Have you heard of Zoella? If you look at the official Band Aid 30 photograph you will see her standing between Ed Sheeran and Angélique Kidjo. She is the only person in the photograph who is not a singer who performed on the track. She is a Vlogger.
Vloggers are video bloggers. Zoella has more than 6.5 million subscribers to her Youtube channel and her videos regularly get several million views. She has built up some serious influence, and as a result she is the only media representative in the Band Aid photograph.
In the fashion industry Tanya Burr is a well known British Vlogger with nearly 2.5 million subscribers to her Youtube channel. She is flown around the world by companies such as Top Shop and River Island to sit on catwalk front rows. Not far away, on the front row, sits Sonya Esman. Esman is 19 years old and has over 800,000 subscribers to her Russian and English channels.
Vloggers have massive influence on the internet. They are often younger than traditional journalists. Melissa Collins, River Island's head of PR, said that Vloggers are; 'the voice of the people'. It is often quoted that the internet has a democritising effect; you don't have to be on the staff of a major newspaper or magazine to be invited to sit in the front row of a show. You need to have your finger absolutely on the pulse and to have built a following. It makes sense because what younger generations deem to be 'cool' is often anti-establishment, or at least not part of the world that their parents inhabit.
Vloggers have influence in areas such as fashion and music. People still tend to turn towards traditional media channels for world news and politics. However, many of the most trusted journalists working for the BBC and other organisations maintain widely followed blogs and use social media, such as Twitter.
Vlogging is not a particularly attractive word, and it would be easy to dismiss it as an idea. However, all of the evidence is that this is where young people increasingly turn to for their influences. If you are in PR it's probably time to start building a Vlogger list to run alongside your traditional media list. In some industries this is old news, in others the influencers may just be starting to appear and if you can spot them and support them early you may find that you have a very valuable long term asset.