We recommend blogger outreach (as a method of content marketing) to our clients for many reasons. First off, marketing has taken a turn from business-to-consumer (or business-to-business) to person-to-person. Word of mouth (WOM) marketing has become the way to learn about new products from someone you can trust. One way a brand can achieve that is working directly with influencers who have a command over a loyal audience. These “Bloggers” have a very distinct advantage because they have a fan base built around one topic (or series of topics) who rely on them to review products objectively and to share their perspective openly.
“Research from BlogHer has shown that 81% of the online population trusts information and advice they get from bloggers and that 61% have made a purchase based on a blogger’s recommendation.” (socialmediaexaminer.com)
We have done several blogger outreach programs for our clients. Here is an overview of a few:
Fitmark makes bags for athletes and the fitness enthusiasts. Each month we contact fitness and healthy lifestyle bloggers who we feel are a good representation of the brand. We send them a #nicebag from our client’s amazing selection and we only ask for honest reviews based on their experience. One of our first bloggers was Lindsay Livingston, of the Lean Green Bean. She reviewed Fitmark’s Lavender Sport Tote and held a contest that required email entries to win the bag. The simple contest earned 1215 entries (that could then be email marketed to for future marketing) and all week Fitmark was being @mentioned on Twitter from this contest. This gained tremendous exposure and a very nice list for future brand communications for Fitmark. = WIN!
Dollie & Mesells dolls and clothes that fit all 18″ dolls. They are also well-known for their match back fashions and their doll clothes fit most dolls of that size made by their competitors. We have worked with countless influential mommy bloggers, coordinating product reviews and giveaways that have increased likes and engagement, as well as interest from potential consumers. Partnering with these influencers has been extremely successful because they each have their own audience and fans who trust their opinion, which will encourage them to try products that the influencer endorses. We have directly tied back these efforts (through Google Analytics) to considerable traffic as well as e-commerce conversions each month. = WIN!
Oatworks is a oat based smoothie with fresh fruit mixed in that provides a great dose of beta gluten and is a very healthy “snack” option. We recently launched a campaign targeting healthy living or “fit bloggers” and it is off to a very good start. This is a very big audience online and there are a lot of bloggers in this category. We work hard to find the best fit for our client so we can get the biggest bang for our buck. One notable review was posted by Chelle from Oh Just Stop Already. She reviewed Oatworks and held a contest for her readers to win a case and try for themselves. The contest had 730 entries which was tremendous for this brand new startup who had little-to-no awareness in the market. Now as the brand gains traction and starts showing up on retailer’s shelves across the country, guess who we will be notifying first to go in and try it? Awareness + Email Acquisition + Retailer Support (driving foot traffic) = WIN!
Get the 5 tips for developing better blogger outreach here from Social Media Examiner.
Success through Social Media is not some voodoo formula that magically makes your business grow leaps and bounds over night. Like anything else you need to employ make sense strategy and execute accordingly. We have developed a 3 Step (Phase) process that we think works in achieving measurable success through Social Media Efforts:
Step 1- BE SEEN
We design your assets, update your touch points (Website Icons, Email Marketing Icons, and all of your Social Media Profiles) and devise a themed messaging strategy around what will be SEEN when fans/consumers/prospects SEE you online. We secure all of the necessary usernames across all platforms (even if you are not using that profile yet) and we make sure that everything is on brand. We focus most heavily on custom Facebook design because we feel this platform affords us the most robust messaging tools to communicate your overall message. We want to gain likes, encourage brand awareness around all of your products and services and encourage the sharing of your content by Facebook users amongst their friends and family.
Step 2- BE HEARD
This is where we actually get some new eyeballs back to your “home base platforms” (Facebook and Website) using tools such as “fishing social platforms” (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram). We need relevant content to share with these platforms as a tool to incent the visit. What is your unique selling proposition and what is your brand strategy to drive buyer behavior? Some brands discount through sales while others might want to maintain a high end image. These are different brand approaches and with each you need to employ a different methodology.
The other tools we implement during this phase are: Facebook Ads, Blogger Outreach (influencers who can do some editorial or advertorial coverage on us) Email Marketing to strategic lists in our target demo, Live Events etc. We need to use non-social platforms to drive eyeballs back to our home base platforms in order to get them as potential users of our service.
Step 3- BE KNOWN
Once we have employed methods to drive new fans and followers it will create fresh activity on our platforms. Then the up front BE SEEN strategy starts to kick in as users engage with our EdgeRank optimized messaging plan (on Facebook) and our custom Facebook applications. Now we employ contests and promotions to help carry the brand and marketing message across multiple channels. We can also create collaborations with other brands and entities who will help us double down on our Be HEARD efforts. You cant jump to this step, because you first need to create buzz and a following to have these brand ambassadors doing the heavy lifting for you. Also other brands will only want to collaborate with your business if you bring some sort of tangible benefit to theirs. Having a real and active following gives them an audience to promote their services and they will be more inclined to enter into mutually beneficial relationships that allow you to both win.
So in the end it is very important to follow this 3 step (phase) process and know that you will squander opportunities and compromise success of the subsequent step if you cheat or rush the prior one! I also think this roadmap helps put into perspective that you don’t just launch a Facebook Fan Page and buzz just starts. You have to dig in and work to get there, but it is well worth it when you do!