Blogger outreach & new-world PR.
After leaving the 2011 ProBlogger Training Event informed, energised and inspired about connecting my clients with bloggers, I eagerly awaited the 2012 event held earlier this month. Once again, I left feeling validated in my belief that blogging is valuable both professionally and personally.
In a nutshell, it’s the way forward for PR. Like other forms of social media, the blogging phenomenon is led by the individual and brings power to the people. Businesses are now beginning to recognise blogs as a worthwhile marketing spend.
For those of you who aren’t “into” blogging; the ProBlogger Training Event is an annual gathering of bloggers in Melbourne that hosts a series of masterclasses in all aspects of blogging. The event aims to help bloggers monetise their blogs while maintaining creative integrity, as well as educate PR people on how blogs and brands can work harmoniously together and reap mutual rewards.
Dinosaurs are extinct. So is the ‘advertising value equivalence’ formula of old-world PR.
The value of a blogger these days is a topic of keen interest for not only those who blog, but also those in PR & Marketing who believe in opportunities for brands to connect with bloggers, but cannot yet place an industry-validated ROI value on it.
Organisations not inextricably bound by protocol are side stepping the traditional (aka dinosaur) modus operandum of measuring publicity value as an advertising value equivalence. How such an intangible measurement remains, baffles. It needs to go the way of words like “press” and “clippings” and be replaced with a data focused approach.
Data captured from digital channels including blogs, websites and other social media can be measured for exact numbers of unique and repeat visitors, audience participation levels, sentiment, demographic data and even numbers of conversions into sales leads. It’s only a matter of time before a simplified formula will avail itself for executives to brandish with confidence.
The value of a blog.
The following aspects are current best practice measures for a blog’s value, from the perspective of brands and organisations:
- A unique voice and personality that identifies strongly with its target audience
- Content consistency (quality, tone, regular publishing schedule)
- Number of unique monthly visitors
- Number of email subscribers
- Number of followers on associated social media feeds (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest)
- Audience engagement levels (comments, or sharing via their own online networks)
- Audience profile (demographic and other socioeconomic data)
Bloggers can be more influential than journalists.
Simplistically speaking, where a journalist is professionally employed by a media organisation to report on factually accurate stories, a blogger on the other hand is a self-appointed publisher who relies purely on their own subjective, emotional and personal experiences to tell a story.
This may appear to be incredibly flawed as a tool for influence: blogs may hold bias or factual inaccuracies. However, a blog about surfboard recommendations may be produced by a blogger with a ‘qualified opinion’ based on years of experience surfing at Australian and Indonesian beaches. This can have powerful influence over the purchase of specific surf products. And the same blogger’s negative experience with a large financial institution when organising a charitable project for Indonesian children may impact reader perceptions about that service provider, no matter what the Australian Financial Review has reported on its community investment intentions. Real-world context is what blogs offer their audiences, your customers and clients.
Blogs are not just the domain of consumer brands, despite subject areas like food and drink, fashion or retail leading the revolution. Blogger outreach for service providers and B2B brands is great for gaining market insights and engagement of new or hard-to-reach audiences through collaboration with niche blogs. Opportunities for B2B organisations and service providers often lie within hosting their own blogs which can be used to inform and educate key target audiences.
Take Natalie Brown, the blogger behind Easy Peasy Kids. Brown is using her blog to support her consulting business – where she is a behavioural psychologist with over 15 years experience working with children and their families. While she considers herself only a “part-time blogger”, each post published just once every 4-6 weeks draws between 4,000 and 6,000 unique visitors. With this relatively low maintenance schedule and modest, yet consistent volume of site traffic, Brown’s content strategy is about providing her personal view backed with her professional opinion. This gives her blog credibility and a personality. Prior to launching the blog, she would expect 1-2 new clients a year by referral. Brown now boasts a whopping increase to between 3 and 5 new client referrals per day coming via her blog and associated Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Read more about blogger outreach in my Top 5 takeaways from the Problogger Training Event 2012.
Have you thought about how blogs could help your organisation? Contact Amy on (03) 9416 0046 to discuss the myriad possibilities.