As influencer marketing grows more popular, blogger outreach experts get many inquiries daily about the specifics of working with influencers and running blogger review campaigns. These are the most frequently asked questions brands have for experts in the field.
New York, NY, March 29, 2016 (Newswire.com) - Consumers are more frequently turning to blogs as sources for products - in fact, blogs are third only to brand and retail sites (Technorati) - and over 60% of US consumers alone have made a purchase based on a blog post (Social Media Today). As blogs are becoming one of the top to-go places to get reviews and inspiration for shopping, brands are starting to invest more into influencer marketing research.
1. What is blogger outreach?
Why get involved with influencers instead of doing something more simple, like a banner ad? The answer lies in the quality of engagement.
Blogger outreach (or influencer marketing) is the practice of leveraging influencers such as bloggers and vloggers to review a product or cover an event with the purpose of promotion and building word of mouth, usually in exchange for free samples, exclusive access, or monetary compensation.
2. What are the advantages of blogger outreach over other types of campaigns?
Ideally a brand would be able to do many different campaigns. However, often the budget and time in marketing is short and decisions have to be made. So why get involved with influencers instead of doing something more simple, like a banner ad? The answer lies in the quality of engagement. Ads are not ineffective but are rapidly becoming obsolete as adblocking software becomes more widespread. If a large portion of a brand's target market are likely never even seeing the ads, let alone clicking on them, logically the brand will have to invest in a different type of marketing. Blogging creates buzz and word of mouth that falls into the realm of valuable earned media, even if the blogger is paid for their original review. Some of the other benefits include:
- An SEO boost. Reviews stay on the web forever and will keep providing traffic and increased SEO long after the campaign is over.
- The endorsement of trusted bloggers, which will help with brand credibility.
- A direct connection to target audiences and the opportunity to gain new customers.
3. What are the top things to consider with a blogger review campaign?
This question should be considered from three perspectives:
- The target. Who is the audience the brand is trying to attract? How old are they? What are their hobbies? What are their concerns? What social networks do they prefer? What kind of blogs would they read? Only after these questions have been settled down can the brand find the most relevant bloggers for the job.
- The bloggers. When considering approaching a blogger, certain criteria must apply: Is the blog content relevant to the brand? How many followers/subscribers/monthly page views does the blog have? Is there a high level of engagement with the blog (many comments, social media exchanges, etc)? Is the blogger PR friendly?
- The product and pitch. Now that the brand knows their desired audience and ideal bloggers, it's time to think about what the brand can offer them and how to do it in a way that will catch the bloggers' attention.
4. How can the results of the campaign be measured?
Measurement and analytics are important in order to see whether the campaign was successful. The effectiveness of blogger campaigns can be studied by, for example, tracking views of the bloggers’ posts, comments, and likes. Providing bloggers with trackable links back to the brand website is a simple way to tell exactly how many people came to the brand site from specific bloggers.
5. Is blogger outreach worth it?
According to a comprehensive study by Burst Media, brands earn nearly $7 on average for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. In many markets, such as food, the number rises as high as $11. However, this very much depends on the budget, product, and the bloggers chosen. Very popular bloggers – celebrities in their own right – may charge up to thousands of dollars for a single sponsored post. However, the majority of blogger outreach is much cheaper, as many bloggers write reviews in exchange for product samples and discount codes. The audience for such bloggers may be smaller but no less effective, as niche communities are often more active in ways of engagement.
6. What are some examples or case studies of successful campaigns?
There have been countless types of blogger campaigns over the years, by all sorts of brands, from tech to fashion, beauty, sports, food, and more. Ford offers a notable example of an influencer campaign that attracted 50,000 interested customers and millions of views.
7. How can brands connect with bloggers?
Marketers and brand managers are often turned off by blogger campaigns because of the sheer time that needs to be invested in searching for bloggers. If a brand wants to send a product to fifty fashion bloggers, they can google ‘fashion blogs’ and go from there, but it will be time-consuming to check all of their social media accounts, read several blog posts, and get information like monthly page views and subscribers right off the bat. Even then, the blogger may not even be interested in working with the brand. Blogger directories are more useful, as they often have more details available, but it’s easier and faster to enlist a professional service.
8. How can brands pitch influencers to get their attention?
The pitch needs to be visual, catchy, and interesting. Picking an informative yet fun headline, an image that really stands out, and adding just enough information to get the bloggers interested is crucial.
9. How many bloggers should brands reach out to?
There is only one, somewhat unsatisfactory, answer: it depends. Before reaching out to actual bloggers, brands must first set goals. What does the brand hope to achieve with this campaign and what resources do they have at their disposal? If they have a sizeable budget and can compensate 1000 bloggers, that’s fantastic – but often unrealistic, especially for smaller companies. If the brand is new to blogger outreach, starting on a smaller scale to testing out the pitch to see how receptive influencers are to the product is recommended. Of course, this also depends on what the product is. Beauty products are easier to provide as samples so running a campaign with 50 bloggers is perfectly doable. This is more difficult if bloggers are needed to attend and cover an event, in which case generally only a few are provided with press passes.
10. What should brands give bloggers?
Nobody likes to work for nothing, nor should they be expected to. Influential bloggers are professionals and just offering them ‘exposure’ can do more harm than good. Smaller blogs often do reviews in return for product samples, which is the most popular type of exchange. Offering bloggers gift cards in addition to exclusive access is also widespread. However, the biggest blogs will have their own guidelines on fees for sponsored posts. Once again, it depends on what kind of blogs the brand is looking for and how much they are willing to put in. Ultimately, brands will not get something for nothing. Simply posting a press release will rarely incentivize any bloggers to write about the brand.
Word of mouth marketing, online buzz, trusted endorsements, and other classic marketing concepts are all realized in influencer marketing, which speaks to its broad appeal in many industries. Business partnerships with bloggers are already becoming the norm for big and small brands. Nevertheless, brands shouldn't just jump into blogger outreach without doing the valuable research needed to make their campaigns as effective as they can possibly be.