I started writing this post quite a while ago. And I don’t mean a few weeks, I mean in 2013. Yep, that is when I started the draft of this post. Wow. I was feeling it back then, but not as much as now. And over the past couple of weeks I have noticed other bloggers mirroring my exact sentiments on this issue so I decided to finally finish this post.
As a blogger, I get a lot of pitches from day to day. People want me to share their brand’s product with my followers. Sometimes this is for money, sometimes not. They do it in hopes that a post with my experience on a product may encourage a blog reader to go out and buy it. But, you have to wonder… is writing a blog post always the best form of advertising? Is that all that should matter?
Is It All About the Numbers?
Lately, I have noticed several blogger opps asking for bloggers with a minimum of 100,000UVMs (unique visitors a month). If you have that, you are awesome and lucky. But a lot of bloggers don’t. It doesn’t mean that we are not great bloggers. We still have value. We may still have a lot of reach in other areas. Sometimes even when I am contacted directly by a brand’s PR saying “We love your blog and want to work with you,” when I express interest they will then follow up asking me to supply my blog page views or UVMs… then I have to wait to be approved by the brand. Sometimes I get crickets.
Blogger Networks Have Changed
I very recently got my feelings hurt when I was turned down by a blogger network because I did not meet the requirements. This network *supposedly* caters to smaller bloggers, but apparently I was not good enough. In all fairness I suspect that it may have been the number of sponsored posts that I was doing at the time. Some networks care about that now, some don’t. But hey… the bills have to be paid, so if I have to do sponsored posts, I do sponsored posts. I have been working on my ratio. Mind you, I do not know for sure why they turned me down. But, it that was one of the things mentioned on the form rejection that they sent.
I’ve also been turned down for several opps that were perfect for my blog from another blogger network that I used to have great success with. I have not been approved for an opp there since September of 2014! And there is yet another blogger network where I have not gotten asked to do an opp in several months. The fact that blogger networks and some brands are so focused on blog stats means that some bloggers who may be absolutely perfect for an opp, rock a post, create a great video, or maybe even have a background working in the niche don’t even have a chance to show what they can do. Is that fair? I say no.
It’s almost like brands no longer value quality work. And in my opinion, quality is better than quantity. I have always made it a point to write more words than was required, insert more photos than required, and share more times on social media. I have compared some of my posts to those of other bloggers on the same campaigns and I think “Wow… they got paid the same thing to do this??” But, it is what it is. We can only focus on rocking our own posts and hoping that the brands notice.
More Bloggers = Less Opportunities
I believe that part of the problem is that there are a lot more bloggers now than there used to be. And more bloggers in general means more bloggers in blogger networks. It’s great that new bloggers get a chance to get paid opps. However, for those of us that have been around for a while it can mean trouble. If you don’t have high numbers it can be bad news. We may get less opps as the newer bloggers catch the eyes of the PR & blogger networks. And in some cases the newer bloggers may do it for a cheaper rate than a more experienced blogger. It’s important to find a way to make your work stand out and prove your value.
Look at the Bigger Picture
Here’s the thing… social influence is about much more than just blog page views and unique visitors anyway. After all, just writing a post might not bring enough eyes to it. We have to share our posts on social media for maximum reach. And most brands now realize this too. Most campaigns require us to do more than just write a post anyway. As for numbers, there are some influencers that may not have a blog at all, yet they may have 135,000 YouTube subscribers. Some bloggers may get only 10,000 monthly blog visitors, but they may get a high interaction when they start discussions on their Facebook page. Some bloggers may not have thousands upon thousands of monthly blog views, but they may have a very strong Instagram following. I have one blogger friend that has worked hard to increase her Pinterest engagement and she now has over 56,000 Pinterest followers. And some of us get high engagement on our personal Facebook pages. In addition we are all moms, and people. We have IRL (in real life) friends. In other words, our influence may spread beyond the blog. You get the point.
