Bloggers and YouTubers are crucial for brands looking to target students

Fewer students are tuning into prime-time television or reading traditional newspapers or magazines today, so for advertisers looking to reach a younger audience bloggers and YouTubers are the key.

In nineties and early noughties, the easiest way to reach a large audience of young people was to run an ad campaign on MTV or buy ad space in NME and the brand’s message would be seen by hundreds of thousands of young people and a brand could be part of youth culture.

However, the internet has changed all that and individuals can have a following that far exceeds a traditional media brand. Young people are now far more likely to tune in to the latest video from their favourite YouTuber than watch the latest youth-focused drama on Channel 4, or read their favourite music blog rather than flick through the pages of NME.

However, whilst newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters have had decades to create rules for how they govern advertisers to avoid conflicts of interest, these new “influencers” are still learning making up the new rules as they go along. YouTube was only launched in 2005 and WordPress, the content management system that runs most blogs and many larger magazines was only launched in 2003 – these ideas and technologies are still very much in their early years.

There are already some laws that govern brand promotions, but what is really important for bloggers and influencers is, as PR professional Nancy Behrman says, being “true to your own personal convictions”.

Indeed, young people are quick to judge bloggers and influencers that they feel have “sold out”, and that reputation can kill a YouTuber or blogger’s career. For those that want to build an “enduring business”, Nancy Behrman explains “perseverance” is key and that means being honest and open with your audience.

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