Joining Your Customers’ Conversations Through Blogger Engagement

It’s more than likely that you have heard the term Influencer Marketing, but do you really know what it means in today’s digital world? What’s more, do you know how to utilize it as a part of your company’s marketing strategy?

Influencer marketing is commonly defined as marketing spread through word of mouth by key influencers. The idea is that in the modern world people are bombarded with so much traditional advertising, that they have become immune to it. Instead, they hear about a product from someone they trust, a friend, family member or key figure. This type of marketing is constantly evolving, most recently, with how people are connecting and influencing. Thanks to digital and social media, influencer marketing has made a drastic change from just your typical celebrity endorsement. Anybody can be a brand ambassador, arguably one of the more successful, being a blogger.

According to a report done by BlogHer, 61 percent of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. If that’s not enough to convince you, 81 percent of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.

Utilizing blogger engagement, as a type of influencer marketing, can increase your brand awareness and advocacy and, in turn, create greater revenue for your company. It can also help from an SEO perspective, taking into consideration linked quality content, when ranking sites on search engines, resulting in greater potential for a higher ranking.

A brand or product relevant and successful blogger has the potential to be one of your company’s best weapons in engaging with your target audience. As opposed to inserting yourself in the conversation (which really does not work), a blogger can naturally and seamlessly bring your brand into a conversation that is already happening among your target audience. A consumer is far more likely to trust and try out your product if it was introduced to them by a trusted blogger that they identify with and follow.

There are a few different ways your company can engage with bloggers; through product reviews, product giveaways and brand ambassadors. Typically brand ambassadors are paid, so it is important to keep this in mind both for budget and for authenticity.

Before attempting to implement blogger engagement into your marketing strategy, it is important to develop a plan of action. You can use the followings steps to guide you through the process:

 

Step One: Identify your target audience. Ideally this is already done as a part of your strategy, but if not, first define who you are attempting to reach with specific demographics and key information.

 

Step Two: Identify your best match for a blogger relationship. Do your homework on a multitude of blogs so that their content and audience aligns with your product, brand and target audience. Sending a pitch to an irrelevant blogger will either result in the blogger ignoring or declining the pitch, or accepting it and not getting expected results.

There are resources out there to help you with this, such as CisionPoint and GroupHigh. You can utilize both CisionPoint and GroupHigh to identify key bloggers within specific topics and locations. Additionally you can rank blogs by influence, both by social media statistics as well as amount of unique visitors per month. Organize these into lists specific to products or clients, and rank by influence. This will help you in deciding which bloggers would be best to pitch to.

 

Step Three: Develop and distribute your pitch. Treat your blogger engagement outreach as you would treat traditional press outreach when it comes to your pitch. Take the time to describe what the product and story you are proposing is all about, why their blog would be a good fit, and what it has to offer. Make sure you are personable in these pitches, identifying the individual blogger’s name and being familiar with their blog and its content.

 

Step Four: Follow-up. It is important to develop professional relationships with the bloggers who are good matches and agree to get the word out about your brand. Bloggers are busy folks, so be sure to be respectful of their time and efforts.

 

Step Five:  Analyze your results. Monitor what did and did not work from your last blogger engagement campaign and make necessary adjustments for your next one. Odds are you will not have a perfectly successful effort your first go around.

Follow-up also means keeping your end of the bargain in a timely manner. If payment was discussed, be sure you pay your blogger as you would pay any other vendor: on time. If they are compensated with a complimentary product of what they are reviewing or sponsoring a giveaway for, make sure the value matches their efforts.

If your company is not already utilizing blogger engagement as a part of your influencer marketing, taking these first five steps will help you get on the right track. For further tips and expert level engagement, reach out to us here at esd & associates- we just can’t wait to help.

Written by Katie Dahlstrom

Katie Dahlstrom is an account planner with esd & associates. She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of a variety of projects, both client and internal. Katie works alongside the Communications team, increasing media awareness, brand recognition and audience engagement.

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