[Tweet “Social Influence is about more than just blog statistics”]
A Note to Brands & Blogger Networks
Each influencer is different. We each have a unique style. A different following. And we each have different strengths. And there are so many different social media platforms that influencers may use. There are so many ways that bloggers rock now that just looking at blog stats is not enough. It just It is unfair to turn down a blogger for an opportunity based solely on blog view numbers. You have to look at the bigger picture. Is that blogger a well-respected influencer in his or her niche? Does that blogger consistently write quality posts? Does that blogger post professional quality photos? Does that blogger have a unique experience that makes him/her perfect for that opp?
Now don’t get me wrong. There are still many brands that recognize the value of a good, seasoned blogger. I still have many great connections with PR reps that come back to work with me over and over. However, it is highly frustrating when I am reading opps on a blogger network and I don’t meet the UVM requirements so I know that I will not be chosen, even though I KNOW I am perfect for the opp, and would rock it. Many times I do apply, but I am quickly turned down. I’m betting that when they sort through the applicants they probably filter out those that don’t meet the minimum stat requirements, so we are not even considered. Not cool.
Then there is the other problem of so many opps being geared towards “Millennials” these days. But, that is another post entirely (which I may just write!)….
Brands… us seasoned bloggers are asking you to think about the bigger picture. Remember the bloggers that have been here for a while. We know the ropes. We rock. Give us another chance. 🙂
Great post! It is so hard out here these days as a blogger, there are so many of us and like you said, the networks seem to be focusing on the same bloggers or the ones with HUGE followings. That leaves us in the middle in a strange place. And it’s not just numbers the networks are focusing on. I’ve seen a LOT of opps that would be perfect for my blog lately that are for millennials only. SMH. No shade to millennials but the rest of us have great audiences too.
Great post! I can definitely relate! I feel your pain about being turned down as well. I try to focus on good engagement while at the same time growing my numbers, and trying not to compare myself to others.
I’m trying to work on my ratio. My bills are priority too so it’s hard. I do feel like if I want to grow a bit, I do need to crank out a few more non-sponsored pieces. It definitely is frustrating seeing another blogger score an opp based on their numbers… especially when you know you were a good fit and could have really rocked the campaign vs slapping something together. #noshade #nofilter
It’s frustrating getting so caught up in blog stats. That had been taking the fun out of it for me so lately I’ve just been focusing on having fun and why I was doing it in the first place.
It’s so easy to get caught up in it all. Trying to stay focused on my why is big for me.
Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green
I can certainly relate to some of these areas. I try to focus on why I started my blog in the first place. I also have to build relationships and network so I can pitch myself without worrying about my numbers.
Jay | Relaxed Thairapy
This topic is near and dear to my heart. I feel that I have something positive to give but I often miss out because my numbers aren’t where brands would like them to be. Some larger bloggers won’t even collaborate with smaller bloggers for this very reason so it’s not just the brands.
Really great post with very valid points. A lot of these brands want huge numbers, but I don’t think many understand how it all really works.
Great post – especially since I’m a blogger and I have a brand. I agree with you that numbers aren’t everything. Because if you have 20k Instagram followers and only 200 people are liking your photos and/or commenting, that’s a sign of poor engagement. As you’ve pointed out, true influence is about engagement – and not just between bloggers, but between real, everyday consumers who aren’t a part of the blogsphere. As a brand, I want to know that my ideal customer is actually engaging with a blogger’s content, and a high social following or monthly page views aren’t necessarily an accurate reflection.
I have been blogging for 2 years plus. I will probably never reach 100,000 views per month..not even close 🙂 . I see bloggers buying fans, followers etc. because that is what the brands want. I don’t know if they do any research or not as to if the followers are real. The question for them is “is it better ROI to go with a blogger with 100,000 fake followers and zero interaction or a blogger with 5,000 followers who has an engaged audience that trusts the voice and will buy recommended products?” Once they figure that out..it might get better. Good post.
I am a niche blogger, but my engagement is crazy good! I see bloggers with 25k twitter followers and not one RT on that sponsored post. Nothing fun or special about the post itself… but they’ll pass on me and my community? That’s fine. I have worked with some brands that value the content I produce, so I focus on them… as for the other brands? They’ll learn to stop chasing the numbers soon enough, when that ROI is 0.