August 12, 2014
Twenty years ago, the first blog launched. Since that time, the world of blogging has vastly expanded, and today there are approximately 240 million blogs worldwide. The blogging community is a diverse group made of people from all walks of life with different interests, backgrounds and beliefs.
If your company or brand is looking for ways to reach consumers, working with bloggers can be an excellent avenue to explore. Here are five reasons to consider working with bloggers:
- Bloggers are consumers. Who better to have as a brand advocate and product marketer than someone who actually buys and consumes your product? As consumers themselves, bloggers are a natural fit, especially if they are already familiar with your brand, or use your product or service and can speak highly of their experiences.
- Bloggers are trusted sources. In 2012, BlogHer conducted a survey to gain an understanding of how influential bloggers were. According to the findings, 81 percent of the online population trusts advice they get from bloggers, and 61 percent of consumers have made purchases based on a recommendation from a blogger. According to a study completed earlier this year, bloggers are even more influential with millenials. The majority of millenials seek reviews and input from strangers before they ask for recommendations from friends and family and bloggers fall into this “stranger” category as few people who follow or read blogs ever actually meet the author.
- Bloggers can be affordable. Ranging anywhere from $25 per activity to well into the thousands, working with bloggers can fit into almost any budget.
- Bloggers are creative. Good bloggers are innovative, original and have a way with words that make their posts fun to read and visually appealing to consumers.
- Bloggers’ followings are vast, yet can be targeted. Working with bloggers allows brands and companies to reach wide-spread audiences – nationwide and internationally. However, if you’re looking to reach people with specific interests or lifestyles, niche bloggers are also great for reaching targeted groups.
Additionally bloggers can provide a wide array of services, including, but not limited to:
- Creating original content including recipes, photography, blog posts, videos and tips
- Promoting brands and products through their established social media channels, media appearances, giveaways and event participation
- Providing testimonials as real people who have used products and worked with companies
If working with bloggers is a clear tactic that fits into your overall marketing plan, perfect! Next step, you’ll need to find them.
Finding bloggers to work with isn’t hard. In fact, the most challenging part is narrowing your list to focus on bloggers who are a good fit for your brand or project. Here are three ways to find bloggers:
- Free Online Search: A simple online search for bloggers will yield a plethora of options. Try it. Google “Bloggers in New York”. If you’re looking for a blogger in a specific area of the country or one that blogs about a specific subject, like parenting or food, be sure to include those terms in your search. This will help narrow down the results.
- Paid Service: If you’re short on time, consider using a paid service to locate bloggers. Online companies now offer single use and subscription services for locating bloggers both domestically and internationally, across a multitude of interests.
- Networking: If you attend conferences or networking events, use these as key opportunities to scout for talent. If you’re not in the market to work with a blogger right now, still take time to get to know them and send a post-event follow-up email.
It is important to be smart and strategic when it comes to selecting the bloggers you work with. Here are four key things to examine:
- Blog Traffic: The number of visitors a blogger has to their site is one of the most important metrics to examine. The number of unique and total visitors to a site can be determined organically or through paid services.
- Social Media Presence: You’ll want to be sure that you dedicate time to closely review a potential blogger’s existing social media accounts. Be sure to not only look at the number of followers and fans they have, but look at the engagement (likes, comments and shares) they receive from their followers.
- Their Work with Other Brands: Identifying who a blogger has worked with in the past and those they are currently working with will be very important. If you have competitors in the marketplace, you’ll want to make sure that your blogger hasn’t endorsed or is currently working with any of them. Additionally, make sure that their blog isn’t oversaturated with brands. You won’t want your message to get lost among all the others.
- Quality of Work: After you determine how you’d like to engage a blogger, be sure to review previous posts that are similar to the work you’re asking them to complete. Make sure that blogger is polished and professional, providing quality writing and photography.
I encourage you to consider working with bloggers as a part of your larger strategic communication plan. It can be a truly rewarding experience for both you personally and the company or brand you represent.
Stay tuned for next week’s post as I’ll be sharing the essential activities you’ll need to do when working with bloggers.
In the meantime, have you used bloggers successfully as part of your marketing efforts. What types of best practices have you learned along the way?