What's The Difference Between Being a Blogger & Being an Influencer
DO YOU! No one else is you and that is your superpower, remember that! It really is.
Hi! If you’re reading this, chances are you A) have a blog B) want to start a blog C) are a brand that wants to know how to work with bloggers/influencers or D) you’re my mom and you’re being supportive because you love me. If you’re A-C then get ready to take some notes.
As someone who has worked with brands and influencers alike, I’m going to tell you the difference between a blogger and an influencer and what you need to know about how to get from being a blogger to becoming an influencer. And if you’re a brand, we’ll teach you some tricks on how to make sure you’re working with the right individuals.
So you have a blog, and you’ve adopted the term “influencer.” Why? Because you hear everyone else using it so you’re like, “yeah, I’m an influencer too.” But have you really thought about what that means? It’s a buzz word in my world and it seems that just about every person who has a blog is now calling themself an influencer. But let’s pump the breaks for a second. Just because you have a blog, doesn’t mean you’re an influencer. But that also doesn’t mean you can’t become an influencer. Simply put, a blogger is someone who has a website dedicated to sharing their ideas and opinions about a certain topic or topics -- fashion, home decor, food, real estate, weddings, events, puppies, you name it. They share their point of view and ideas on their website. Over the past 8-10 years blogging has increased exponentially. Did you know there are over 440 million blogs in the world, crazy right? But don’t let that discourage you from starting one or continuing to grow yours, okay? I’m simply sharing these stats so that you can become more educated about this space.
Influencers on the other hand are actually influential to their audience. If you’re not able to influencer where or what someone is shopping, where they’re dining, where they’re vacationing, what beauty products they’re investing in then you’re not an influencer. I’ll say it again, if you’re not able to influence your audience’s behavior, then you’re not an influencer - period. And you’re also not an influencer if you’re not knowledgeable about who your audience is and what they like. “Influencers” have learned and studied their audiences and have listened to them through engagement about what it is their audience wants to see from them. So they’re able to create the right content that provides value to their followers.
I’m going to add another term to the mix -- Instagram Star. To me, these are individuals who got on the gram early, started creating beautiful imagery and garnered a large audience as a result but don’t really have any influence. For example, I’ve seen a lot of travelers who take beautiful photos of the places they visit and as a result have a large following but there’s no real engagement and they’re not really influencing anyone’s behavior. Being a social media manager for my clients, we’re inundated with requests from individuals who have a blog and claim to be an influencer. I’m talking about people with less than 2K followers asking to be PAID and or given tons of product for them to “share with their followers.” And we also get requests from instagram stars. It’s my job and my team’s job to vet every request that comes through.
I can see how getting paid to “post on Instagram” might seem cool and receiving clothing and accessories and products for brands might be awesome. But you have to keep in mind that it’s a business transaction. You’re being paid or given product in return for your creativity and your influence. Brands you need to make sure you’re asking the right questions to the people who reach out. Have them send you their engagement stats, and stats on previous collaborations with similar brands. How well did those posts perform? If they have business accounts they can send you info on how many of those posts were saved, if they’re part of RewardStyle, they can send you info on how many swipes ups they get or link clicks. They can also tell you whether or not they get better engagement on their actual posts or stories and that way you can figure out which outlet you want them sharing content on. It’s important to make sure that their audience is going to react to whatever it is they’re helping you accomplish.
Here’s where KPI’s come in. BRANDS and BLOGGERS -- you have to know what KPI’s are if you’re going to be in this business. KPI’s are key performance indicators. They’re what we’re trying to measure for each collaboration. If you’re a newer brand, your KPI’s for a particular campaign might be brand awareness, or Instagram followers, in this case you’d want to make sure your influencers are encouraging their audience to follow your accounts because you’ll be providing similar value to them. Another campaign might be sales driven; you’re wanting to drive traffic to your site or you’re promoting a particular product - a new pair of leggings, a new lipstick shade, a new set of artisanal baskets. Whatever it is you’ve got to establish the KPI’s from the beginning - this should be in your contract. The influencers shouldn’t ever commit or promise an exact amount of sales or followers - because there are no guarantees. But if they are confident in their influence and have shared past campaigns with you, then you’re probably good to move forward with them and test how well their content will perform.
If you’re a blogger, one of my biggest pieces of advice is to stop trying to create what others are doing. Turn off the noise -- don’t follow other bloggers for a while. DO YOU! No one else is you and that is your superpower, remember that! It really is. If you’re consistent with everything that you’re doing to grow your following, you’ll find your tribe and you’ll be influential to your tribe. When you start to get a good amount of questions about what your favorite things are then I think you’re on the right track. And that’s when you should start to reach out to brands and pitch yourself. If you’re still just getting “likes” I would think about ways to engage your audience and see what it is they want from you and how you can get them to start wanting ALL THE THINGS you’re sharing about.
Ready for the next piece of advice? Your pitch is so important! If this were paper I’d say underline this, highlight this, dog ear the page, whatever you need to do to remember this, please DO IT! One way we can tell the bloggers from the influencers, is by their pitch. The bloggers reach out via DM or email and say, “Hey, I’d love to collab.” “Love your product, do you want to collab?” “Hi, I’m a blogger. We should collab.” Or we’ll get the occasional, “I’m a blogger. Would love to collab. My media kit is attached.” But with so much content out there and so many bloggers out there, how are you setting yourself apart by sending a message or email like this? Chances are, you aren’t and that’s why you’re not getting brand deals. You’ve got to provide value to the brand. You’ve got to come to them with ideas on how to promote whatever it is they’re selling -- whether it be potato chips, apparel, a destination. You, as the influencer should approach a brand in a way that get’s them to respond with interest to your emails. Introduce yourself, share links to your blog & your social media platforms, include links to past collaborations with brands, offer some ideas on how you can help promote their product and give stats on your engagement and audience. Make sure it’s on brand for you and for you brands, make sure these individuals are on brand for you as well.
Remember, the most important people in this collaboration is the audience. They need to resonate with the content and they need to feel like they need these new pair of jeans, they need to go to this hotel on vacation, they need this new baby stroller. Brands, don’t be afraid to hop on a call and walk through what you’re hoping to accomplish, and establish what your KPI’s are for each campaign. And honestly, I would suggest not doing one-off brand collaborations. Your audience is smart, they know the difference between a one time paid post and something that’s actually now become a part of their influencer’s life -- their new favorite jeans they’ve been living in for the past two months, their favorite home decor website that they’ve been ordering from non-stop to decorate their new home, or the new restaurant they frequent every weekend for brunch with their loved ones. And brands, if you want to reach out, you should always make sure you’re reaching out to people who’s audience you want to tap into and see how you can work together. And remember, these people are creating content for you which is time consuming and takes a lot of work. Their time and creativity is worth something which is why you’re reaching out to them so keep that in mind as well when they're requesting to be paid for their work.
Hope this helps! If you've got questions for me, feel free to find me on the gram, shoot me an email, or respond below in the comments.