As a blogger, influencer, and storyteller, competition is fierce. There’s always someone out there with better images, better evergreen content, more followers, and most importantly bigger and better numbers. However, we want to tell you that your numbers don’t matter. I don’t care if you receive a million views a month – what does your engagement look like? Are people actually conversing with you? The answer is, probably not. I want to talk about the truth about blog statistics and the influencer.
You’re Lying and I Know It
Here’s the thing, bloggers lie, you’ve all done, we’ve all done. Why? Because of competition. I know the feeling of receiving an email and in it states, “We are looking for 20 influencers for XXXX and compensation is $XXXX). You go to look at your Google Analytics and realize that for the last thirty days you’ve only received 4,000 page views, only 1,012 of them are unique. You also realize that in the email they wanted a minimum of 10,000 page views, and between me and you, we know they meant unique. So you fib a little – or a lot. You know that in the back of your head, your images are amazing, you’re going to get repinned at least 100 times and Retweeted 224 times. Instagram will be abuzz with your amazing pic and artfully created hashtags. Right? Sound familiar?
Alarm Bells and Media Kit
Every now and then, whether it be in an article about a blogger’s traffic or in a media kit, you’ll see a statistic that doesn’t ring right. The times when my alarm bells go off happen when the traffic numbers are high, like 300,000 visitors a month or once I saw 26 million, but they had a low comment count, minimal social media shares on posts, moderate Twitter following. It shows that either the traffic statistic is false, or that the blogger has a transient and unengaged audience.You’re probably sitting there saying, but not everyone comments! And oh that is so true! I receive hundreds of emails a day and wish each and every one of them was a comment on my blog. But don’t forget that you have other platforms to engage on. Pick one or two and talk, conversate!
The Blogging Rat Race
The Blogosphere has become a rat race. Brands want more, networks want more, and bloggers want paid more for less work. When I look at some of the things influencers state, I’m amazed that no one has caught on yet. Someone is always applying for the same job as you, we know it’s tough. But think of the hundreds of teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, accountants, all applying for the same job. One gets hired because they stand out. Your numbers don’t make you stand out – they make you unbelievable. The truth is, we have ways of verifying your information – lots of ways!
Secrets of the Trade
While there is no absolute way of knowing traffic of another website, it’s relatively easy to look at traffic and ranking websites to see if the data makes sense. The Marketing and PR industry often has subscriptions to Cision which offers traffic and contact information. However, there are free sites like Compete, Quantcast, WebsiteLooker, Statshow, and sometimes Google Ad Planner that offer statistics on traffic. If a site is big enough, Alexa offers information on rankings, demographics, and keywords. And you’re probably saying, no one uses Alexa anymore – you don’t, but we do. None of these sites paints an exact picture, but it’s relatively standard in the industry to research bloggers and look at traffic, and social influence stats before contacting a blogger for a potential marketing campaign.
The same goes for social media. Say a Twitter account goes from 1,500 to 40,000 seemingly overnight, or if a Twitter profile has a large “following” but they are not known within the industry, nor does their website have any interaction, something is fishy. Analytic sites like Status People’s Fakers and Topsy are both great tools to measure the organic nature (or fakeness) of a Twitter profile. It’s only a matter of time before these types of analytics tools come out for other platforms.
The Truth Will Set You Free
Tell the truth storytellers. We want to see your engagement, not your numbers. If you only receive 5,000 page views a month, but your 15,000 twitter followers are RT’ing you, conversing with you on FB and on Instagram – that’s frigging great! That’s what we want, that’s what brands want. I don’t want to write about the virtues of honesty. Sure, not everyone researches, analyzes, or even knows how to check stats. Many brands, journalists, and even bloggers don’t know about the tools out there that can either give your proposals and media kits credibility. However, a growing number are learning and are quite savvy when it comes to social media statistics. These statistics are what go into the reports that are presented in budget meetings, campaign meetings and they do make the difference when being chosen for a campaign. High traffic stats might justify charging higher rates, but if the stats aren’t real and the results are lackluster, you won’t have a returning client. When we offer YOU a campaign, we are offering it because there is something in you and your community that we want and need.