The Blogger and the Brand
As digital marketers, it has been virtually impossible not to notice that we are in an era that is highly influenced by the blogger community. Since 2005, we have seen tiny blogger cogs grow into mighty brand machines.
As digital marketers, we know that when a blogger and a brand collide, it makes for a power partnership. Blogger’s are seen as a turbo charged platforms that can make digital marketing step away from impressive to being awe-inspiring.
This hasn’t always been the case. In a similar comparison to the one that has been made between digital and traditional PRs; bloggers have been seen as the poor relative of journalists. Why? Bloggers take it upon themselves to write what they are passionate about. No one commissions a blogger’s posts, and they are not on a payroll to wax lyrical about a brand or product. Bloggers simply write because they have a genuine interest in the field they blog in.
It’s not only journalists that didn’t take bloggers seriously in the initial phase; it was also marketers and PRs. They simply were seen as not influential or important enough to speak to.
How they are seen now
Bloggers have become brand powerhouses. They spark the imagination of designers, marketers and even journalists. Since bloggers have come on the scene, the digital space has become a brighter one. With this change in perspective, blogs have also started to be seen as a marketing tool by consumer brands. But tools they are not!
The successful bloggers have built up their name in the digital landscape by being original, outspoken and individual – all traits that set bloggers apart.
With that in mind, it is important to offer bloggers a partnership that is based on mutual benefits.
The only way to win a blogger’s heart is by being honest in your intentions, offer them something that will suit their audience and, more importantly, be human!
A little too late for traditional PRs
The reason why bloggers have such a large following is because they’re outspoken and do not have to hide behind a large corporation. If you are rude, or haven’t done as much research about their blog as you have with your marketing strategy, they will tell all!
Nowadays, most traditional PRs are making up for years of snubbing bloggers at press events and shunning sample requests. It’s important that as digital marketers, we do not make the same mistake.
Digital marketers are very similar to bloggers. They emerged in a growing market and are continually learning their trade. They can create a buzz using their digital expertise, and know exactly how to take advantage of a trend in micro seconds.
Digital marketers and bloggers are essentially cut from the same cloth; this is why relating to them and working together shouldn’t be rocket science.
If you are looking at a client’s marketing budget for the next financial year, think about working with bloggers. Here are some examples of fantastic brand/blogger collaborations that work:
Mac Cosmetics took a handful of highly influential beauty bloggers to Toronto, who in turn helped Mac develop a line of products. Initially, the beauty brand asked 80 bloggers to submit their ideas and handpicked 9 of the best. Mac’s selection process wasn’t prejudiced by fan base count or noise; they picked bloggers who demonstrated innovation and brand loyalty.
The result was not only a new line of cosmetics for the brand, but an opportunity for the fans of these beauty bloggers to buy a product that had been personally designed by them.
Flights across the pond are not a must to impress a blogger. If your client or brand can relate to a blogger through similar interests and attitude, then a simple activity such as guest posts are just as effective. National Geographic collaborated with GearJunkie in the run up to Christmas. The channel, which promotes nature and activities in the great outdoors, asked the bloggers to hand pick items suitable for like-minded adrenaline junkie.
The idea was simple and mutually elevated both brands. GearJunkie promoted the post with the link to the gift guide to their 33,396 Facebook fans during the ‘silly season’.
This fashion season has seen New York take a firm stance in restricting their ticketing for shows by 20%, with fashion bloggers taking the biggest hit. Whilst New York regresses to the print age, Cannon, the official sponsor of London Fashion Week, collaborated with fashion blogger Andy Torres. Andy and Cannon travelled to fashion shows around the worlds to talk to industry heavy weights about fashion.
The film ‘Canon: A Year in Fashion’ captured the industry through the eye of a lense. It documented how imagery is important to individuals through design, reporting and social media. The film told a story and took simple technical goods and showed it in a creative and compelling light.
In summary, a blogger relationship should be natural. Both followers of the brand and the blogger are typically loyal. If they don’t buy into a brand/blog collaboration, neither will the rest of the world.
Collaborations should never be about numbers, but about who makes the perfect fit. There is no such thing as too much research when it comes to finding ‘the one’.