September 20, 2011
It’s no secret that influential bloggers can motivate their audiences to think or act in certain ways. That’s why brands are starting to embrace bloggers as vital to communicating on a more personal level with their target customer audiences.
In fact, Erin Griffith of AdWeek goes so far as to call fashion bloggers “the future of fashion branding.” It’s probably safe to say that influential bloggers are the future of most consumer brands, not just fashion brands.
Bloggers give brands direct access to engaged and interested audiences of people whose demographic profiles can usually be discerned fairly easily. Brands as diverse as Valentino to Juicy Couture have successfully worked with fashion bloggers to reach their audiences. Whether the goal is to promote events (like Valentino) or massage brand perceptions (like Juicy Couture), the results are the same — relationships are built between brands and key audiences.
Most influential bloggers with large audiences are very particular about the brands they’ll write about, talk about, endorse, or help to promote. These bloggers are likely to turn down lucrative advertising offers that could damage their own brands in their readers’ eyes. Therefore, when a trusted blogger does endorse a brand, it gives the brand a vital boost of credibility that advertising alone can’t buy.
Griffith describes the blogger opportunity like a celebrity spokesperson endorsing a brand but better. She writes, “[Fashion] brands could hire a celebrity spokesperson. Instead, they’ve hired a celebrity spokesperson who has her own distribution channel.”
For brand managers who are still wary of working with bloggers, it’s time to move out of your comfort zone and start building relationships with the people who already invested the time, money, and sweat equity to build relationships with your target audience. I’m talking about bloggers whose readers match your target customer audience. The best bloggers are ready to talk to brands about strategic goals, audience demographics, conversions, click-through rates, and all of the other metrics you need to nail down before you can invest in a new marketing tactic.
This is no longer an audience of people blogging in their spare time. Many of the best bloggers view their blogs as businesses and their readers as customers. Often they’re fiercely protective of their readers, and its those bloggers who will give your brand the type of positive exposure it needs. Take the time to do your research and find the best, influential bloggers who have the attention of your target audience. Don’t force your brand on the blogger or their audience. Instead, look for ways to partner with bloggers to improve both your brand and theirs.