When Peter Merholz coined the term “blog,” (breaking up Jorn Barger’s word “weblog“ into “we blog”), it’s doubtful he could’ve imagined how the online platform would grow into what it is today. The number of blogs and people using blogs continues to grow at a staggering pace (about 181 million blogs globally, according NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company).
As the digital age rises, so does the consumption of – and trust in – digital-born entities, such as Huffington Post, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Yelp and self-made influential bloggers. Blogs come in all shapes and sizes. People like The Pioneer Woman, Perez Hilton and Seth Godin blog about entirely different topics, but have each amassed followers in the multi-millions.
More and more, people are going to blogs to find recommendations. As we know, stats can vary, but a recent Nielsen study revealed, “Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information and messaging, with 70 percent of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust messages on this platform, an increase of 15 percent in four years.” These reviews don’t just come from traditional review websites, but from influential blogs as well (many of them run by moms). NM Incite found that about 33 percent of bloggers are moms; 52 percent are parents with kids under 18.
“81 percent of women representing the general U.S. population said they trusted blogs and Pinterest…”
– and –
“61 percent said they’d acted on a blog recommendation and 47 percent said they’d acted on one from Pinterest.”
If you think about it, this isn’t too different than what people have been doing for generations: Seeking out those they trust for suggestions on products and services. Only now, it’s also done virtually.
Companies can leverage the relationships these bloggers have with their followers to help spread brand awareness. Mashable stresses the significance that creating blogger relationships can have for a brand in its post,Blogger Outreach: 5 Tips for Connecting With Top Influencers:
“A single relationship with the right blogger could lead to thousands of instant relationships with targeted readers who fully trust that particular source; not to mention the back links.”
Not only can companies reach powerful influencers, but advocates who are already passionate for the brand as well that can support it online and offline. Social Business News explains:
“[Brand advocates] will share their opinion, recommendations and even defend the brand from detractors. They may not have thousands of followers or be quoted in the media as an industry thought leader, but they have influence within their social network.”
As public relations practitioners, we still reach out to traditional outlets to earn media coverage. However, thanks to the blogosphere, we now have more opportunities to connectdirectly with influencers and brand advocates.
So how do you best initiate those connections? A great way is to meet the bloggers face-to-face. DVL recently attended Reviewer’s Retreat, a conference for product and resource review bloggers, to learn more about the genre and engage with some influential parents who blog. Stay tuned to our next post where we’ll share some of our top takeaways from the event.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: | AdWeek, blogger outreach, BlogHer, blogs, brand advocates, customer advocacy, influencers, mashable, Nielsen, NM Incite, online reviews, relationships, social business news, social media, weblog