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Why You Should Work With Bloggers NOT Celebrities

Celebrity endorsements true or false

by Yvonne DiVita from Master Book Builders formerly Nurturing Big Ideas

Heartfelt Blogging is In - It Always has Been

If you blog, if you do product reviews, or offer an opinion on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, your friends, and network connections are listening. Not only are they listening, but they're also taking your words to heart.

Blogher, the women's online blog network now owned by SHE Media, did a 2011 Social Media Matters study and discovered that women trust their blogger friends more than they trust the celebrities pocketing millions to promote products. Well, it's only natural! Even if a brand is offering *F*R*E*E* stuff, it's a small payment compared to the dollars the Kim Kardashians of the world are paid to 'mention' the make-up they use or the headache medicine they purportedly take. You can never be sure about celebrities. Are they fans of the product, or are they just doing it for the money?

Even a payment from an ad network is far less to bloggers than payment to TV or movie stars pitching...paper towels.

Follow the Rules

Let's face it - we all want to make money at what we do. I do sponsored posts now and then. I don't write about any product I wouldn't use. Or haven't used. I do book reviews occasionally and yes, I get some great books for free. Would I turn down a million dollars to promote, oh, say... the latest fashion from Sarah Jessica Parker? Probably not - but, I'd openly SAY - I don't care for her or her stuff. (so they likely wouldn't give me the million dollars, darn it!)

Here's the scoop - in the article quoted above, which is still relevant today, twelve years later,  "...personal branding and marketing guru Dan Schawbel said it simply comes down to the fact that the average American can't identify with Tinseltown types."

Tinsletown types. He said that! Get it? Tinseltown types - the glamourous folks in Hollywood we love to admire but don't much relate to. 

Schwabel is further quoted in the article saying, "Corporations who are trying to target a specific market should invest in several blogs that cater to that market. It's a cheaper, more effective, and measurable way of advertising."

Tinsletown types

Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder and COO of Blogher is also quoted. Here's what she said, "There is a definite trend we've seen where people trust the opinion of a regular person, we trust any person force more than any corporate force when it comes to getting advice and recommendations."

Why? Because there is an unspoken rule in blogging that you do not write about or support something just for the money. It's about the people who read the blog. If we're not true to them, we might as well hang up our keyboards.

From Boston Hospitality Review, we learn that media influencers, also called microcelebrities, range from unknown high school girls, fitness trainers, and industry experts, to wealthy people who adore luxury brands (Zhang et al., 2019). Their high reach and authenticity render them with the same power as traditional celebrities in influencing consumers’ purchasing behaviors (Cheng et al., 2020).

The same power. Because

SMIs are usually perceived as trustworthy, credible, and authentic because information shared by these influencers is considered as non-commercial conversation and relatively free from manipulation by companies (Uzunoğlu & Kip, 2014).

That's the key - non-commercial. Bloggers blog because they're passionate about something. If a brand they don't use or want to endorse tries to engage them - to get their current marketing campaign or product in front of their followers - the blogger is more likely to be honest and say, "No thank you. My readers don't want that kind of content." Brands know this now, but in the early days they did not and a lot of bloggers, myself included, were pitched female products when we had a pet blog. Really? Yes, it happened. 

Now, brands are more selective. They've learned and have marketing experts on staff that know which blogs to pitch. 

I Am Selective - The Same As Everyone Else

Therefore, it stands that when I'm looking for health information, pet information, fashion advice, cooking advice, or what book to read next, I am going to my gal pals who blog and see what they say. We are all online looking online for answers and many of those personal answers, key insights, or product promotions come from bloggers. 

I am not talking about just women of a certain age - which is the label people give me and mine. Because at our 'age' we're always looking for ways to look younger, feel younger, be younger... according to TV commercials, anyway. I am not even talking about Gen Z ore Gen whatever. I am talking about people. Women and men, When we need information, we're hitting the net and the likely result is going to be a blog, whether some of us know it or not. Personally, I want to hear the nitty-gritty from women I know. I value other women's opinions. If you do a product review on a camera, I'm listening more closely to you than to the blogger over at TechCrunch, who might be too techy for me. I want down-to-earth reporting. That's what bloggers give. They are authentic.

The Blogging Book Tour! 

