Content key factor in bloggers’ relationship with PR

By Jake O’Neill,

The latest UK Bloggers Survey has revealed a huge difference in the relationship between bloggers and PRs – with the bloggers subject matter being the key factor.

While the majority of bloggers have good PR relationships, this varies wildly depending on the influencer’s specialist subject. Parenting bloggers come out on top – with 87% having good PR relationships – compared with just 17% of political bloggers.

The annual report, published by Vuelio in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University, surveys hundreds of bloggers about their habits, intentions and perceptions of the blogosphere.

Joanna Arnold, CEO of Vuelio, said: “Bloggers are influencers – they have an audience who care what they say, what they think, what they buy and what they review. Some have a reach that rivals traditional media; others may be talking to smaller numbers, but nonetheless exerting powerful influence within a dedicated niche.”

This year, the report reveals an increase in the number whose blogs are their main source of income and even more who expect to be able to live off their blogs in future. Growing their personal brand can take time and effort, but for some the rewards come quickly.

Craig Landale, the editor of Menswear Style, said: “I’ve never had a sales technique, I simply wait for offers, projects and correspondence to come to me through email. In the first six months I would email brands but we’re over five years old now and I’ve not had to do it since.”

These influencers may be a force to be reckoned with, but they still feel they lack the credibility of journalists – their traditional media counterparts. It is improving, but slowly; this year saw a 5% rise in those disagreeing with the question: “PRs regard traditional journalists as more important than bloggers”.

Is trust and respect from PR professionals and brands the best way to gain that integrity?

Collaborations are typically a blogger’s largest source of income and good relations with PR are the best way for the industry to grow further. But relationships work both ways and PR needs to be giving something back to the industry.

Joanna said: “It is important that PRs truly understand the landscape before they engage. There are plenty of pitfalls alongside the potential, particularly in this phase of development, when the rules of the game are still being written.”

A huge 71% of bloggers believe PR professionals expect support for their brand for little in return. As 58% of bloggers expect to be paid for all the coverage they give brands, there’s clearly still some ground to be made up between the two fields.

Julie Creffield, behind The Fat Girls’ Guide to Running, certainly agrees: “I get approached by tons of PR companies, the ones that are enjoyable to work with are the ones who don’t send copied and pasted info out and have never read your blog; PR companies that have a budget to work properly with bloggers, that respect the time and effort it takes to build an engaged audience.”

Good relationships can yield valuable results for both sides, as Andrea Soranidis, author of The Petite Cook, attests to: “I love establishing long-term relationships and work closely with PRs on tailored projects. Most of the time they give me all possible freedom of expression, and this results in unique, interesting content that makes both brand and audience very happy.”

Blogging has established itself as a legitimate industry and the survey shows that it’s here to stay. The PR industry has allowed bloggers to grow and commercialise their work, with the future direction of both sectors now clearly entwined.

Jake O’Neill is marketing manager at Vuelio

Picture credit: Ewan Robertson

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