If you browse the web, work in social media, are on social media, or have Googled a simple "how to" question, chances are you've come across a blogger. That may be as much thought as you've given to the blogging world; you know they're out there, and that's great. As a business, however, blogs and bloggers, should not be ignored - in fact, you should be paying more attention to them than ever.
There has been a noticeable shift in consumer behavior that indicates the average person doesn't trust companies.
This is where bloggers come in.
Bloggers are followed because they're someone the reader likes, admires, maybe even aspires to be like, and that, eventually, makes them someone that people trust. Companies, in general, have come to realize that their consumers possess a certain innate distrust for their messages, and more trust for blogs/bloggers, and they've therefore begun to curate successful, fruitful relationships between themselves and the blogosphere, which, in turn, enables them to establish more trust and better relationships between themselves and consumers. This has greatly changed marketing tactics, and even PR.
A blogger doesn't work as a company spokesperson - instead, the good ones give unbiased, honest opinions about products, services, or experiences. It isn't hard to imagine how this can be a successfully leveraged by brands, should the blogger have a strong and active presence and following.
And when businesses are successfully able to utilize their relationship with personal bloggers they end up seeing results - research shows that up to nine in 10 prospective consumers (84%) go on to make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog.
If your brand is looking to work with an influential blogger, here are a few ideas on how to do it.
- Product reviews - Send them free product and ask them to write up their thoughts in a post (note: depending on the clout of the blogger, this may require payment as well as product)
- Crate a brand ambassador program - Create a loyal army of bloggers by bringing them into the fold as official ambassadors. Pro hack: BuzzStream is a nice tool for organizing influencer/blogger relationships
- Link to blog content - If you find a blogger who's an expert on a topic that relates to one of your products, or your company, share their posts and link to them. There's no shame in providing a nod to other's work. Instead, it humanizes a company and helps establish relationships, credibility, and authority
- Organize exclusive events and involve bloggers - For example, send your product to many relevant bloggers ahead of a public release date and let bloggers build "free" hype for you. An offline example would be to invite them to your company to let them have an experience or service before the public and then write about it, also building hype;
- Be creative - You can find bloggers that cover just about every niche you can think of, and they're a brilliant bunch of people. So approach them with excitement about their passion and create something extraordinary to get both of your names out there
- Reach them early - One more tip, try to get in touch with promising bloggers as they're still growing, in order to win their loyalty before they make it too big. They'll be eager to work with you, grateful for being noticed, and you'll be able to facilitate a symbiotic relationship to promote one another in your growth.
Bottom line, businesses, small and large, if you're not tapping into the blogosphere in a serious way, it's time to catch up.