Look out TV and newspapers. Bloggers are getting ready to grab a bit of the traditional media's revenue as the influencers’ market in India grows and matures.
The “India Blog Trends 2016” , published by Avian Media’s surveyed 100 top bloggers in India in lifestyle, technology, travel, parenting and food.
The report found that even as there is a move towards high quality content, bloggers are more open than even before to brand partnerships.
Majority of bloggers charging for brand tie-ups
A whopping 90% of bloggers surveyed said they charged a commercial fee for brands who engaged them in content partnerships—around 66% charge less than Rs. 25,000, while 4% charge over Rs 100,000 on an average. The report states that 97% of bloggers surveyed were open to brands engaging them with information and ideas.
55% of bloggers in the report said they sometimes add brands to their posts, while 25% said they do this on a regular basis.
The report predicts that as the influence of credible blogs continue, brands will need to get used to the idea of paying for content placement.
According to Avian Media co-founder and CEO, Nitin Mantri, “Brands have mixed views about this and rightly so. The important point is the payment to bloggers cannot be about content. The editorial and opinion of bloggers should always remain neutral and without bias. Brands should be paying bloggers for time and effort. For example, if a blogger wants to review a pair of trekking shoes by actually wearing them and going for a trek, the brand can pay for the travel, food, and camping. Even a fee. But these shouldn’t guarantee positive reviews from the blogger. Brands should let the blogger honestly compare it with other brands in the market, talk about likes and dislikes, and improvement areas. This way, the story becomes more credible, and readers will appreciate the honest take more.”
This is a tough balancing act for both brands and bloggers, the former used to getting reviews done for a song or a meal! A recent blog post by top food blogger Rekha Kakkar is a case in point:
Quality not quantity
The report predicts that such an approach to blogger engagement will not get you results. Shared value rather than commercially driven relationships will count. While traffic is still a top analytic, increasingly engagement, according to bloggers surveyed, is a key measure to judge whether the quality of content is working.
“Focusing on your content is of the utmost importance. A lot of young YouTubers are too caught up with events and gadgets when they need to be focused on reporting and writing about the industry. The consistency of a blog can be a huge factor while predicting its success. PR professionals also use this as a criterion while deciding with blog to collaborate with. Sources of income include collaborating with brands to highlight the key features of a device which helps brands to promote the product in a right manner. The blog’s credibility is of the utmost importance”, says Abhishek Bhatnagar, GadgetstoUSe.com
The brand and blog face off
Most bloggers welcome brands contacting them for promotions and campaigns, as long as the content is relevant. However, few bloggers said that blogger engagement needs to evolve for brands. “Brands should focus on quality and not quantity. There needs to be exclusivity in a product that I would like to be associated with. Brands need to stop worrying about upsetting people and focus on quality of content offered,” said Ashwin from C4eTech, who runs a successful technology vlog on YouTube.
Charge or not to charge
According to the report, most bloggers from the auto and tech sectors are open to writing product reviews without a fee and most bloggers in the lifestyle, beauty and fashion space charge a fee for FAMs, product reviews or any other brand endorsements.
Though 90% respondents admitted that they charge a fee for content partnerships, they also stated that this does not extend to certain situations, which require them to be candid and speak their mind. Most bloggers said they are open to attending events, meets, and press conferences without charging a fee. Attending such events helps to enhance a blogger’s social presence and they readily accept these offers.
In addition, 57% respondents also said that they don’t like to charge money for product reviews as they don’t not want to compromise on their editorial freedom and want to be honest with their readers.
“If a brand wants to sponsor a certain part of the channel, then I can highlight the brand but not lie to my followers. I can’t promise positive reviews. I must agree with it. I will never do something that will make me lose my interest or my reader’s faith in me.” Ashwin.