Remember when we were all worried about what blogger and Twitter endorsements would do to the reputations of those individuals who participated? Many social media and regular media and media media experts were fretting that selling your blogging soul to a brand would reduce your credibility to your audience.
Well, holy crap, we couldn’t have been more wrong.
Not only are bloggers more influential than ever, it seems that the more they whore themselves out to brands, the greater their influence becomes. It’s as if their communities are actually rooting them on as they get on the “take.” It’s like a great big, “Stick-it-to-the-man” thing, where all the readers are cheering that their favorite living-room, pseudo journalist is finally getting her due.
And the agencies and PR shops and brands and media buyers could not be happier about all this. They crow and crow about their “earned media,” which is really “paid media.” But why split hairs here? They’re getting those coveted endorsements from the average mom who just happened to be sitting on top of a media empire, all for a fraction of the cost that real media empires cost. Hell, sometimes all it takes it shipping free product and they are getting thousands of impressions.
Of course, there is the question of whether this is really moving the needle on sales. As with all things social, we are loathe to discuss the troubling ROI question. But no one is looking too closely at this because we are earning...I mean buying...I mean earning...I mean buying...cheap awareness for our products and no one is getting hurt. But still, you gotta wonder if it’s doing anything to get a “almost-earned” endorsement from a blogger, when the audience listens with equal rapt attention to the average Today show product placement, which let me tell you, is still reaching far more of America that Bobby-Sue’s living-room blog.
But back to the point. We were wrong in thinking that a blogger’s audience was any different from a loved celebrity’s audience. That’s why books fly off the shelf when Oprah recommends them, even though we know Oprah’s on the take. It doesn’t matter to us. We like Oprah anyway. The same is true of bloggers on the take. Their audiences think of them as celebrities. So an endorsement has the same effect. It’s just cheaper.
So have at it, you willing product Johns, looking for a good blogger wench to bed. We need no longer fear a venereal backlash of audience outrage. And while you’re at it, I run a popular podcast and also love to accept free merchandise. Call me! 336-549-0938.