Collaborating with bloggers is an excellent way to market a business by tapping into their traffic and community. But investing your time and money with the right bloggers requires a good understanding of how influencing works plus careful relationship management.
Bloggers hold a powerful position in the digital world. When I started my first blog, 7 years ago now, snagging my .com domain name as well as a .co.uk address, I could see how strong blogger voices were becoming. We were forming cohesive communities built on personal experience, free opinions and a raw style which readers connect to over standard journalism.
The landscape for bloggers has changed dramatically over the past 7 years. PR agencies and brands are queuing up to offer lucrative promotional opportunities to the top digital influencers. Bloggers are being sent on worldwide holidays, have agents and top bloggers in their field are paid anything from £250 upwards for a post. Top video bloggers, often known as ‘YouTubers’, are invited to red carpet affairs and panel shows. It’s a ‘real job’ now, where the blogger is in charge of their editorial and direction, each one a mini-publisher.
There are huge collaboration opportunities bloggers for small business, however, especially startups offering a unique product or service proposition. Although these superstar pro-bloggers are demanding high fees, it’s still possible to work with mid-range niche social media influencers which could deliver a significant return on campaign investment.
While investing in a few sponsored posts with bloggers could enhance a campaign and provide plenty of social buzz, plus cheaper than paid social with Facebook and Twitter, some bloggers will collaborate on reviews with a fee if the proposition matches their blog purpose.
Bloggers also appreciate collaborating with agencies and companies who understand their process and value. Relationship management is key. They’re a talkative bunch and one wrong move running a campaign risks to spread warning signals out to the community as a whole. Some are managing blogs around family and day jobs, they don’t have time for lengthy projects where it’s unclear what the return is for their work.
And it is work. Many, many PRs make the mistake of assuming it’s a hobby and bloggers will write for free. But these bloggers are putting in their tax returns like every other self-employed person. If you get the campaign right, you’ll cultivate strong relationships which continue to grow as their influence grows.
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