I just got back from the Digital Impact conference in New York, where 300 public relations folks gathered to learn about new technologies, tools, and trends for helping brands and agencies navigate new social media waters. Dollars are shifting quickly towards digital marketing and those who have spent their careers in traditional PR find themselves needing to ramp pretty quickly. The conference was hosted by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the largest organization of public relations professionals and students (with over 31,000 members).
I was honored to be one of speakers and share insights about how to market to female consumers by partnering with influential women bloggers. BlogFrog has grown to over 75,000 members, including over 50,000 women/mom bloggers and has launched influencer campaigns with brands like Kenmore, Hallmark, Living Social, International Delight and many others. It was exciting to share what we’ve learned about forming successful partnerships between brands and bloggers to an audience that really wanted to know.
Brands want to work with bloggers, and vice versa, but there is a lot of dissatisfaction and frustration on both sides. For instance, bloggers want to be compensated for promoting product content on their blogs and yet many marketers feel that blog coverage is like media coverage and shouldn’t be “bought”. What elements affect a bloggers trust in a brand and how much money are bloggers really making from brand campaigns? What product categories are most desirable for bloggers and which ones are the most profitable? In addition to those and many others, the big question on everyone’s mind seems to be “What do women bloggers really want in a brand partnership?” No one seemed to have the definitive answer.
While we think we have some good theories from our experience, we decided to get it straight from the bloggers. I worked closely with Wendy Scherer, partner at The Social Studies Group, a social media research company, to survey Blog Frog’s 75,000 members and find out exactly what they want from brands. Over 2,000 women bloggers participated in the 2011 Brands and Bloggers Study and the answers were pretty surprising. We compiled the data into a research report and I presented the results at the conference, the same day the news was released to the press.
The news was covered by Media Post (Women Bloggers Studied as Sponsored Conversations Start) and by Digital Journal (Research Study: 90% of Women Bloggers Want to Work With Brands but Many are Ignored).
The conference had some great presentations, including keynotes by Adam Sohn, Public and Influencer Relations at Microsoft and Sean Carlson, News Industry Relations at Google. Conference sessions were held on three different floors of a 20-story building, which wasn’t ideal for networking, and I heard rumblings from some attendees about sessions that covered information they felt wasn’t really new. But overall, I thought it was well-organized and definitely worth attending. Many thanks to sponsors Business Wire, Dow Jones, Pitchengine, Pressroom, and Raven.