An effective approach to influencer marketing embraces the value of short-form content (social media) and long-form content (blogs). A dynamic channel approach to your influencer relationships will increase ROI and brand awareness for years to come.
If your current influencer marketing program only includes earned social posts, you may want to consider branching out and include bloggers to get the maximum effectiveness out of your program. Afterall, 77% of internet users read blogs regularly. That’s a lot. Don’t you want your brand to be featured in these blog posts?
Follow this guide to incorporate bloggers into your strategy.
The Value of Earned Blog Posts
Blog posts capture the true essence of how an influencer utilizes your brand in their everyday lives. With the ability to add long-form text as opposed to snippets and hashtags on social media, bloggers can convey more about your brand and get their audience excited to try your brand’s products or services.
Additionally, blog posts show up in search results for years to come and can provide an evergreen approach to influencer marketing. While social media posts are great for a quick spark of brand awareness, blog posts last longer and can generate traffic or sales well after they are initially promoted.
Speaking of search results, earned blog posts that link to your brand are great for SEO. It’s common to give bloggers anchor text for what keywords you want them to use when linking to your brand, which can really boost your brand’s ability to be discovered by consumers.
Embrace a Dynamic Approach
When we run an influencer marketing campaign, we look for bloggers that also have a strong social presence. By partnering with well-rounded influencers who have followers across many channels, brands get the quick spark from earned social posts plus the long-term benefit of blog posts.
We recommend coming to an agreement with the bloggers you work with to create additional social posts promoting their blog content – whether that be a pin, a tweet, Facebook post or an Instagram post. By doing so, you can amplify blog content and increase the visibility of your brand through cross-promotion.
What to Look for in a Blogger
There are quite literally millions of bloggers out there, so you can be selective when it comes to those you choose to partner with.
Use the following criteria to identify bloggers for your influencer marketing efforts:
- Use post tags to analyze their blog topics and areas of expertise.
- Examine their sponsored posts and see how they write about their other brand partners and how frequently they post sponsored content.
- Scroll down to the comments section in their blog posts to understand the sentiment of the engagement and to make sure that the bloggers are responsive to their audience.
- Research and analyze the blogger’s unique monthly visitors so that you know the size of their audience.
- Evaluate their social footprint using a platform like Mavrck so that you can understand their audience demographics, engagement, and embrace a dynamic approach.
- Request the blogger’s media kit that can provide more insight about their blog topics and brand partnerships.
Finding the Right Bloggers
To find the right bloggers, it’s important to first identify your target audience. Whether you are trying to reach moms, consumers in a specific location, or those of a specific age demographic, you’ll want to align your target consumer with bloggers who can reach that audience. When using a platform like Mavrck, you can search by audience demographics including location, age, and gender to align your influencer selection with the target consumer.
After you select influencers based on their audience, we recommend identifying creators based on their content topics that align with your brand or product. If you are new to running a blogger campaign, we recommend testing out different bloggers who focus on various verticals in order to cast a wide net. For example, an eco-conscious fashion brand may want to work with fashionistas, green lifestyle bloggers and mom bloggers. This allows you to measure the results and see which types of bloggers provide the most brand lift.
To further solidify and finalize your influencer selection, we recommend evaluating the influencers’ content. Search their blog for similar products or topics related to your brand. Think about what pain points your brand solves and translate this into searches that your consumers would type into Google or Pinterest. Align your content strategy with these searches so your content will be discovered by consumers.
In order to scale and activate the right bloggers, you may want to consider an influencer marketing tool. Here at Mavrck we have relationships with plenty of bloggers ready to be activated for your brand which makes finding bloggers in any niche straightforward.
Building Blogger Relationships
In order to collaborate and create valuable content with the bloggers you identify, it’s important to build solid relationships with them. When brands take the time to create relationships instead of transactions, you can build a foundation for ongoing partnerships that improve performance and sustain your influencer marketing practice.
