Since we all know and have been hearing a lot about blogger engagements. But we are still struggling to figure out ways to help us do result oriented blogger activities. Something that can be tracked and measured properly.
So far the criteria of judging a blogging campaign is reach. Based on that one metric, we are supposed to judge how well our campaign performed. Leaving 100s of questions unanswered in our mind.
Then we read a lot about the unreliability of ad hoc activities in content marketing. We need to constantly do content marketing to see the results. Well, there is no doubt about that statement. But what are these long term engagements and how should we plan them?
Let us help you understand this medium better and crack the code of working with bloggers and influencers in a way that will yield great results.
There are various ways in which we engage with bloggers. To understand in detail, please visit ways of engaging with bloggers.
We usually reach out to bloggers when there is a new product launch or change in positioning or we want to create review content around some products/services etc. Doing such activities is absolutely right. What is lacking in all such blogger engagements is, that they start really well but do not have a closing point.
Bloggers attend a product launch, they create a lot of social chatter around it. Hashtag trends on twitter for a while and so called “buzz” is created. Everyone in the marketing team is happy and after few drinks enjoy a sound sleep.
But are bloggers only capable of doing such things? Is their a possibility that we are missing an important link in all such engagements? Is it really the purpose of doing blogger engagements?
Everyone knows that content is king and thus it is important to create content. But just ranking the content on first page of Google is the only criteria to judge how well the content is performing?
I guess we need to dig deeper into the concepts of marketing and figure out the missing link to drive more returns from these blogger engagements.
As a first step, we need to understand who are bloggers from a very basic level and what do they mean to a marketing campaign?
Bloggers are general consumers. The only difference is, that they have much more influence than a normal consumer.A normal consumer has influence over his family and friends whereas a bloggers has influence outside that community as well.
Bringing the focus back to marketing activities, what can a blogger bring to the table?
- Advocacy: It is of prime importance. The major reason for doing blogger engagements.
- Reach: Like I mentioned earlier, a blogger has influence outside his peer group, which gives a wider yet targeted reach.
- Online presence: A brand being present on various real estates on internet, does improve brand recall and command. This is all apart from the SEO benefits that a website gains from such engagements.
Unfortunately, out of all three benefits, only the reach is something that we are able to measure so far. Rest all of the other details are something that you can go as closest as possible but not have accurate metrics.
For example, Alexa rank have become a highly unreliable source to measure the performance of a website. It can give you some idea but cannot rely on it.
Coming back to our topic,
We need to leverage their advocacy. This can only happen when they are actually convinced that the product is outstanding and something that they will definitely recommend.
What happens when you find such bloggers?
- They will already be talking about your product on their blog. In that case, we would want them to keep talking continuously. These bloggers need to be on boarded and should be included in future marketing activities.
- Bloggers who are not talking about our products but are die hard users. We need to find the reason why these bloggers are not talking about it. A brand need to provide all the necessary help as well as compensation to these bloggers to start conversation on their platform.
What are the most common circumstances in which we reach out to bloggers?
- When the product has already been there in the market. At that time we need to locate bloggers who have been using our products. We need these bloggers to endorse our product via their blog. They need to be given the privileges of being the brand ambassador and a pay to a part of their programme.
- When there is a new product launch, we need to invite most relevant bloggers and give them the experience of our product. Have them use the product for sometime and ask them if they believe in the brand and want to endorse further. If not, then we move on to the next blogger until we find the one.
What can we expect from such brand ambassadors?
- A blogger need to contribute with well researched content about the brand/product they are endorsing. The idea should reach clear among his readers that it is not an advertisement but actual endorsement by a fan.
- He should be able to help a brand to establish its ground as an industry expert.
- They should be running exclusive ads on their blog about the brand/product. They need to be compensated enough for that, that they don’t mix it with affiliate advertisements.
- Their blog needs to be clean which has no history of falling into the pit of contest junky. He should be true to his readers so that a blogger’s authenticity can be leveraged.
- These bloggers need to be subject experts. They should be able to handle anything pertaining to that product range/industry etc.
- He should have knowledge about optimizing content and his website. Without which there is no point of having a content which cannot be found.
- A blogger need to keep all of his articles fresh. If there is any update or any new info that can be added to his existing blog posts, he/she needs to keep an eye for the same.
- Bloggers are great in storytelling. Thus, he need to think creatively while promoting the brand to its followers. He should not look at it as a paid project. Rather, he need to know that he is a fan and thus enjoying the privileges of being one.
On the other hand, it becomes a brand’s responsibility as well to take care of their fans. As Drake has mentioned in one of his famous songs “what is a star when his most important fan is missing”
- Appoint a blogger engagement expert who can manage with the community and keep a constant touch base with them.
- A brand should be open and quick in receiving emails from these bloggers who voluntarily want to join their club. After a quick screening, these bloggers can be on-boarded for the purpose.
- A manager should be open to receiving ideas from these fans on how they are planning to promote their products.
- A manager and the brand should give them their freedom to use their creativity. Try not to tie their hands with various rules and guidelines.
- A blogger should be compensated well enough that it does not disappoint him.
- A manager needs to keep a constant touch base with the community and provide them with enough talking points, conversations and exclusive content for bloggers to regularly keep churning out content for the brand.
Given the fact that this industry is still learning and bloggers are yet not as professional in their approach, it is not as easy as it sounds. Such activities need to be planned carefully and sometimes a brand should not shy away from consulting content marketing experts.
There will always be people who do not like our product and similarly there will always be fans as well. That only means that may be our product is designed to cater to a different set of audience. We just need to find the right people who will support our product.
Another problem that we need to tackle while adopting this method is finding actual bloggers and not contest junkies or spammers. Moderated communities can really prove to be of great help while working along these lines.
Having said that, we need to still continue doing all forms of blogger engagements which are required from time to time. Of course, when you are launching a new product you would want the entire nation to know about it.
But when we are talking about long term engagements we need bloggers who believe in our ideology. Brand ambassadors and endorsers who really are using our products and services. Rather than spending a lot of money on getting a celebrity who everybody knows that he/she will not be using that brand’s product, one must rather spend money on finding and getting these fans on board.
They might be having much lesser reach as compared to any celebrity but their reach will have much higher chances of giving conversions. Also, much cheaper than getting a celebrity on board.
Every brand needs to create their own community of these bloggers who will take the brand’s message ahead. A brand need to have a constant touch base with their community so that the efforts of these fans can be acknowledged in various ways.