feel that they will be paid for their insights on a product because they realize that they’re using that product to drive people to their site.

    Like what you said in the less is more section of your post companies are going to look for the cream of the crop in blogging, and that to me means the people that are using the medium in the cleanest and most innovative ways. Emerging technology will keep adding to a blogger’s ability to create a very professional product. A blog is a lot like a channel on TV to me, and the more polished the content and feel of the channel the better. I think the audience of blogs will expect more this year. Therefore the companies using these blogs will surely follow suit, and smart bloggers will already be a couple steps out ahead creating demand for their services by giving their own product (their blog) new features or a makeover that shows them as an industry leader, not just someone who can write a really good product description.

    Also just wondering if you had any more thoughts on conferences and events, and how companies can show ROI on these events where they’re hosting bloggers? I thought this topic was really interesting and was wondering if there’s a lot of competition among bloggers at these kind of events. In 2011 will it be the first one to report on something? The person who does it in the most entertaining way? Or just the person who gets paid that becomes the voice that the audience these companies are trying to reach will turn to? Seems risky for companies to pay some people and not others at a conference/event.

    Lots of thoughts. Thanks for the post.

  • Wow, really good predictions. I see a lot of these proving true this year.

    Actually, I just commented on a post from a blogger in my neck of the woods who wrote about how PR and blogging isn’t a love story. She talked about your “show me the money” point – why should I spend all this time writing about your client and spreading my post all over the Web when I’m not getting paid? Here’s the post:

    http://www.rockanddrool.com/2011/01/05/pr-and-bloggers-not-exactly-a-love-story/

    I definitely see more bloggers asking that question in the future.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! This is one of the best posts I have read lately from the PR side of things. You really nailed it. I have been saying for a while that the heyday of blog reviews (and don’t even get me started on the oversaturation of blog contests) is DEAD. It may still have limbs that are twitching, but the single model of PR firms only pursuing reviews has been dead a while. Yes, there will still be reviews, of course. But just like in mainstream media, it will be one small chunk of the coverage.

    I also think that the less is more approach will/should catch on. I think it is better for a company to work with (and pay) a small group of bloggers as ambassadors, consultants, content providers for the company, etc. than to send mass pitches to hundreds of bloggers asking for reviews and contests (and not hearing back from the quality bloggers with real influence and reach in some instances).

    Blogger as content provider is a WONDERFUL model. I created Momtent a while back just for that purpose because I think it is much more of a win-win for both sides than many models. I hope you are right that this becomes an increasing trend. One thing bloggers really know is creating content and driving readers/participants to it.

    Anyway, very long comment but I just wanted to gush about how great this post is. Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Kelby! Sorry it took me awhile to check the comments on the post – baby, work, you know how it goes. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • I will say that I hope this is true. There are some people who are just blogging as a hobby. Then, there are some that are really good at what they do and deserve to be paid not just get a free product to review. That is something I have cut back on. It takes too much time and not being paid is a HUGE factor in why these bloggers are not reviewing anymore. A free book is not worth the time it takes to read it and post about it. Most bloggers are looking to make some money to help provide for their families. I am one of them and have started the process of making it a business. I just wish that companies would understand what we do is something others get paid to do offline. Sooner than later.

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