A few weeks ago, following the new FTC guidelines that affected the blogging community, Mediamark Research & Intelligence released a one-sheet on the size of the blogging community. With only 3.4% of the total adult population writing blogs, it’s somewhat remarkable that they’ve such a strong impact on consumers and have grabbed so much attention from the marketing and advertising community.
What is it about this niche group, beyond an ability to write (hopefully on similar subjects as the marketers’ products/services) to their captivated audience? What’s driving them to spend their time writing, often for free? Going back to that same, most recent MRI study (Spring 2009), I drilled a little further into the heart of the blogging community: those that both write and read the online articles (2.7%, or just 6M adults).
More than Moms
While we often hear about the Mommy Blogging storm, only 51% of adults who visit and write blogs are women. In fact, less than 50% of all bloggers even have kids in their households, making only 23% or 1.4M Bloggers who are Moms of a kid under 18. Nearly a third of Bloggers are presumably “roomies,” living with multiple adults in their home. Similarly, Bloggers are also 55% more likely (than other adults) to have never married. This, of course, is a direct reflection of their younger skew, as graphed in that Consumer Intelligence article from MRI.
To captivate an audience, bloggers are more than strong writers. Publishing regularly requires a lot of content; their natural creativity and curiosity combine to inspire that material. They spend more time going to museums and art galleries; painting or drawing; playing a musical instrument; and reading books. This also drives their desire to continue learning new things, which keeps them not only in the classroom, but seeking new experiences in travels both domestically and around the world.
Taking a Break
Seeking variety in their everyday is important and they consider themselves to be very sociable, which leads them to spend a lot of time doing fun things. Activities shared with friends are preferred: participating in team sports; golfing; going to bars and nightclubs; playing pool; attending live music; and going to the movies are just a few ways they like to break their routine with friends.
Their downtime isn’t always about being out with their friends, though. They also enjoy time at home, playing word games or on their computer, reading up about new technology and current events, or even perusing the ‘net for fashion advice.
“In My Opinion…”
Their curiosity and large time spent searching for new, interesting things gives them a lot to talk about, on- and off-line. They thrive at being in the spotlight and will admit they enjoy being the center of attention. Comfortable expressing themselves and often finding themselves in a leadership position, they’re more likely to have made speeches, signed petitions, called radio stations, written editors, or written something that’s been published. With friends, they also often seek out ways to share their opinions, particularly when it comes to products. They like to be the first among their friends and co-workers to try the latest products and services, and often give advice before those peers make purchases.
Making an Impression
With so many eyes on them, it’s no wonder they want to look their best. Exercise is essential, but they also wear designer clothes to impress others and admit that they, “want others to say ‘wow’,” when they see their tech gadgets.
Similarly, they also like to give the impression that their busy lives are under control. With so much on their plates, they use technology to help stay organized, carrying PDAs and booking travel, making purchases and paying bills online. Beyond not putting a stamp on an envelope, they cut out little daily routines like clipping coupons and preferring stores that offer low daily prices. They are also more likely to make fast, impulsive purchases and spend on credit if they really want something.
At the end of the day, they still agree, “I’m so busy, I often can’t finish everything I need to in a day.” Eleven percent have even experienced anxiety in the last year; that’s 54% more likely than the average adult.
Despite their busy schedules, that endless desire to seek, experience and share drives them to be the Bloggers that are not only loved by their audience but by marketers. If they like a product, they’re likely to talk about it, on- or off-line; they’re brand ambassadors, regardless of their websites. The FTC may now require them to say if they received that product for free, but that shouldn’t stop marketers from pursuing relationships with appropriate Bloggers.