The Power of Blogs
One of the best ways to expand your coverage online and reach new audiences is to work with influential bloggers in your space. According to BlogHer’s annual study on women and social media, when asked whether they trusted different social media sources, 81 percent of women representing the general U.S. population said they trusted blogs and Pinterest, while 67 percent said they trusted Facebook and 73 percent said they trusted Twitter. When asked about purchases based on a recommendation from one of the various sources, 61 percent said they’d acted on a blog recommendation
So how do you find the right bloggers? And once you’ve found them how do you get them to show interest in your product or brand?
It is a delicate situation. Bear in mind that most bloggers are not employed to blog – they are not reporters. Most of them are doing it out of passion. And although many of them are now making a living from their blogs, it is still a personal venture. And because they are now making a living from blogging, getting them to post something about your brand without payment is becoming harder and harder.
Finding the Right Influencers
Look for people or groups who already love and support your brand and would be delighted to forward your message. If you are very fortunate they could be celebrities. Breitling watches has a long list of celebs who wear their watches, including James Bond! But in most cases a brand ambassador is likely to be someone who loves your brand and has a decent following online – either on their blog, Facebook, Twitter or other social news sites like Digg, Reddit or StumbleUpon.
A social audit will uncover everyone who speaks positively about your brand. Using an influence score such as Kred or Klout, rank them according to how often they mention you and how positive their mentions are. Once you find them, do your homework and read their blogs. Figure out what they are interested in and what might capture their attention. When you have a sound content strategy in place reach out and thank them for their positive comments and recommendations. See if you can engage them and turn a few of them into brand ambassadors.
Mashable reports that Walmart goes the extra mile for the influential mommy bloggers they have identified: not only do they give their Walmart Moms exclusive products and experiences they also host a blog and YouTube channel for them.
Similarly, Oracle has a program called Oracle ACE that spotlights various IT pros as Oracle experts. SAP’s equivalent is the SAP Mentor Initiative, which recognizes SAP experts and gives them a forum (an SAP site plus a YouTube channel.)
Fiskars, the Finnish scissors brand, created a site for crafters with a select crew of Fiskateers, their name for their brand ambassadors who blog about their product.
Your brand ambassador doesn’t have to have millions of fans or followers. It’s more important that they are passionate about your industry or subject and a fan of your brand. FLOR, the carpet tile company, discovered a mommy blogger who writes about DIY design who has only 50,000 readers on her blog. But she is so influential to these readers that every time she posted about their products they got a flood of interested visitors to their website.
Influence is a relative term. Not every influencer will be right for your brand. Justin Bieber and Oprah have millions of followers and fans. But are they also your fans? And if they are, are their followers your target audience?
Once you find the right fans who have an audience you want to reach, work hard to build long-term relationships with them. Provide them with valuable and interesting content that will help them provide value to their readers, fans and followers. Read our Blogger PR Tip Sheet
Need help with reaching the right bloggers? Give us a call. 626 793 4911
Recent blogger outreach clients:
Mizuno Mezamashii Project (running gear)
Mizuno Volleyball Olympics (Teenage volleyball players)
Designer Rugs (Design and mommy bloggers)
New Shopping Mall (Travel bloggers)
ING 2012 New York Marathon (Runners)
Investment Securities – (Financial Literacy bloggers)
Executive Hospitality Recruitment (Hospitality and HR bloggers)
Allergy Free Cookies (food and Mommy bloggers)