I really want my authors and clients, the people whose books I believe in, to understand this. A blogging book tour can soar your sales. Yes, there is work involved. You - dear author - must do the hard work of finding the bloggers. And vetting them.

You must be prepared to send them a free book. Some of them will take eBooks so you don't have to mail a print copy but have those print books handy. A signed copy from an up-and-coming author is golden!

The book tour should start the day of launch or the day after. You want to continue the excitement of having your book out there in the world. You will engage a number of bloggers - 5 -10 would be groovy - and they will agree to post about the book over a period of days. Or all on the same day. The goal is to drive SEO traffic to both your website and your Amazon sales page. 

It's up to you to reach out to the bloggers personally. Bloggers openly display their contact information so don't worry about finding that. Once you have your list, and it should be more than 10 as some of the bloggers you reach out to won't be able to help (understand they get a lot of these kinds of requests), you should create a spreadsheet to keep track of who you've contacted, when, and whether or not they have responded.

Sometimes, they will want to interview you on their blog. That's a great bonus! Do it! Other times, they may ask for a fee for their time and effort. It is never for a good review of the book. They will be honest in the review regardless of payment. Much like the NY Times or  Washington Post book reviewers - they are paid for their time, effort, and opinion. Exactly the same as a professional blogger who does book reviews all the time. 

Bloggers also do gift guides around the holidays. Or they make up a holiday to have a gift guide around. Bloggers are pretty innovative and creative. If your bloggers do gift guides (where they offer their readers certain products at a discount, offered by the brand) get in on that. Give away a few free books. And time with you to talk about the book. Have a scintillating offer ready so the blogger's readers jump on it right away!

Getting Personal 

In the end, it's about personal relationships that grow as you get to know the blogger better. It's about women knowing their friends will always be honest with them. It's about being able to have that conversation - not something you can do with Ellen DeGeneres or Rachael Ray or Oprah. We value them because they at least try to relate to us. But, in the end, they're celebrities. They get paid more in one day than we'll make in a lifetime. When they promote products, they're depositing big chunks of cash in their bank account... when we promote products, we're probably receiving enough to go to the store or the vet or the daycare center...and then, it's gone.

Yes, some bloggers are so successful they make a good living off their blogs. But they still abide by the rule that says authenticity is king. If they stray, they will lose readers and no longer be the influencer they once were. Celebrities - they stray all the time and go about their business as if nothing happened. 

Here's the big question I hear all of you asking: when do bloggers stop being trusted 'friends' and turn into celebrities? How big do you have to be... how much cash does a brand have to throw at a blogger before her readers will begin to wonder if she's sold out? 

There is no number attached to this. Whatever number you have in your head, double it. It doesn't matter. It's the blogger's integrity that counts. Without it, she is just another voice wah-wah-wahing like Miss Othmar, the teacher in the  Peanuts cartoons.  

Don't be Miss Othmar. Be you. 

If you're an author, find blogs and connect with them. They will do more for you than that Facebook ad you're paying for. 



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I prefer not produce but read, being a better writer and author in general I'm stuck to other's blogs

Kevin Warhus

Interesting article. I think that women have a very influential role in social media. Of all the active users I know online I would have to say that a large majority of them are women. I am excited to see how their roles continue to develop down the road.

Yvonne DiVita

Elisa, thanks for the clarification. All the more reason we ladies can feel good about trusting each other. I find it so interesting that corporations and major media continue to try and convince us they're in control - just look at these numbers, kind of stuff.

Truth is - WE, the people, have always been in control and have always trusted each other. Social media just makes all of our opinions and thoughts more important now - because they have a wider audience.

Thank goodness for Blogher's studies. They get to the heart of things... in my brazen opinion.

Elisa Camahort Page

Thanks for the post, Yvonne. The issue with the Edelman Trust Barometer is in the methodology. Our four years of annual studies have consistently shown that you use what you trust and trust what you use. Those who rely mostly on traditional media for their information and entertainment trust traditional media more than social media. those who use social media actively trust social media more than traditional media.

Edelman's trust barometer specifically surveys only people who meet this criteria:
"college-educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media at least several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news at least several times a week." (Source:

So, it's not too surprising that they don't track against the mainstream audience who has become totally social media immersed (78% of online adults now use social media actively).

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