Blogging has gone through many identity changes since its inception, from daily online journals with heartfelt sharing to product reviews, restaurant recommendations, championing causes and political opinion. The blog is here to stay. But now a bloggers world is so much more. A mini publishing empire with the blogger's voice at the heart of the words, design, and images. Bloggers are the new 'smart creatives'.
In the beginning...
...you started with a computer and a WordPress site (or Blogger for hardcore sharers). A couple of photos taken with your camera or video taken with a Flip and painfully edited with iMovie (when it wasn't free). You chatted on Twitter, wrote about what just happened in your life and didn't really care much who read it. Then came the brands.
The audience we never knew existed
It wasn't long before the blogosphere exploded. Bloggers realised people wanted to read authentic narrative in real time on websites and on social media. By 2008 it was estimated 41% people in the UK had visited a blog. Blogging became tribal, with national networks sprouting to support content creators to grow their skills and confidence of their place in the modern online conversation. Smart public relations professionals tapped in early to these audiences, offering products for free for review, even sponsored content. This was the early emergence of 'influence'.
The mainstream media also started to take notice of blogs. Many starting their own (many offering 'exposure' rather than payment and still do). Blogging started to become a way of life, like having a Facebook profile and as the numbers grew, the competition to get noticed shifted into showing your flair for creative communication. Visual platforms such as YouTube and Instagram offered opportunities for those who don't write but have something to say. Audiences grew and grew but so did engagement and the potential for purchase for brands.
Blogging offers the creator full creative control, that's the appeal. It beats working in marketing or journalism where you adopt someone else's voice. The creative freedom combined with the advances in technology and potential to earn a full-time income or even achieve celebrity status, opened the door to innovation. It has been impressive and overwhelming the standard and style of content bloggers create from their bedrooms.
A creative revolution
It's time for a change. Why, if so many of these amazing creators and community builders outperform a brand's own content, are they still low down on the pecking order in the project?
The 'please write this' sponsored content is starting to show, often looking robotic and lacklustre. Readers are getting wise to how bloggers get their money, after all, sponsorship has been in mainstream entertainment in sports for decades, just think Diet Coke and George Michael, Madonna and Pepsi, the Beckhams and Gary Lineker's love of crisps.
But no one minds a well thought through campaign which communicates effectively and you can enjoy while being sold to. The projects which really engage audiences are where the blogger has collaborated at an early stage and has their signature style stamped all over it.
Blogging consultancy: the next step
Blog Authentic have taken collaboration to a whole new level. We hire bloggers at a £600 day rate for their knowledge, not their audiences. We work as a team to create and activate campaigns, helping the brands develop their marketing communication and in some cases, develop their product.
Collaborate with us
Add your photos to our collaborative photo gallery above (click the 'add your photos button'). We want to show a bloggers craft and the lengths they go to for their readers. And we want you to be a part of it.