It all starts with your outreach email. You’ll want to keep it short and sweet while clearly identifying what you’re asking of them and explaining how you plan to compensate the influencers. We recommend reviewing their content and explaining why they are the perfect fit for your brand based on your research. But the work doesn’t stop there. After you’ve included a blogger in your strategy, be sure to consistently communicate with them and make yourself available for any questions they have.
Once the post is published, praise your bloggers and share their posts on your brand’s social channels (always making sure to credit them) so that their blog gets new views. Ask for feedback and take the time to learn from the influencers and their perspectives. This will lead to long-lasting partnerships and support bloggers wanting to work with you again.
Incorporate Thematic Elements
A common mistake that brands who are new to influencer marketing make is sending bloggers products without a clear direction on how to feature their brand in their posts. You want to avoid generating posts that are something to the effect of “I got this shirt and here is a picture of me in it.” Not very engaging, is it?
That’s why we make it a rule that whenever we run a blogger campaign, it is accompanied with a creative theme. Seasonal themes, embracing brand values and showcasing how brands solve pain points are all great places to start. Make sure your themes still allow for creative freedom so the influencers can remain authentic to their audience using their own voice. Afterall, bloggers know their audience and what will resonate with them better than you do. If your content comes out looking the same across all of your bloggers, you’re probably not allowing for enough creative freedom and flexibility.
Seeding Bloggers with the Right Assets
In order for bloggers to represent your brand accurately, it’s important to provide them with the resources they need to accurately represent your brand. Here is what we recommend:
- Anchor text for how the blogger will link to your brand
- High res images of your logo
- Guidance for photos they take on their own
- A timeline for when posts are due or if draft approval is required
- A brand book or dos and don’ts to reference your brand, products, or messaging
- The theme of the campaign with relevant hashtags and appropriate FTC disclosures
- A mood board
Extending the Life of Your Sponsored Content
The value of a sponsored blog post extends well beyond brand awareness. Your team should be ready to make the most out of these valuable pieces of content.
Excerpts from blog posts and images can be used on your website. This content can be utilized by your social media team plus quotes from the blog posts can be used on marketing materials as testimonials. You can also leverage this content on product pages, where consumers can see IGC and click through to learn more from the influencers’ perspective.
Measuring the Value of Blogger Relationships
It’s important that you don’t forego measuring the blog results. Analytics will help you determine which types of bloggers provide the most value to your brand and who you should work with again. Find common elements of the top-performing posts and aim to create more posts like those based on your data. To analyze the performance of your content, you should look at the metrics that indicate success based on your original goals – awareness, consideration, purchase, loyalty, etc.
Measuring your earned blog posts means that you can continually refine your approach and improve your strategy over time. Here are some metrics to include in your results:
- Sales attributed to your earned blog posts. The best way to measure this is to seed the bloggers with a discount code that they give their readers to use online when they order from your brand. That way, you can analyze code redemption and look at direct sales. You can also partner with third parties to track sales, or leverage your own ecommerce platform to do so.
- Social engagement. Shares of your blog posts on social media show that a blogger’s audience valued the post enough to share it on their own social media channels which means the post really resonated with them.
- Traffic. A quick review of Google Analytics shows the traffic to your website that was generated from each blog post. Even if a consumer doesn’t purchase, they might later, and this metric shows that your brand sparked interest from the bloggers’ readers.
- Sentiment. Sentiment refers to how the blogger wrote about your brand and if the review is positive, negative or mediocre. What were the bloggers feelings about your brand? What was the sentiment from their audience?
Sponsored blog posts produce results for years to come and this long-form type of content does a great job conveying an influencer’s experience with your brand. With photos and creative text, earned blog posts will generate sales and brand awareness.
Be sure to think through the types of bloggers who will best represent your brand and do your research. Check out their metrics and the amount of comments they get on each post to select really engaging bloggers to partner with.
When reaching out, activating and communicating with your bloggers, be sure to provide clear instructions while still giving them enough creative freedom to remain authentic to their audience.
Don’t forget to measure your campaign so that you can refine and optimize which pieces of the campaign worked best and repeat those so that your results get better with each activation.