Money-making content on the rise but bloggers still can’t be bought

2016 Global Bloggers Survey reveals latest trends in relationship between bloggers, brands and the communications industry

Although earning a living from content is on the rise, a new study has found that integrity is still more important to bloggers than monetisation.
Now in its third year, the 2016 Global Bloggers Survey reveals how the blogging industry is developing and in particular, this year, the results shine an interesting light on how the relationship between bloggers, brands and communication professionals is developing.
Social media’s importance as a communication tool is now well-established and as blog volumes increase by tens of millions each year, so does blogging’s impact.
Blogging’s global reach has created a new generation of influencers who daily affect brands’ relationships with their audiences and bloggers are increasingly interested in establishing long-term partnerships with brands.
But they’re not prepared to do that at any cost. While greater numbers start blogging as a hobby (33%), 20% say they blog to earn a living. What is clear is that while there is a desire to monetise blogs – 50% of bloggers state that they expect to earn a living from blogging -the majority of respondents (77%) claim that a financial benefit or incentive will not distract them from their niche or commitment to their audience.
Bloggers are becoming ever more sophisticated and experienced, with most having written for at least four years. And at the same time, are recognising that their audiences are becoming more discerning about what they read. It appears that to meet this challenge they are taking more time to produce their blogs.
As audiences increasingly feel a kinship with their preferred authors and trust them to deliver honest and direct information, the survey suggests there is enormous potential for brands and PRs to work alongside bloggers to tap into the benefits this brings.
Andy Merchant, co-founder of Bloggers Required, which published the survey in collaboration with agency TAMBA, said: “With bloggers from across the globe sharing their opinions, experiences and motivations, this year’s survey proves a vital resource for brands wishing to enhance and optimise their relationship with bloggers.
“This year we’ve seen more brands align themselves with social media influencers and the value of the blogging community to its audiences is stronger than ever. The 2016 survey, which had our biggest response yet, reflects this and provides the most accurate insight into how this new influencer market is developing.”
As well as obvious benefits that come with sharing a brand or product message across a global audience, working alongside bloggers can bring with it other useful results. The survey shows that most bloggers blog four times a week and 50% of them check their analytics. This highlights a great opportunity not only share messages amongst target audiences, but also to obtain a closer understanding of reach and audience reaction.
Brands should also take note that most bloggers say that they are willing to monetise their content with sponsored posts or product reviews. This opens up strong opportunities to work innovatively with bloggers to create engaging content and bespoke approaches which reflect the growing desire for transparent and focused connections with target audiences.
While relationships between bloggers and brands are growing, there remains considerable room for improvement from those who help facilitate these relationships deliver their role. The good news is that 20% of all bloggers say that they respond to all PR pitches, indicating their willingness to work with PRs. Yet, only 9 % say that all the pitches they receive are well tailored and interesting and less (8%) use pitches as a source of inspiration.
Kay Hammond, CEO at TAMBA, a UK marketing agency which works with the likes of Christian Aid, Pirelli and Superdry, said: “Agencies like ours are in a unique position to interpret the needs of client organisations or brands to marry their influence with the messages of an organisation; they should take advantage of this growing communication channel at is nascent stage.
“Key to achieving this is understanding from where bloggers gain inspiration. 46% surveyed said they gained it from areas other than PR pitches, the news or traditional and social media.
“This shows that there is immense reliance on the PRs but that there is still vast opportunity for marketing and communication professionals to work alongside content creators to generate meaningful conversations, drive awareness and impact audience behaviour.”
In the past year, some of the newer entries into the blogging world have attracted the greatest audiences and more bloggers appear to be more adept at monetising blogs.The survey reveals the average income received from blogging is £1,288 per year ($1,738 in the US, and €658 in Europe), it will be interesting to see how this rises next year.
Merchant added: “Moving forward we will see brands and PRs increasingly seek out bloggers and influencers who are an outstanding fit, to help cement longer term partnerships and collaboration. Now is the time for the marketing industry to really grab the mantle and work with bloggers and influencers in a more highly targeted and meaningful way.”