I e-mailed Romania's no. 1 blogger, Zoso, and asked him to meet me for a cup of coffee and a chat about the state of blogvertising and digital in general. I had previously met him at an Ericsson event and thought he was a bit of a evil dog, not sparing anyone their share of shit, but in a quiet cafe with a slice of pizza he turned out to be a bit less vituperative.
Zoso writes the most visited blog in Romania, in Romanian, and focuses on media, digital and sometimes the bitter truth about living and working in Romania. I got him to answer some questions about the type of projects he got approached with and why he had done the now (in)famous Logan project.
I did not want to record the conversation so I will just jot down some of the conclusions on the topics above
There are different ways of doing it and Romanians seem to be less in touch with all these but Zoso thinks that ultimately blogs are the brainchild of personalities and the reason people read blogs are because they like what these people have to say. If you can get them to try out your product and like it [and then hopefully write about it], it's the best endorsement you can get. He would never write good stuff about products he thinks are crappy (he named one soft drink :-) and when he writes he mainly says what he thinks even if the product is not the best. it's the deal with all his endorsements: tell it as it is. the brand manager can take it or leave it.
Fortune from blogging
Not too many people approach him for projects. People come to him and ask him to come up with his own way of promoting a product. This seems to be great at first but it usually ends up with them commenting on his project and rejecting it over and over again. Zoso puts all this down to people not yet understanding that digital communication is different from regular communication. He seldom makes more than E500/month from these projects because he refuses to sell CPT (sites do that).
The Logan project
He was approached by a team that had outlined a clear path and he felt he could do it without feeling he was doing a disservice to his blog and credibility. He was right - the endorsement did not hurt traffic or the trust people place in what he says. he also thinks he is partly responsible for the double than predicted traffic to the Logan Kiss FM website. It worked based on the same simple recipe: he did not lie about the car or the project, he simply wrote what he thought about the car and the communication (which BTW included him saying he would not buy a Logan and that Logan was a fair car, meaning giving you enough for the paid cost, but not a great car)
The attitude to blogging and bloggers
People are wary of bloggers because they feel they can harm business but don't know how to truly approach them (he actually told me that if my company did something nice i could send it to him and he would blog about it. if it was good :-); he talks about an online shop which he gave a bad review to and that la ter contacted him and tried to fix the problem by being decent and open.
He is surprised by the amount of people sitting on a pile of opportunities and not doing anything about them. There's lots of people in Internet in Romania who have no clue what to do - they simply have a lot of potential and do not know where to take it.
His secret to being no. 1 blogger
Devote 3-4 hours a day to keeping up to date with your topics and only write honestly about stuff.
I was pleased to realize that things are really simple and not a science as some people will have you think. What he said made a lot of sense and confirmed most of the stuff I had been thinking of and writing about. Blogvertising is about harnessing the support of influential people, digital is about providing good honest content or apps and Internet is about utility. :-)
communication is essential to business making and it involves more than the ability to name your product, write a tag line or a press release. It's an intricate, rational and scalable effort and, let's face it, not anyone can do it.