We are living in the digital age where the media landscape does not include just your mainstream media like television, newspaper and monthly magazines – but also media that has been dubbed as ‘New Media’ by many and includes:
- The micro-bloggers – who talk about a product and brand via their tweets and Facebook status updates; &
- The bloggers – who actually have a dedicated website on e-blogger or WordPress through which they share their insights.
For the public relations industry the ‘New Media’ has slowly become important as more and more consumer studies have proven that the purchasing customers puts more trust on the feedback they get on social networks and consumer generated media (like blogs and forums) versus editorial content in the media (and lets not even talk about trusting advertising!!).
Given that the digital landscape in Pakistan is also fast evolving, brand teams and public relations professionals are fast realizing the need to connect with their consumers via the ‘New Media’ – and suddenly we see an influx of PR agencies trying to ‘woo’ a handful bloggers.
Another industry boom? Or just a disaster … ?! Well here is my take on the good and bad of this ‘building blogger relationship’ cycle Pakistan is going through.
- With the sudden influx of product launch invites, freebies and exclusives, the overall number of people who are blogging in Pakistan is rapidly rising
- Purchasing customer has more information platforms available to research before making a purchase decision
- Bloggers use social media to promote themselves. That means that the blog post (and the brand story) will be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- The news is literally out there immediately when shared with bloggers – with a service like Twitter, it is a matter of seconds to share when someone is speaking – followed by photos and videos shared on Instagram
- Successful bloggers, Twitter & Facebook users build audiences of like minds and interests. You can reach these self-identified audiences with a laser-like focus to communicate client messages effectively and efficiently – groups like Karachi Food Diary are a successful example!
- More and more blogs are lacking original content – and simply copy-pasting press releases and photos sent by the PR agencies. (Exhibit 1 & Exhibit 2 were discovered in a 5 sec Google search) Where is the individual opinion?
- In the drive to show their clients that they do have ‘New Media’ covering a specific event or launch – PR agencies are not looking at the quality and relevance of people they are inviting to cover it. Examples include:
- A tech blogger at a sanitary napkin launch – Result: one courtesy tweet!
- Zero traffic fashion blogger at a designer shop launch – Result: copy/pasted press release
- Brand teams or public relation professionals still don’t know how to take criticism and respect individual opinion. What is actually an opportunity to turn into positive – is either publicly bashed for being negative or the blogger is just never re-invited after the critique.
- Growing phenomenon of bribing the bloggers with ‘freebies’ – especially in fashion world – challenging the integrity of the blogger and the reader feels content is being compromised.
- PR agencies are mainly focusing on the bloggers who are reaching out to them for invites and stories –the quality opinion writers who are actually have followers and are REAL influencers remain mostly ignored.
The problem lies in the fact that this new media is different than the traditional media – and with the advent of digital PR – one needs to learn the difference between the two and how to talk to the bloggers versus journalists.
Which is the topic of my next blog … stay tuned and share your thoughts!
This blog was originally published on Aurora blog – and this is the unedited version of the same.