Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Who's Counting?

Once upon a time, 550 blog posts ago I started writing this blog.

I was so keen for people to read it that I would ring my Dad and say, quick click on my blog so I can see if the google analytics works, only to find him to be a page view, but not to increase my unique viewers as he had already checked the page when I previously rang him and asked him to do it.

550 posts later and I hardly ever check those stats. Firstly because they are boring and secondly because when would they ever be high enough - Never?

Recently I worked on a marketing campaign where I wanted to find some bloggers to advertise with. I had my marketing brief and my strategy all worked out and from there I did the research to decide which bloggers I wanted to work with. I didn't ask any of these bloggers for their 'numbers'. One of the bloggers sent an email reply which included her media kit which covered all her numbers and was very professional looking. This was useful, but I had already decided that I was happy with the content and style of the blog.

I wanted each of these bloggers and their blogs because they 'fit'. They fitted with the message I wanted to share. They fitted with the target audience that I wanted to reach. They fitted with the general culture and mission of the business wanting to advertise. The topics that they write about, the people who read their blogs, the design of their blogs, the 'feel' of the blogs, the tone of voice, the community that joined them. These were the things that I was looking for. I keep a close eye on the blogs that match my client and regularly read them and look out for others that might also be a match.

I can tell just be reading these blogs that some have a readership substantially higher than others. This was ultimately reflected in the price point. The smaller blogs quoted smaller rates, the bigger bloggers had higher rates. It then became my decision to decide if the rates were of value. The interesting part was, that the bloggers I spoke with, they all had a very accurate concept of what their blog was worth. The smaller bloggers didn't request rates that were sky high. They requested rates that I considered fair and reasonable - as did the bigger blogs.

I fully understand that marketing needs to be justified.

I will certainly measure the traffic that the advertising brings in from those blogs, I can look at my own information to see if the blogs generated any traffic. There are other things too, like brand recognition and building relationships with key industry influencers.

Everyone wants the figures, PRs need to justify the spend, campaigns need measurement etc etc.

However, my blog, these 550 posts, is a hobby. It's a place I chat away and share information and stories and photos and life.

For the last six months I have rarely provided my stats to PR companies and brands, mainly because I would have to click around and find them and I just don't have time, but also because I want brands that just simply think I am a 'fit' for their product. This has of course meant that many opportunities may have been lost. I might not have received an invite to an event and gained a swag bag of free stuff. There are less packages of goods arriving at the door. I may have missed out on being paid for a post on something.

Maybe.

You might not have noticed but many of my sponsored/review posts have dried up, but those you do see are people and businesses that have products that match me and this is what works best for me. I do provide them with stats after the post but some of these posts get excellent long term hits rather than short term, which is not always considered by a campaign manager, but I do like to (if I remember) let a brand know about any retweets or facebook shares, instagram photos, and I certainly provide them if I have agreed to work with a brand.

But it gets tricky:

Like my review on a car seat. Every day it gets hit over and over again, the hits on this post the week it went live were very small. But I know parents are searching for this information. Place the words into google and look what comes up.



Any statistics I provided at the time this was written would have been a fraction of what they became - over time it keeps getting whacked big time by parents wanting to know more about this car seat. I wrote about it (unpaid) because it was a great fit for me. Like the sheer beauty that compounding interest is to your bank account, the same seems to occur to some blog posts.

If you run your blog as a business than your numbers might be vital. If you are seeking opportunities and putting yourself out there than you will need to present yourself and your blog (and your numbers) in a  professional way to assist in your long term success. If you have/are working with a brand than share with them your numbers after a post, big or small it all helps justify the spend and the brands will LOVE you for it.

Just don't underestimate the power of your voice, your space, your feel. The people, brands, businesses and services that think they fit with you and really want to be seen on your blog, they will do so regardless.




8 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you pressed publish Claire :)

    It is interesting how influence shifts over time. I think I have a pretty good idea of the $ value of my blog without referring to my stats any more. But the space where I likely have the most influence in terms of brands etc is within the OpMove closed FB group where no one else can see it anyway, but where the can be no question that my thoughts are genuine (as they are in my blog too of course, but often under question iykwim?).

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  2. I just moved my blog from blogger to wordpress and with that my stats (in the eyes of PR) become almost worthless. Oh well. I didn't do it for them.
    You comment that you get less free stuff, in my eyes that is not such a bad thing, I felt overwhelmed with stuff and don't really like stuff that's not of value or relevance to our family entering in, so really this is a good thing.
    I love this post, I think you hit the nail on the head about the long term exposure. I had a friend who advertised her small business on my blog leading up to Christmas last year, she had a call from the other side of the country this week, from someone that reads my blog. It's refreshing to know that my posts are still helping to offer her business exposure.

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    1. I love that! No amount of 'numbers' will show those opportunities.

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  3. Great post Claire. One thing I try to encourage in bloggers is to value their readers and the relationship they have with them. A connected but smaller audience maybe a much better fit for a brand than a bigger blog with a more generic niche.

    Nic

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  4. Great post Clairey. I believe the reviews I read on the blogs I follow because I do believe they are a good fit. On the odd occasion I think they aren't, I don't bother reading them.

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  5. I have been blogging for 12 months and have given up trying to push the whole stats/brand thing. I try to find a product as a giveaway to say thanks to my readers on a regular basis but that is it. I am one of the "small but engaged community bloggers" and have decided to concentrate on my content & writing at the moment. I am not sure stats really reflect blog value. When I first started blogging, I kept visiting the bigger bloggers, now months on, I regularly visit the smaller community type bloggers for the relationship/writing aspect of blogging regardless of statistics. Also living in Perth, I find some blogging opportunities limited unless you are actively chasing the PR gurus. Thanks for giving us something to think about today.x

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  6. This has given me something to think about because my blog doesn't have the high numbers yet but I'm keen to working with brands that don't care about the numbers but care that you are the right fit for their brand and audience.

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  7. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I've been blogging for a while, and I didn't even know about stats until about 3 years ago! I got obsessed with them, and now don't care. I've found my voice - finally! - and am using it on my blog, the way I want.

    This blogging gig (not unlike the rest of the world) is about finding the right fit. You're a clever girl Claire. Love the way you think, and the way you write. x

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