Every day there are more companies that trust bloggers to build their brand reputation. Blogs are a powerful tool to connect brands with their target market, by introducing and recommending products or services to their readers.
Since online advertising is becoming more ineffective every day - 80% of people totally ignore paid ads on search engines and websites – blogs are now a very popular and cost-effective way to promote any business online.
A few years ago, third party blogs used to be a great way to promote a business for free. However, as blogs started to grow in popularity, and became more professional and effective as marketing platforms, bloggers’ inbox got inundated with press releases, content submissions and many other requests.
Today it’s harder to get your brand featured by a popular blog than what used to be a few years ago. It’s also not so common anymore to get those features completely free.
If you are a small business owner or an entrepreneur looking for ways to collaborate with blogs, in today’s post you can learn the key benefits that external blogs can bring to your brand as well as the most common collaboration ways.
How blogs can benefit your brand
I’ve been a blogger for over 7 years (through my other blog), and have worked with hundreds of brands. Although blog collaborations have been widely used by many brands all around the world for many years now, people is still unsure how blogs can benefit their brands.
Here are the key benefits that collaborating with third party blogs can bring to your brand:
1. Reach - Lead traffic to your site can be hard. Your business may have its own blog to increase traffic and leads. You have probably written more than a docent of posts already and still have noticed no improvement in your stats.
Many popular blogs receive thousands of visitors every day and can connect your brand with large audiences in a faster way than your business blog.
2. Search Engine Optimisation - Getting featured by blogs is an effective way to increase your link popularity, which can also improve your position in the search engine rankings.
Many blogs have already been online for a while, update content on daily basis, have a well-targeted readership, good online reputation and are pretty adept at getting near the top of search engine result pages. A link from a popular blog can be a gold coin for your business website.
3. Influence - According US research 81% of blog readers trust their favourite blogger’s advices, and 61% of consumers have made a purchase based on the recommendation of a blog post.
Bloggers can try products and make recommendations based on their own experiences and opinions. Those recommendations are read by thousands of readers, and the majority of them will trust the blogger’s advice.
4. Content Marketing - Good bloggers can turn their blog content into effective marketing materials, creating content that is relevant, valuable and interesting to their readers. When the content is good chances are that readers comment, like or share the blog post.
Effective ways to get blog features
1. Quality visual material
In today’s visual world, beautiful images are your best advertising. Unless the blogger is a good photographer – or works in conjunction with one - professional and styled photographs are difficult to get by bloggers. However, every blogger knows good visual content can set a blog apart. So if you can produce those high-quality images, bloggers will be delighted to feature your brand.
Although producing that visual material will have a cost for the brand, this is a good way to be featured by blogs at no cost. Bloggers may find your photos in your website, blogs or social media channels, and approach directly to you to ask permission to publish the images.
Those photographs can become a great marketing investment if they can also be used in your website, your marketing collateral, press releases and social media. Articles with images get 94% more views over those without an image.
2. Sponsored content
A sponsored post is when a blogger receives payment to publish an article that includes at least one contextual link to the sponsor's website.
According to a recent report from Zig Marketing, 67% of bloggers say paid sponsored content is their most profitable revenue generator. Fees range from $25 to $500, depending on their Google PageRank, traffic, link popularity and keyword strength.
When approaching blogger always ask for their media kit. In this document bloggers provide information on fees and blog stats.
While some bloggers may accept an article written by the company – or a guest post - I only accept sponsored posts in my blog if I write them myself, for two reasons:
- I want to a keep consistent style and make sure that my blog is written in my own voice.
- Articles written by inexperienced bloggers may end up being boring, low quality or overly sale content. If they’re written by an agency it could be even worst, as they may try to include links to several of their client’s websites, even if they aren’t relevant to the blog audience.
To know more about how much bloggers charge for sponsored content, also read this article published by Marketing Profs.
3. Product reviews
Bloggers usually write about things that they have experienced, discovered or learned. So another efficient way to get some links back to your website is by sending one of your products for them to try and write about it.
While the main topic of a sponsored post doesn’t necessary has to be the brand or its products – it could be any other related topic that gives the blogger the opportunity to include a link to the sponsor’s website – in the reviews the blogger has to talk directly about your product.
Before approaching a blogger to ask for a product review take into account that:
- The product has to be relevant to the blog readers.
- Ask the blogger first; don’t send your product without knowing whether the blogger will be interested in reviewing your product.
- Many bloggers might also have a minimum value of product to accept reviews or they may still have a fee (see chart above).
Bloggers can run giveaways on their blogs, and call their readers to participate in the competition by commenting the post, or liking or sharing it on social media.
Although, giving something for free seems like a great way to build up your social media base and lead traffic to your website, it's not always easy to make people participate. To run a giveaway through a third-party blog take into account that:
- The prize must be relevant to the blog audience and worthy enough for readers to participate.
- Participation process must be simple and easy, just following the brand in social media, sharing a post or leaving a comment will be enough effort for readers.
- Giveaways also take time and a lot of promotion efforts so bloggers may still have a fee to run the giveaway through their blogs.
To know more about running giveaways also see read this article published by Today Made.
5. Events and Meet-ups
If you are organising an event to promote your business, you can also invite some local bloggers to attend. If the blogger attends and likes your event she/he will also write about it.
Before you approach a blogger to invite them to your event, take into account that you need to give a good reason to the blogger to take the time and effort to attend your event by:
- Offering an exclusive event for the bloggers, like a free workshop on an interesting topic relevant to bloggers.
- Offering something in return to thank them for their attendance, like a free subscription on a valuable online tool or industry magazine or a gift bag.
- Having built a previous relationship with the blogger – by previous collaborations with their blog – to give a blogger a reason to attend
In this article by Bonjour Blogger you can learn more about how to organise an event for bloggers, or you can also read my article on event marketing for small business, to learn to plan and host a memorable event.
6. Affiliate Marketing
The reason why this is a favourite way for many brands to advertise in blogs is because they only pay for it when a sale has been made through the adv. Through affiliate advertisement the blogger will get a percentage of the sales lead through their blog.
If your blog topics are more diverse, you might consider a program such as VigLink.
To know more about affiliate marketing in blogs you can also read this article by Amy Lynn Andrews.
Now that you know how bloggers usually collaborate with brands you can use what you learned in this post to design your own marketing strategy to promote your brand in blogs. even though these ways to collaborate with blogs are not the only ones, they are the most common and widely use.