Before I start this post, as much as I'd like to be coming at this from a blogger point of view, I'm not. This blog post has been written with my PR/ social hat on. Take it or leave it but these are my thoughts.
After reading Jess, The Travelista's post, I've been thinking about why PRs would work with 'fake' bloggers. A fake blogger is someone who uses bots or tactics to inflate their social followers or engagements. Every word of Jess's post it true and it's an extremely valuable read to anyone wanting to work with bloggers. However, I wanted to add one little bit. The clients and the fee. I don't condone using 'fake' bloggers at all. Ever. But I can see why some PRs do and why for some it's out of their control.
A while ago I researched a blogger that was highly recommended by a colleague only to find that she does follow unfollow. It was pretty obvious by a new social account she'd set up which suddenly had tens of thousands of followers but only a few posts. I was disappointed but there was nothing I could do. I'd been instructed to outreach to her. Why did I do it? Because no matter how much I push back on PRs or clients, if they want a certain blogger then they'll have it. It's their budget and if they want to throw it away on fake engagement that's up to them, as long as I've made it clear that it's a waste there's nothing more I can do.
Another reason some PRs may use fake bloggers is that it takes too long to check every single person they find for a big campaign. Time is money and over-servicing is always an issue within PR. Finding bloggers is a time consuming task by itself. Facebook groups like U.K. Bloggers that allow you to post opportunities on are great (and thanks team for everything you moderate on there!) but, PRs aren't always allowed to post details about the campaign. Making lists of bloggers to approach usually has to be a manual task or you have to work from existing lists or relationships. Clients don't want to have to fork out an extra Xk for their PRs to sense check bloggers even more than they're already doing (I wrote about what I look for here). It all takes time and when a lot of bloggers don’t respond to emails, you tend to have to build bigger lists than you need.
Sometimes it's impossible to find the right bloggers for the niche you need. Trust me. I've had to find a needle in a haystack more often than I would have liked. Imagine how difficult it is to find a pregnant blogger living in Manchester who doesn't have any children yet and has over 20K followers on each social account. Oh, and hasn't spoken about any competitor in the past six months. It's difficult okay?
I don't think fake bloggers should be used on any campaign ever. I'll always put in extra work to make sure I don't work with any but, I guess what I'm trying to say is that finding true, relevant bloggers to work on a client campaign is long hard work which usually needs to be done in half the time it should take.
Some PR's put a lot of time into finding good bloggers. Sometimes it's near impossible to find someone in the time limit, budget or niche that you're looking for. Bloggers .... don't get pulled into the trap of counting followers and comparing yourself to others. Be yourself. Be genuine. You'll be noticed and, if you're not, just message a PR and ask to meet for a coffee to talk about how you can start working with them.