The short answer is: more than you’d think.
You might be ticking boxes left right and centre when it comes to ‘traditional’ SEO practices, but have you considered working with bloggers?
For many brands, the blogging community is still an untapped resource when it comes to the marketing of their products, but this growing sector shouldn’t be overlooked. Read on to find out why blogging is so influential online and how getting the right blogger on board can make or break your brand…
Commercially savvy bloggers know that when they talk, their audience listens, and increasing evidence shows that what a blogger reviews on their website or features on their social media channels can have a direct impact on sales.
In a 2012 survey on winter shopping habits, 44% of women said that a recommendation from their favourite blogger could influence their purchase and just last month, BBC’s Newsbeat lifted the lid on some professional vloggers (video bloggers) who have so much influence that they can cause products to sell out online within a few hours.
Trust, honesty and relevance are all key to the blogger/reader relationship. There is nothing worse than following a blogger renowned for writing about nail art, only to suddenly find they’re publishing posts featuring oven cleaner and pet accessories, or, worse, giving transparently glowing reviews of every PR sample sent their way. The implication is that the blogger’s opinions can be bought, making them instantly untrustworthy to their readers.
Digital Word of Mouth
With 374 blog posts being published every minute on WordPress alone, there is now a blog for every topic under the sun, from beauty and skincare to vegan breakfast recipes and pigeon racing.
Blogger readerships can be fiercely loyal, and it’s not hard to understand why – when you’re reading three new posts a week from your favourite blogger, following them on Twitter and witnessing snippets of their daily life on Instagram, it doesn’t take long to familiarise yourself with their online persona. The tone of most blogs is typically very relaxed and conversational – every blogging guide under the sun will tell you to write as if you’re talking to your best friend – so when that blogger recommends a product that they personally love using, it’s like a close friend telling you the same thing.
We Are Social
Our shopping habits have changed in line with our exposure to social media and other web-based activities, with many consumers choosing to shop online at home but also on the go. Earlier this year we wrote about the ways in which consumers use mobile devices to shop online. For both tablets and mobile phones, researching an item before purchase came in at number one and number three respectively, while reading product reviews also made it into the top three uses for tablet-using shoppers.
In the same way as you might ask the opinion of a trusted friend when buying an item of clothing while out shopping together, reassurance is sought for online purchases. That might be a Facebook status asking if your next phone should be an Android or an iOS, a shout out on Twitter asking for recommendations for fashion e-tailers who offer free weekend delivery, or using a search engine to find a detailed review complete with photos, opinion and purchasing information.
Scour Google for the latter and it’s likely that some of the top results will be from bloggers. From stay-at-home parents to students and full time professionals, bloggers come in every form imaginable but their common link is the time and effort they put into nurturing their blog, creating content and building a strong readership.
Most bloggers understand that working with a brand – scratch that, the right brand – can only add richness to their website, but a negative experience with a time-poor marketer can be off-putting.
How to Get it Wrong
Not disclosing when a product has been supplied by a brand or PR agency can have a negative impact on how a blogger is perceived by their readers, and a quick poll on Twitter revealed that some of our members’ biggest blogger engagement bugbears include being asked NOT to disclose when a product has been sent to them for review.
Not only does this damage the blogger’s relationship with their readers but as a marketer it can also land you in hot water with the Advertising Standards Agency. Another pet peeve across the spectrum of blogging is the sending of impersonal emails or phone calls peddling irrelevant products.
From teething rings sent to families with teenagers, or a frozen pepperoni pizza being pushed on a raw foods dieter, not doing your homework on the blogs you’re targeting is a big no-no.
How to Get it Right
Blogger engagement and blogger outreach isn’t just about throwing your product at the nearest blogger and running for cover. Your aim should be to target the right bloggers, get to know them and build a relationship that goes beyond one product review.
Image Source: ProBlogger
Working with bloggers is a two-way street. ProBlogger’s Daniel Rowse hit the nail on the head with this simple but effective infographic – if a blogger engagement pitch is one-sided then it won’t appeal to bloggers or their readers. Too often bloggers reject pitches from marketers because they fail to offer that elusive win/win/win situation visualised here, or even any benefit to the blogger themselves.
Bloggers spend a lot of time and money honing their craft, so if you’ve ever pitched an impersonalised ‘campaign’ that provides sole benefit to your business or your client’s business and doesn’t even suggest hint that you’ve done your research on their site then you’ll be lucky to get a response at all , let alone a positive one.
Of course that’s where our blogger engagement service can help. As many of us are bloggers ourselves, we understand what makes the difference between a good pitch and a bad pitch. And with nearly 1000 bloggers who want to work with brands, that relationship is already there. We’ve combed their sites, read their blog posts and absorbed their own personal brand so we can ensure that our clients are paired with the bloggers who will most appreciate their products.
Featured Image Source: Jeremy BrooksWhat Effect Can Bloggers Have On Your Brand? by Holly Hayman