Engaging with bloggers has become an essential aspect of brands online strategies. Bloggers possess the power to boost SEO, generate brand advocacy and promote social visibility and this has a lucrative effect on revenue and here at the House of Letters we run our own blogger outreach and brand consultancy service. I have ran a lifestyle blog for the past four years and I have definitely seen an increase in engagement and brand advocacy within the blogging world. The sponsored post has turned into a full social media campaign that involves persuading bloggers to attend blogger events and act as brand ambassadors for brands across a variety of sectors. The worlds of search, social and PR are converging and so it has become essential for brands to understand how to engage with influencers. This has become even more clear since Google changed their algorithm with more of an emphasis on quality and authoritative content when ranking ranking sites into search engine results. Brands are recognising the importance of bringing on board highly engaged individuals with a large fan base as way of offering an holistic angle to campaigns. You don’t have to resort to “Linkbait” tactics when the creation of compelling content will do the job anyway.
Traditional forms of advertising have been overtaken by blogger outreach campaigns where brands can influence the social conversation around their product offering. The purchase behaviour of today’s consumers is often based on reviews they have read on the internet or word of mouth recommendations. Brands have always aligned with certain people to bring their products to life, whether it is the thrifty housewife or the fashionista next door. It is clear that influencers are people who customers can relate to. Real opinions and images enable brands to connect with the target audience on a more personal level and readers can directly engage with the conversation through social media. Brands need to be aware that brands considering blogger campaigns should not regard it as a “cheap” option and should be viewed as a professional partnerships in order to get the best result. Uniqlo is a great example of a brand which has embraced blogger outreach and has integrated blogger engagement with its search marketing strategy.
The brand targeted a younger and more fashion focused demographic recently and commissioned a group of fashion bloggers to create original content around it’s collection with Celia Birtwell. They also ran a social media competition combined with Pay Per Click (PPC) which resulted in a social media reach of over 150,000 and a revenue increase of 80 per cent. There has also been a live Google + hangout with British designer Orla Kiely who was interviewed by an influential group of fashion bloggers. Fans could also send in their own questions for Orla whislt watching live which gave a social participation element to the event. It seems that that there is a focus on creating bespoke campaigns and experiences that bloggers can get genuinely excited about. Success is also being reported outside of the retail sector in travel and tourism sector too with the company Small Luxury Hotels of the world which has a portfolio of 520 independent hotels reporting a significant improvement in search visibility after collaborating with 20 bloggers who produced niche blog posts around the topic of luxury hotels.
There you have it. Quality content and blogger outreach with an emphasis on engagement and innovation is the way forward. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts.