If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the increased collaboration between brands of all stripes and bloggers. You’ve most likely seen network banner ads, sidebar text links, sponsored posts and of course what we all salivate over- product reviews and giveaways.
Collaborations between brands and bloggers is something that’s relatively new but is becoming more common as both are realizing the potential power in collaboration. Traditional advertising was sexy in the 60’s (I’m talking to you John Hamm! Meow!) but brands would be smart to work with bloggers- here’s why:
- People Love Free Stuff But Hate Feeling Like Sheep. I love free stuff, but I won’t like your page on Facebook or follow your company on Twitter to win something you’re giving away if I have to compete with 5,000 other people where I know I won’t win. Product giveaways with bloggers are smaller, more targeted and usually have fun ways for people to interact with your brand in ways that a big Facebook giveaway could never achieve.
- Bloggers Can Offer Insightful Feedback & Love Doing It. I know I do! I used to love to review products and give feedback on Amazon, but now I can offer that in my own venue on the products I use with pictures, video and offer freebies to my readers- that’s way more fun for me than posting an anonymous 4 out of 5 star review somewhere!
- Lower Costs & Equitable Exchanges. Doing reviews or offering sidebar ads with bloggers allows companies to highlight their products and services for low cost to a highly targeted audience. For the price of a product and shipping, your company gets prime ad space in a sidebar or in a blog post- if you’re worried about paying flat fees sending product for review is advantageous!
- Effectiveness. Product reviews allow bloggers to talk about your product in an honest way that readers trust and respect more than traditional advertising (That is, as long as the blogger herself is honest about her opinions).
- Reputation. Bloggers are typically very aware of their reputations and the relationship they have with their audience. Choosing to endorse a product or review it on the blog is taken very seriously. If you want to cultivate a positive and likeable brand reputation for your brand, consider finding a spokesperson that takes his/her personal reputation just as seriously. A collaboration with a respected blogger establishes trust with potential buyers.
- Receptiveness. In my experience as a reader and a writer of blogs, consumers are typically more receptive to hearing about a product when it comes with personal pictures, opinion and a review of a product than with traditional advertising. Knowing a blogger you love also loves and used a product personally gets more of my attention than a magazine ad or random banner that I typically ignore.
- Quality. If you get the impression that a blogger has put in a lot of time and effort to building a solid blog, chances are they will want to do the same with your review. If a blogger provides high quality pictures, insights and works to cultivate high reader engagement, chances are they will do the same for a product review or to promote paid advertising on their site.
- Reach & Influence. Paying for advertising elsewhere might be great to get views, but if you want to go beyond simple stats and want to curate reach and influence for your brand, you might gain some serious traction by working with a blogger. Many bloggers have strongly established networks on Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare and you could benefit from their connections.
- Bloggers Are Better Than Amazon. I’m sure you’ve caught on to the popularity of using consumer reviews to shop on Amazon and similar sites. Shoppers love to have an idea of what others thought before they buy. Knowing the honest opinions on others (even if limitations are highlighted) before you buy is a huge selling point. Getting this kind of personalized review from a blogger that includes pictures and experiences is not something you’ll find with other venues- your brand will stand out!
- Osmosis of coolness. To build upon the point that bloggers have great networks- when working with a blogger, their network can help build your brand. If you want to build your brand’s reach and influence, working with a blogger can get your more followers on Twitter and more likes on Facebook not just leads or traffic to your site.
- Bloggers Help You Diversify Your Conversions. Sure traffic is great. Traditional advertising on big websites is great for that, but how many clicks lead to conversions and sales for your company? Working with niche bloggers gets your prequalified traffic that are already receptive to what you offer, PLUS they are already getting a review they can trust. Chances are, working with a blogger will lead to a better long term relationship with your audience and thus long term sales not just click thrus.
Dear Brands- as you know, competition is fierce to get the attention of potential buyers. If you think your product is cool, you should really try and get on board to find a blogger who loves your products and is willing to vouch for your stuff and tell their networks.
So much paid advertising is ignored and lost in the shuffle (heck, I know even YOU ignore a lot of it), but when I see a personal review with cute pictures, funny feedback and an honest opinion, people typically pay attention. The internet’s changed the way we do business, why not try something new?
If you’re a blogger like I am, try making some of these points next time you’re working with a company who may be unfamiliar with this kind of collaboration. If you’re reading this on behalf of a brand, you should really email me to see what we can work out (wink wink).
As for my readers- I hope you enjoy the reviews/giveaways on here, I hope to help you win more free stuff and offer some great coupons in the future. What do you think about bloggers doing giveaways?