Social media has been a game-changer within the world of marketing, and anyone worth their salt knows the value of a well-placed Facebook ad. But marketers have been slow on the uptake when it comes to blogging, feeling there’s less kudos when you pay for placements.
There are, nevertheless, many brands who’ve had huge success is apportioning at least part of their marketing budget to working with bloggers, so what did they do differently to make this type of advertising work for them?
Think about your audience
The main thing to consider is your audience. Are you trying to sell something which already has a cross-over with an established blog? There are many areas such as interior design and cookery where people will search blogs for inspiration before even considering magazines and a collaboration with a high-profile blog that sits directly within the demographic of your clients could be worth its weight in gold.
Bloggers are often creative and innovative, and the ones who’ve reached the top of their game in their chosen field have usually got there by creating content which is valuable and relevant. Working with this type of blogger could breathe a whole new life into your marketing campaign, usually for far less than you’ll end up paying to a whole team of creatives.
They also have a distinct audience to whom your product will be directly marketed with the added gravitas of a ‘trusted authority’ giving it their endorsement.
There are, of course, downsides to working with bloggers. Some sites may look nice but don’t rank very highly in terms of Domain Authority or Page Authority, or they may be stuffed with so many irrelevant links that Google views them as spam.
This can obviously be avoided by doing a bit of homework before you approach anyone; a cursory look at their associated social media pages and comment numbers is also a sensible idea as this will tell you if there’s much interaction from their audience. Pages which look like tumble-weed city often bely a non-committal readership and lack of genuine authority.
It’s also worth considering the type of relationship you’re hoping to build with bloggers and the content you wish to create. Many bloggers accept “sponsored posts”, which are usually created with the aim of simply gaining links to increase your search engine rankings, but Google is getting wise to this and frowns upon paid links as a kind of cheating.
Reviews are a much more organic way to work, which means sending products to be used and written about. Again, depending on the blogger, some will ask for payment as well as the review item, especially if it’s a lower-value item, so it’s worth taking a look at your total budget to see if you can sustain this kind of outlay for the sake of this type of coverage.
If you have a product or service to market, working with bloggers can be a good way to gain exposure on a smaller budget, but doing your homework is an absolute must if you want to get a decent return. Be cautious about who you work with and make sure you ask for a media pack and examples of past collaborations before you take the plunge.