Should press and bloggers be treated the same?

Last night, Jess participated in the We Blog Design Twitter chat, hosted by the fabulous Stacey Sheppard and Katie Treggiden. The chat was all about design shows & events and one of the questions resulted in a debate as to whether or not bloggers are considered press. It was a loaded question but one that really got us thinking.

The way we consume media is changing by the day and whether you like it or not, the focus on digital is more important than ever before. Traditional PR, although still crucial for spreading the word, is no longer the only way to get your brand noticed. Bloggers, social media and online magazines are increasingly becoming a more influential source for customers to discover brands. Why? It’s simple. Bloggers blog because they are passionate about what they write about. Their writing is generally a sideline to their day job and is always about something they really love. When they write about brands or product they are giving a really authentic endorsement, which their readers respond to positively. It works in exactly the same way word of mouth does. If a friend recommends something to you, you are more likely to buy into it. Consumers look to blogs to offer them advice and inspiration for products before they hand over their cash, so blogger advocacy must not be ignored.

Traditional press, although still very influential are not always writing about products they like, but whether or not their readers will buy into it. This does not mean they are any less important but it does mean that the two mediums must be handled differently by PR’ and marketers.

The information given to both traditional press and bloggers is fundamentally the same; they both want accuracy, and often look to brands for inspiration, trends or ideas for their writing. However, when it comes to bloggers, it’s important to personalise your approach. Yes, this might take more time but it is worth the investment! Take a look at the kind of thing they write about and gain a solid understanding of why they do what they do. This will help you tailor content to suit the bloggers writing style and to ensure the information you give them is in line with their personal style.

The digital revolution is by no means slowing in pace and brands and PR’s must stay ahead of the changes happening within the industry. It’s an incredibly exciting time for the communications industry and we must work together to ensure a positive and successful working practice is developed for the digital realm.

In what way do you use digital and traditional mediums to influence your purchasing decisions? Do you think PRs and communications pros are getting it right?

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