Before making a purchase, whether big or small, usually requires a bit of research beforehand. Uncommon or infrequent items that involve a little more thought than your everyday items means searching the Internet looking for product or company reviews. It is more uncommon that people do not perform some form of research before paying the big bucks.
What do people search for? In general, people look for reviews of the specific product, how the company interacts with customers, product deficiencies or defects, and or opinions of popular bloggers. In terms of blogs, those who have a large group of dedicated followers are the most attractive for companies wishing to generate positive buzz on their new product. Companies who are up and coming with a new product want to get their product out there. Their resources may be limited and they may not have the right connections to get their product introduced to the right market at the right time. So how then do these companies get their product to the right people at the right place at the right time? By sending free samples of their products to influential bloggers. These bloggers will already have an established following who most importantly, trust what they have to say. All you need is one positive post about your product to spark some interest about your product. Needless to say, it is also true that this can work in the opposite way; one bad posting when you are starting out can hinder your progress. That is why social listening is so important for companies to constantly be monitoring and aware of in order to stay on top of what others have to say about them and their products. However, the success of a blog is primarily dependent on its readership. This reliance on their followers prevents bloggers from writing good reviews for disappointing or under performing products.
A new study from Penn State has found that sending products for free to bloggers does not mean that said product or company will receive a recommendation or positive review. Recently, bloggers have reported that instead of feeling obliged to say something positive about them, they actually feel more authorized to telling the truth rather than doing them any favors. Regulations have now come into existence that requires bloggers to disclose any and all compensation or benefits sent to them. These changes in regulations have had very minor implications on the art of blogging. The introductions of these rule changes have not been as game changing as one might think. For the most part bloggers have and will continue to go on as they please.
Despite what has just been discussed, many of those who update their blog regularly for their followers do not see themselves as holding influence over their readers. This is an interesting point once you stop to think about it. These individuals do not distinguish themselves as those who create the ideas from those who read or follow the ideas. Popular bloggers maintain more influence than they probably realize, as is shown with the number of visits. That being said, publishers of blogs do not see posting about products or companies as a method of advertising but as a form of spreading the word.
For those of us who have trouble making decisions, bloggers will always be there to help guide our thought processes. Keep those posts coming!