It seems that many industries are starting to notice the strong influence female (mom or not) lifestyle bloggers have with their online communities. Their widely shared opinions can directly affect public opinion on brands, products, and services amongst their tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of readers and social followers.
Some companies are trying to take advantage of this outlet by looking for impressive stats and a few keywords. They initiate a huge outreach only to find bloggers aren’t interested in working with them or the bloggers they do work with create less than stellar buzz. With first-time experiences such as these, some shy away from blogger-based campaigns.
So how can companies tap into that powerful brand awareness that may later lead to solid sales and loyal customers?
Do your research
Unlike traditional media, numbers aren’t everything. Niche, reader interaction, quality of content, personal voice, and online social influence play a big part in successful campaigns.
Take the time to actually read several posts and find out if the tone and subject of the blog fit your brand. Ask yourself: Do they often post about product/services similar to yours? Do they include original photos and/or video? Do they have a dedicated audience that consistently returns to fully read the content? Will their coverage do your brand justice?
Quality over quantity (though that is important too) should be your aim. Choose the right bloggers for the job. Shopper marketing agencies, such as Collective Bias, can assist you with this as they have access to detailed analytics and dedicated team leaders can dig deeper to hand-select the ideal blogs for your brand.
Build Professional Relationships
Bloggers are not free press, they are small business owners. Many spend 40+ hours creating engaging content and building their communities online. All this while raising families full-time. Would you go to your job everyday in exchange for coupons or in hopes that you’ll be the one to receive a salary that month? Would you toil for hours on end, hoping someone will repay you with a high-res image? Neither would they.
Set aside a reasonable budget. You’ll want to fairly compensate bloggers for creating original content to be used for promotional purposes. Quality posts can take 1-4 hours to craft, which includes testing, taking photos, editing them to be Pinterest-worthy, writing copy, entering SEO information, etc. After that, content will be syndicated via social media and appropriate tags and hashtags will need to be added.
If you want results, treat bloggers with respect and in a professional manner. Brands such as Alamo, Disney, and DriveSTI do this and have seen amazing returns in online social engagement and subsequent sales. Also, posts generally remain online for the life of the blog. You are investing in something that has an extensive shelf life, as opposed to a print advertisement that is replaced in the next issue.
In addition to sponsored posts and banner advertisement, agencies like Collective Bias take it a step further. They aim to build long-term relationships through networking events and community-based conferences. These brand-blogger relations then grow into trusting partnerships.
The success of a blog post should not only be measured by how many immediate sales are generated. That is not the purpose in working with lifestyle blogs. It’s all about brand awareness and being on a potential customer’s radar. When they are ready to purchase a particular product or service, you want them to think of your brand first.
Remember, you are hiring the blogger to not only talk about your brand but to share a story about the role it plays in their life and those of their family. They aren’t just posting a mindless commercial, but are personally recommending something they truly believe in to their close friends (aka readers).
Lifestyle Bloggers Hold the Power
Lifestyle bloggers have a major impact on the consumer market. Online influence will continue to affect public opinion of brands. Don’t jump into the blogosphere blindly, as you will either lose a huge chunk of your budget or have a PR-nightmare to fix. Knowing how to properly work with bloggers will ensure a mutually beneficial working relationship that will increase your bottom line later down the road.
TerriAnn van Gosliga is the main writer at Cookies & Clogs and Driving Mamas. Born & raised in the SF Bay Area but loves to travel. She’s been married to her best friend for almost 14 years, homeschools her 13-year-old daughter, and has an accident-prone lab mix dog.