I wrote an article last week (if you missed it, read it here first before continuing on) about some of the information being provided in articles and blogs in various publications online from RV influencers. It was an extremely popular article and topic, so I thought I would share some of the comments I received, which would help provide a follow-up to the conversation.
Photos provided by authors and RV influencers, not companies
First, I would like to address the MSN and Lippert screen capture regarding the ad for RV stairs and the photo MSN provided. See below.
I wanted to clarify that the photo was not provided by Lippert, rather a filler from the MSN source and not indicative of what Lippert has been trying to provide when it comes to the RV industry. I have worked with Lippert for more than six years through the RV Repair Club and my seminars. They have been outstanding at providing technical assistance and documentation.
For those of you that read my “Ask Dave” column here on RVtravel.com, you know that I often refer readers to Lippert for not only technical assistance but also customer assistance at the dealer level when they are having issues getting a Lippert component fixed. Lippert has purchased many long-standing OEM companies such as Power Gear, Kwikee, Atwood, and others. What has truly impressed me is the support they provide owners even after the sale! Most companies that purchase a brand have the tendency to cut ties with anything or anyone prior to the sale, but not Lippert.
Ironically, this morning I came across another ad on MSN.com for a Lippert RV step. I would imagine someone at MSN.com got a lesson on what an RV really is. Whew!
Here are some of the other comments I received about RV influencers:
“Let’s not just isolate this to RV influencers. First of all, not everyone who writes an article is an influencer. There seem to be at least 500 articles for every one actual influencer. Secondly, you’re leaving out manufacturers, product companies, and dealers. The amount of misinformation is astounding and comes from just about every nook and cranny within the RV industry. My most recent experience is Camco selling its magnesium anode rod SPECIFICALLY for an Atwood water heater!! Packaged and on the shelves. If I was an influencer I might suggest this in an article, sourced directly from an established RV retailer.” —DW1
This brings up a good point, and something that I would like to expand on. Not all RV influencers are misleading, and not everyone who writes or provides information is an influencer.
Jason Epperson, of RV Miles, says, “While I agree with the sentiment here, the ‘influencer’ frame of reference is unfortunate. Most actual influencers (who mostly hate the term ‘influencer’) care deeply about their audience. I think you’re mostly referring to wannabe-influencers and SEO bloggers. Influencers have influence because their audience trusts them. People don’t trust people who post this stuff. I’ve certainly got things wrong a time or two, and so has RVtravel.com. We all have. It goes with the territory. But we do our best to provide quality, reliable content, and I find the ‘othering’ of content creators unfortunate. We’re all in the same boat.”
Our friends Julie and Marc Bennett, of RV Love, wrote, “Thanks for sharing this article. We share your frustrations at the inaccuracy (and often danger) of much of the content we see, usually by RV newbies and/or SEO bloggers that farm out their articles to people who just do random Google searches to piecemeal a story together.
“However, we also agree with Jason Epperson’s comment about the use of the word ‘influencers,’ which is misused. Influence is not based on churning out hundreds of cruddy articles, or thousands of YouTube followers, but based on a history of building a relationship of trust and respect, and a proven track record of producing quality, accurate, well-researched content.
“We’d hope people can see through the garbage. It’s shocking how many get their ‘news’ from a headline or blindly believe what they read on the internet or see on social media.
“It takes time to produce quality accurate content. And it’s frustrating how many steal content from those of us who put in the effort to share accurate information!”
A follow-up comment
Lastly, I really liked this follow-up comment from the above reader, DW1, who says, “I believe the real problem is using MSN.com as a news source.”
Just to clarify, I don’t use MSN.com as a news source, rather a supplement to my cartoons in the local paper! It is rather funny at times.
So, whether you call yourself an “influencer” or, like me, you are an “influencee” (receiver of information/influence), you/we need to try and educate ourselves as much as possible and verify our information sources. After all, we are all just trying to make our RV experience much more enjoyable.
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.
Read more from Dave here.