Blogging your way to greater influence
Do bloggers fit into your online marketing mix? These online influencers have made their mark, but how do they make a difference to your bottom line? And how on earth do you choose from the thousands of bloggers out there?
Savvy destinations invest in blogging houses and compete to host blog conventions, while consumer-focussed businesses look towards blog trips, sponsorships and brand ambassador contracts. Why are they doing this?
The power of personality: Bloggers are mini-celebrities and their endorsement carries significant weight within their niche. Finding a personality that matches your brand can be tricky, but the benefits are more than worthwhile as their influence echoes through the blogosphere.
Multi-tiered platform: Bloggers have spent years building up positive search engine profiles, engaged social media channels, and active email lists. Working with a blogger gives you access, not only to their story-telling prowess, but also their audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and more.
Brand/Audience expansion: Got an upcoming event or new product that's geared towards art lovers in Abu Dhabi? 30-somethings in New York? There will be a blogger speaking to that audience. Bloggers should supply basic demographics on their target audience, and if those are the people you're trying to reach, it's an easy win.
Engaging content: How often have your editors been screaming for content? How often have you wanted to put together a video or a personal angle on a story? Working with bloggers not only puts your product on display with their audience, but allows you to commission stories for your own marketing channels.
Some bloggers will approach you directly, and other times you might be searching for bloggers for a specific marketing campaign. So how do you choose which bloggers to work with?
It only takes 20 minutes to register a site, upload a bio, and call yourself a blogger, but there are hundreds of travel bloggers that take their craft — and profession — seriously.
You can find many of those on the Professional Travel Blogging Association's search engine. A search will allow you to build a shortlist by niche, by audience numbers or social media reach, which gives you the chance to pick bloggers based on real numbers and industry membership.
Take the time to look at each blog on your short list and see if they match your brand. From there, an introductory email can lead to powerful ongoing relationship.
Craig Martin is President Elect of the Professional Travel Blogging Association, Managing Director of Indie Travel Media Ltd, and co-host of the Indie Travel Podcast.