We all know that creating great content online is a vital tool in helping your SEO and building the authority of your website, but to make the most of this content you also need a loyal and engaged audience who will help you spread the word about your brand. This could be via sharing your content on social media, writing about you and your products or linking to your website from their site. This loyal community will also support and interact with you and your brand online.
However it’s not always easy to build this supportive community so you need to look at how to build a base of ‘influencers’ to get the word out about you to potential customers. A really effective way to do this can be to reach out to the blogging community. Blogging is big business and bloggers write about a wealth of subjects – from health to homeworking and from parenting to pets. However niche your product or service is you will find an online community that suits your company and if you can get them on board they can be vital to building your brand.
How to find the right blogs for your business
The busy world of social media can seem daunting at first but it really is the best way to get out there to find bloggers who will be interested in what you have to offer. Bloggers love social media – it’s the way that they interact and it is the lifeblood of the blogging community. Create a presence for your business by using media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. You can use hashtag based searches to see who and what is being talked about. For example if you are a fashion brand you can search #fashionbloggers or #fashionweek which will pick up conversations relating to fashion that you can then join in with.
Twitter also hosts online chats where businesses and bloggers with the same interests get together to share the latest news, links and issues. Examples of this are beauty bloggers getting together at #bbloggershour and wedding bloggers meeting up at #weddinghour. This is the ideal time to get online and see who’s out there. Look for bloggers who appeal to you and who seem to share the same ‘voice’ as your brand. Have a look at their followers on social media and take a look at what they are sharing. You ideally want people who frequently share product links and who are interacting regularly with their followers. Don’t just be wowed by the number of followers. Often a blogger who has fewer followers but who really has authority amongst those followers can be worth more than a blogger with lots of followers but who never really personally engages with them.
How to engage with bloggers
Once you have decided which blogs would work well with your business then it’s time to start engaging with them. This might not be an instant process but you will be surprised how quickly you can get to know people online. The most vital thing of all is to make sure you take the time to really read their blogs and get to know the people behind them. Bloggers love comments about what they write, and you can also show your interest by sharing their posts, following them on their social media pages or linking to their site.
Bloggers also love to be treated as individuals so make sure that you know who they are. Read their “about me pages” to make sure that they are the right fit for your company and to help you build a tailor made engagement package just for them.
How to encourage bloggers to promote your brand
Once you have built up a rapport with your blogging community it’s time to see if they can help to support and promote your business. There are a number of ways you could do this:
Some companies choose to pay bloggers to become an advocate for them and to promote their product. This could mean anything from a blog having your logo (and a link to your site) on their sidebar, writing a blog post which promotes your service or product, publishing a guest blog for you or being sponsored to post or re-tweet a certain amount of your tweets per week.
A softer way of encouraging bloggers to write about your products is to offer them your products or services to review. In return they will write about it on their blog. This is often a better way to engage with bloggers, as by trying out what you have to offer they can really see what it is that you do and are therefore in a far better place to promote you. Personal recommendation is also a very powerful tool in encouraging customers to choose your company. Reviews also mean you can tailor them to your market. So for a restaurant you may want local bloggers who will appeal to people in the right area to visit you. For a wedding product you may want to target newly engaged people via wedding bloggers.
Offering blogger coverage and promotion on your website
Bloggers are often just as keen on getting their site promoted and their articles shared as you are! Offering shares and promotion via your website in reciprocation for them doing the same is often a great and mutually beneficial way of getting your message across. Of course for this to work well you need to make sure that you have an excellent website and also a good social media following.
Holding an event that will excite and interest bloggers is a great way to encourage them to promote your brand. It’s a brilliant way of reaching a large number of people and building a sense of community around your brand. Companies often hold information days or talks by experts tailored to the type of bloggers that they want to engage. It is also a fantastic way to meet bloggers face to face and really get to know them.
Keep on engaging to build long-term loyalty
Finally it’s important to make blogger engagement a long-term plan. As your business grows it is vital to keep up the positive engagement with your blogging community. Make sure you keep chatting on Twitter and commenting on their posts. Even if bloggers don’t accept a guest blog the first time round, keep being friendly on Twitter and showing an interest and they are quite likely to accept the second time you ask. It’s also good practice to keep in regular contact with your bloggers – you could set up a blogger press release list or emails list so that they are always kept up to date with the latest news about your business for them to share or promote. This long-term loyalty will really help your business to keep growing online.