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The rise of professional bloggers

More bloggers are making a career of it according to the latest UK Bloggers Survey from software provider Vuelio, in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University. Although nearly two-thirds (62%) of bloggers do it in their spare time, there’s been a 4% rise in the number for whom it is their main source of income and a 6% rise in those who see it as their future main source of income.

The professionals are also blogging in a different way, posting more frequently with 33% of professionals publishing five or more times a week, compared with 7% of those who do it for a hobby.

Number of unique visits received per month (%)

Established influencers rule
The study shows that the number of largest blogs (with a monthly audience of over 10,000) is nearly unchanged from 2016, suggesting that the established influencers are here to stay and are not leaving much room for new entrants.

The PR/blogger dynamic
PR understands the value of bloggers and how they influence consumers, and bloggers also value PR partners. Joanna Arnold, CEO of Vuelio, says: “Collaborations are typically a blogger’s largest source of income and good relations with PR is the best way for the industry to grow further. Most bloggers (75%) do have these good relationships, though it varies wildly depending on if they are blogging about parenting (87% good relationships) or politics (just 17%).”

Arnold points out that relationships could sour between bloggers and PR partners if there is no reward for a blogger’s effort: “Relationships work both ways and PR needs to be giving something back to the industry, as 71% of bloggers believe PR professionals expect support for their brand for little in return. As 58% of bloggers expect to be paid for all the coverage they give brands, there’s clearly still some ground to be made up between the two fields.”

Most frequently used social media to promote and share blog content (%)

Why bloggers matter
It would be a mistake to underestimate the power of bloggers and therefore fail to nurture long-term relationships. As Arnold says: “Bloggers are influencers – they have an audience who care what they say, what they think, what they buy and what they review. Some have a reach that rivals traditional media; others may be talking to smaller numbers, but nonetheless exerting powerful influence within a dedicated niche.

“As such, influencers are hugely important to PR professionals looking to engage in both broader and more targeted communications – and influencers also offer PROs a relationship less adversarial and with more commercial freedom than they’re used to.”

Never assume, always check
As influencer and blogger marketing is still a changing landscape, it is important that PR professionals keep an eye on all developments. Arnold concludes: “There are plenty of pitfalls alongside the potential, particularly in this phase of development, when the rules of the game are still being written and the transactional nature of some relationships threatens to become the story itself.”

The survey was conducted in February 2017 to explore how bloggers work, their activities and views about their relationship with PR professionals and the future commercialisation of their work. To reach this group of bloggers an online survey was sent to all UK bloggers registered with the Vuelio database. This resulted in 586 usable responses.

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