Over the last couple of years bloggers have emerged as the new tour de force in the world of marketing.
With highly engaged audiences, bloggers can reach and influence thousands of people, tuning them in to new products and services within their area of interest. But who are these bloggers, and how can you include them in your marketing plan?
What is a blogger?
A blogger is someone who writes about a particular niche (parenting, health, golf – you name it, there’s a blog about it!) and they build up a following by posting interesting articles and photographs. Sometimes they’re highly informed, enthusiastic amateurs, blogging in their spare time. Others are professionals in their field, building a business through the reputation of their blog.
How can bloggers help to market a business?
Having built loyal followings – sometimes numbering hundreds of thousands – bloggers can wield enormous influence when it comes to promoting products and services which are relevant to their niche and their audiences’ interests.
A post by a well-known, established blogger which features your brand and/or product acts as an endorsement from an independent, trusted source – the best PR you can get! We’ve seen bloggers attract volumes of new visitors to our client websites – generating valuable leads and providing that all-important link value which helps push a site up the Google rankings.
But implementing an effective blogger outreach programme isn’t always straight forward. It’s easy to waste a lot of time and money, so a little advance thinking and research is the best way to start.
Will blogger outreach help your business?
If there are people blogging for audiences which match your target market, then a blogger outreach programme could help you in terms of lead generation, brand awareness and SEO value.
When deciding whether it’s the right approach for a client, we always research the best blogs in their particular industry and evaluate how other companies/brands are using those blogs.
We also look at the level of engagement the blog receives from its audience and the likely link value a blog will give (to boost search engine rankings). Plus, we assess whether the bloggers are likely to be receptive to brand endorsement.
Which blogs should you target?
If you want to get an idea of what bloggers are doing in your industry, just type ‘blogs about X’ into your search engine. Once you’ve got a feel for what’s going on, it’s worth researching to the next level of detail using a blog directory such as Technorati, Delicious or BlogCatalog.
Some blogs are great and offer genuine opportunity to your PR programme. Others are low in quality and are best avoided. We would recommend you target only a few high quality bloggers and build up a healthy working relationship where both parties gain.
How to approach bloggers
A good blogger will only be receptive to a product/article about something that’s relevant to their readers. The emphasis here is on ‘relevance’.
We would recommend that you avoid sending press releases to bloggers – they’re not professional journalists. Instead, tailor the approach by researching the kind of content their readers are interested in. It’s time-consuming (we know!) but means you’ll stand a much better chance of success.
Often, bloggers will be happy to trial products and write reviews. They may also be receptive to running competitions and promotions. It’s worth talking directly to the bloggers you’re targeting and discussing ideas directly.
Getting the most from your blogger outreach programme
There’s more to blogger outreach than simply getting your product featured in a post. When liaising with bloggers, it’s worth remembering to ask for mentions on social media too – bloggers often have large followings on the likes of Facebook and Twitter which, again, can be used to grow your audience.
When a blog has been published, don’t forget to highlight the fact on your own website and social media channels too – it all helps to raise your profile and the blogger will appreciate the mutual promotion!
In addition, you’ll need to take the time to evaluate whether a blogger has helped you grow your audience.
Sometimes a successful outcome is simply ‘brand awareness’ especially if the blog is niche with a large following. Objectives will need to be defined and measured – it’s usually possible to evaluate whether a blog has attracted new visitors to your site, or got more prospective customers to sign up to your mailing list, for example.
When it comes to promoting your business online, blogger outreach should be given careful consideration. While traditional print and broadcast media should still be part of a PR plan, there’s no doubt that bloggers have an increasingly influential role to play in helping businesses connect with their audiences.
For further information about our blogger outreach and PR programmes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01606 610808.