18 May 2024, 20:31
By Tom Bourne Nov 26, 2018

Why bloggers make me antisocial

Bloggers. I’m sick of them. But as a PR I’m confronted with them on an almost daily basis. 

Okay, I’m not having to connect with them over a cup of chai to see how we can align our chakras, but I do have to deal with the poorly constructed emails, outrageous requests and frightful social followings. Such is my apathy that I have now refined a rather excellent way of dealing with them – the delete button. 

Sending the request of ‘another mummy with two children, a husband and a pet’ into the e-ether provides only a fleeting glimmer of satisfaction, but it’s enough to brighten my day and keep me ticking along, so I’m happy. 

“What’s your beef?” I hear you ask … “surely it’s your job to get your clients’ products in front of as many eyeballs [jeez, I hate that term] as possible?” 

In a fashion, yes, but it’s also my job to make sure that I’m picking the right places for brands and products to appear. Some poorly written blog, with naff-all social following, a dodgy layout and some poorly lit, half-baked YouTuber-style video content is hardly putting my clients’ products in the best possible light. 

Of course, there are good bloggers that run a really professional set-up, and which have given us some great engagement, but they don’t see it as some kind of freebie-grabbing exercise – the lesser bloggers actually ask for products to review but have a no-return policy (it’s a business, and one they’re very good at). 

Unfortunately, unlike FMCG, once your product has appeared, there’s not likely to be too many more collaborations on the horizon. There’s sponsored content, but for the good bloggers that’s also frightfully expensive and simply out of reach for many of the brands I work with. Or at least, it makes the investment hard to justify on an ROI basis. 

In fact, it’s the very nature of the sectors that I’m involved in that causes difficulty when it comes to bloggers and influencers – I might just dislike the vacuous transparency of social influencer content. Furniture and flooring are simply just not that fast moving. We’re not touting impulse buys – we’re marketing considered long-term purchases that homeowners rarely make on the back of a two-minute review they’ve seen on Facebook. A sideboard is just not the next must-have mascara or age-defying face massager (my wife’s last influencer-led purchase, I recall). 

As industries, we’re pretty insular, and heavily involved in making our products, so it’s only natural we know the details that make them different to the next. The trouble is, we often think consumers know and see this too. But unless you have ‘wow’, snapshot-style products that can rank in the league of quick, must-have purchases - designer rugs are a good example – to the consumer, one grey carpet looks much like another, and oak is very much oak. 

There is an argument that simply aligning your brand with key bloggers or influencers is enough to elevate status and to win new fans desperate to pull on your beautifully crafted drawers. But I call this out. Frankly, it does very little other than boost my impact KPIs come report time. 

So, unless you’re selling miracle wrinkle cream or anything that costs under a tenner on the side, you might just be best off looking elsewhere to spend your budget. It’s not that I’m down on digital – I think it’s a really useful channel – but expectation and ambition are all-important.

Tom Bourne is the creative director at industry specialist PR company, Select First.

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