I’ll apologise now if these words aren’t massively coherent, they’re falling out of my brain onto this post as it’s a topic that I feel so passionately about… blogger integrity. Let me explain.
Earlier today, somebody shared a post in a group that I’m a member of on Facebook, as a shout out for Mummy Bloggers. The PR agency in question was Lil Spin. Without thinking, I read that they were looking for mums with babies under 3 and so quickly tweeted them to say that I might fit the bill. Then I scrolled through their feed.
Further reading showed that they’d been having a heated discussion with a number of bloggers for whom I have massive respect, regarding the integrity of bloggers. It related to a post that they’d made promoting Pitch Pack last month…
You’ll read in the last paragraph that they are questioning the honesty and integrity of a blogger; comparing the stats in their media pack to that of Pitch Pack. The post heavily promoted Pitch Pack as being one of the best ways of a blogger assuring their credibility and providing reliable stats. However, not once did they mention that they are the directors of the very same company – no disclosure. The irony…
Now, if you’ve known me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve worked on both sides of the fence… as a blogger and as a PR. I started www.tribalmedia.co.uk a number of years ago as I wanted to do outreach well, with bloggers at the forefront of campaigns, educating brands rather than manipulating bloggers to generate the stats to prove my worth to brands. I’ve turned down more work than I can shake a stick at because I thought that it would damage my reputation with bloggers – the trust of whom means far more than any amount a brand could pay me.
In my years of working with both bloggers and brands, I can honestly say that bloggers are amongst the most honest and trustworthy group of folk that I’ve ever worked with. Of course, there will always be one bad egg, but you’ll find that in any industry sadly. I totally understand that when a brand needs to assess the return on their investment, they need assurance that the statistics that they’re receiving are correct. However, if they’re using an agency to try and build a relationship with that influencer, doubting their integrity at the outset is probably not the best way of doing this.
As a community, we need to look out for one another, to defend one another and to highlight bad practice. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating another company to try and promote my own, my focus is now very much on full-time blogging. I purely hope that I can use my experience to say that PR doesn’t have to be done this way… and to reassure brands that influencers can be trusted, you don’t need expensive software to prove this. Decent agencies will use multiple metrics as well as bloggers providing access to their analytics directly.
Don’t even get me started on the quality vs quantity argument… time for sleep.