Illustration: Sandra Kuan
Five years ago, PR 2.0 started to organize informal get-togethers inviting bloggers who not only couldn’t believe it – simply because it didn’t exist when they launched their blog – but who generally couldn’t understand why they were invited. Regardless, it livened things up and gave everyone (at least from Paris) the opportunity to meet other bloggers face-to-face.
Agencies sent out loads of invitations and everyone was genuinely happy to see each other. At the time, advertisers themselves didn’t really know why they were doing this type of activity. Nevertheless, it was cool, innovative and provided a web-oriented dimension.
Operations multiplied. Bloggers were invited to several events each night and offered countless gifts. As a result, blogs were created with the sole purpose of taking advantage of this windfall.
As the number of operations increased, so did the need to stand out. Sample kits were created to increase product seeding and to catch the eye of the solicited blogger. Teasers, where bloggers had to figure out what was behind the kit, were used to generate buzz. And bloggers generally played along, proud to be the first to solve the riddle.
As for the blogger, he began to understand the value of his article and was criticized on all fronts by his readers once he swayed too far from his blog’s purpose or participated in too many events.
No one really wanted to say the same thing as his neighbour, either, and while many bloggers were invited, the trend slowly started to flip, with several different levels of operations (no, it’s not fair but that’s life). Bloggers also started to demand and receive a bit of consideration.
Then came the sponsored posts, horrible remunerated posts that are deplorable but practical when it came to accessing sacred blog stats and knowing the number of posts. PR 2.0 started to standardize in terms of KPI. Bloggers explained to anyone who would listen that the number of page views, rankings and other fast figures didn’t make sense. Bloggers explained the meaning of a PR blogger: a long-term text optimization, site optimization and influencer with a more-or-less large network. Bloggers also attempted to prove that the image of the influential blogger doesn’t really work.
Social media is on the rise and enthusiasts stand out. These are people who love the brand without the same visibility as bloggers, but who are more valuable because they are genuine fans. The brand, in turn, provided these enthusiasts with increased visibility.
At the same time, blogger relations continued to stabilize and brands and bloggers appeared to understand each other, with each aware of the other’s expectations.
Sample kits had gone the way of the dodo and the focus shifted to: the product, the email invitation, the sender, the operation’s appeal in relation to the blog and the opportunity to meet people who offer something completely new.
It’s time to understand how it all works. The right choice for the right brand has never made more sense.