The tide has shifted, and brands will sink or swim depending on how they engage the blogosphere. Companies can more adeptly target their specific audience as bloggers are so specialized and distinct. Studies show that it is less expensive and more efficient than traditional forms of advertising. It is now imperative to learn how to successfully work with bloggers in order to build brand awareness and goodwill with your target market.
Don’t cast a wide net
You want your brand to fit in organically with a particular site. A stay-at-home-single-mom blogger is not going to suddenly spark sales of Louis Vuitton briefcases. The whole basis of blogging is that it is a personal relationship and casual (to some extent) so zero in on that as opposed to corporate behavior that drives more traditional, formal advertising deals. Forgo the standard mass press release, and connect with the blogger on a personal level. Help them see how your product is in line with their interests, and will excite their readers.
Similarly, research the blogger’s policies. They vary and some will not accept payments, and others will accept merchandise and others will simply need to be wooed without either.
Don’t mistake a large following with your best ROI. Consider this article that compares the impact of bloggers against well-known websites (such as Vogue and GQ.) Even (sometimes especially) less visible bloggers have a more devoted and active following.
Research the blogger’s calendar and posting history
Does she like to attend launch events or like to stay at home and do reviews? Does she do give-aways? Does she post photos of herself wearing/using the product or should you send her product images she can upload? Make it as easy and organic as possible
Allow the blogger creative free reign
Certainly you can inform them of your objectives (i.e. “our goal is to get more hits on our website and sales”) and your framework (“please hyperlink to our site), but then step back and show that you are confident in their taste and vision. The power you are trying to harness is the blogger’s relationship with their followers. They trust the blogger to be honest and open, and this motivates them to act. Allow the blogger to choose clothes from your line that she connects with. Readers who follow the hyperlink will undoubtedly search your site for other items, but unless the blogger’s enthusiasm is immediately obvious, you will not receive click-thrus.
Retweet, or share (but link) posts from a blogger who you are working with. Bloggers who feel they are in a reciprocal relationship are more likely to continue mentioning your brand.
Blogging offers companies a unique opportunity to deliver and create highly targeted PR stories and digital content outside of traditional advertising. If you haven't yet introduced blogger outreach into it’s time embrace how working with bloggers can help support your core marketing objectives.
Heidi Nazarudin is the Founder and President of BloggerBabes.com , an association with more than 500+ active bloggers. She has hosted blogging events for Saks Fifth Avenue, Armani Cosmetics and JustFab.com to name but a few. Heidi blogs full-time at TheSuccessfulStyle.com
Related articles across the web
Photo Credit: R Schofield