Clue. It’s not my kids.
Disclaimer: this post will probably only interest social media buffs or bloggers (and it’s a leeeetle bit squinty as well). Not that I don’t want you to read it, I just don’t want you to end up catatonic or in a home.
I am asked occasionally by a PR agency or brand to send them my media kit. It’s awfully nice to be asked, but I haven’t said yes to many proposals. I am not averse to blog sponsorship and opportunities, but I also have a clear idea of what my blog is and who I am so if it’s not a perfect fit I do tend to say “No”.
In the early days before I even had a media kit, the brand/agency would say “don’t worry about your full media kit, just send us your unique visitors – that’s all we really need”. I dutifully did what I was told, but as time went on I started questioning these requests. I concluded that the approach of determining a blogger’s ability to be of any value to a brand based on unique visitors was only looking at a small part of the blogger’s picture and not looking at them holistically as a social media participant. A classic case of the whole is more than the sum of its parts [thanks Aristotle, so glad you could be of use to me].
Even if you have an enormous hit rate on your blog doesn’t mean readers are staying or even reading what you have to say. There’s value in SEO, I get that, but if you are getting half of those hits from Google searches on “Are Julia Child’s breast’s real?” and the searcher lands on one of your very popular posts espousing breast-feeding of your very real child, then not many readers are going to stick around.
Your blogging presence or influence stretches far beyond your “blog”. Social Media platforms are just as important. Some people have substantial Facebook or Twitter presences but a tiny blog readership for example. So what’s to say a brand couldn’t get bang for their buck from a key Twitter influencer who doesn’t even have a blog?
I believe a brand or agency should be far more interested in a blogger’s relative influence than their mere presence. But this is about quantifying something inherently qualitative and that can be enormously difficult. I started to think about how to represent a blogger’s sphere of influence to show how many readers out there are probably listening, because this is what it comes down to – whether your readers are paying attention or not.
If a Twitter user has 31,000 followers but follows 40,000 then there is a good chance that there is some automatic following going on. I’m not downplaying the fact that if this someone tweets about a particular brand then potentially 31,000 people will get exposure to that brand, but would they listen? Do they care? But a brand or agency will probably take you on because on your media kit, you have, well, 31,000 followers (I can just hear my kids in the background whining “It’s not faaaaaaaair”). It’s a numbers game.
Or perhaps a user has indulged in the infernal buying of those 31,000 Twitter followers. As far as I’m concerned, you can kiss that shit goodbye. NONE OF THESE BOUGHT FOLLOWERS ARE LISTENING TO YOU. They are going to be absolutely no value to a brand. On the flipside, a small, community-focussed blogger who has only a few hundred twitter followers and a couple of thousand unique visitors per month may have a trust relationship with their readers and inspire them to invest in a brand, but the agency may view that blogger as simply not high profile enough. NEXT!
This conversation is nothing new in Social Media discourse. What I am endeavouring to do here is find a way for me (and whoever) to be able to visualise my potential influence to a brand as opposed to my ostensible presence. This is what I’m in the business of doing in my actual day job and it blows my brain some days (you can almost see brain matter on my keyboard). It’s not surprising that marketers and brands go down the Yellow Brick Road of Least Resistance. Blog hits. Easy. We are so done here.
What I came up with was a graphic to demonstrate “followship” on each of the blog platforms I choose to engage in and also my reciprocation – how many people I in turn follow. Whilst not perfect, it does give an indication of several factors that a brand or agency could be interested in:
- Which Social Media platforms I use. Certain Social Media is going to be more amenable to different types of events or brands.
- My overall presence in social media – how many people I potentially have broadcast access to.
- How much influence I may have on each of the social media platforms – how many people follow me versus how many I am following. It doesn’t identify how many people are actually listening or how many of these followers are trawling for a follow-back, but a healthier ratio of followers vs. following can be an indicator of influence.
No doubt this will all be discussed at Problogger next week – after all, it’s an event targeted at bloggers who actually want to make money off their blog (although for me it’s more about networking for friendships (don’t be scared) and future opportunities).
What do you think? Do you think social media influence can be quantified? And how?