There is a vast community of blog followers, and it’s increasing each moment. In search for quality content, inspiration or simply a way to pass some time, internet users turn to bloggers; the practice has been hot for some time now, with some bloggers making serious money just by sharing their opinion.
As a businessman who’s looking to improve his company’s trade and widen its audience, you might ask how to get on the wagon. And, by the look of it, such a question is a good one.
What’s In It For You?
First things first – understand why using a blog for your marketing purposes is a fine opportunity, and the one you shouldn’t miss. Not so long ago, no one but professional journalists were given a chance of speaking their minds to a wider audience, and remaining inside a credibility zone.
Nowadays, anyone can do it, as long as they succeed in staying trustworthy. But what makes them different? Well, bloggers are independent media with objective judgement, or, more accurately, an unofficial one.
Business-implemented, that means that a customer will see an ad for a new type of computer on a company site, and immediately turn to a tech blogger for reliable, off-the-record info. The good news is this – now you can take advantage of the opportunity, and pay a blogger to review your product.
Read The Disclaimer
Before you take a dive into this kind of marketing strategy, you have to know that it is a controversial one. Never use it as a way to skip some steps, since a sloppy sponsored conversation campaign may ruin your reputation, at least.
On the other hand, having a blogger that successfully promotes your brand is by any means the best marketing move you can make.
Even if you choose to build your own blog, you can never achieve the same effect; not only that blogging consumes time, but also not everyone will believe a review given by the brand.
Therefore, keep in mind that this tactic is a slippery slope, and you should approach it with great caution. Do further reading, get familiar with every potential drawback, and be extremely responsible.
How Does It Work?
It’s not very hard to find a suitable blogger to help you achieve your advertising goal. It goes without saying that your target marketing strategy has already came up with valuable results, and you are perfectly clear about the audience your product should appeal to.
Starting at that point, begin your search with bloggers from your niche.
Whatever type of business you run, there’s a blogger covering it. The internet offers a couple of reliable blog search engines, like Find Blogs with Ask, Technorati, LJSeek and the Ice Rocket Blog Search, all of which can give you a hand while trying to find a topic applicable to your business offer.
You should know that not every blogger is interested in doing this kind of work; those who are, however, have to be professional about it, since their word is how their make their living.
Blogging is all about keeping integrity, which is why any kind of false advertising or spam can easily ruin both blogger’s and your career. Once you find a blogger to represent your brand, closing a deal implies a couple of things.
Ultimately, the paying practice can be complicated due to legal reasons. Consequently, most bloggers accept donations of sample products for their service instead of money.
However, if you do pay a blogger, disclosure of any kind of material connection between two parties is required.
As risky as it sounds, this kind of marketing strategy can be developed without any difficulties; all you have to do is to take legal precautions. Thoroughly examine the trade policy in your country, and follow every rule that it administers.
In most cases, you would be dealing with accusations of deceptive advertising, which is nothing but illegal. Because of that, it’s absolutely necessary that your bloggers underline who’s standing behind the content while recommending it to his or her audience.
Also, keep in mind a policy that Google has about no-follow links.
Another recurring problem you should prevent is putting your brand in the hands of a blogger that will promote it only to get paid. 5-star reviews are equally bad as ones with no reviews at all, for the simple reason that not many people will believe them.
Therefore, if your endorser puts forward a flawed product, both sides risk their credibility.
People are now more aware of marketing agendas than they ever were, and to earn their trust is pretty much half the business.
To become dependable and stay authentic, you’ll need to give your blogger a green light to state his or her honest opinion about your product.
To Sum Up: Pros and Cons
Bloggers are accepted as part of an anti-establishment society, being that they advocate the belief of the people, for the people.
Their followers agree with their verdicts, and listen to their suggestions.
Having a brand representative with that amount of influence is more than effective; it’s the most powerful ammo in the battle for market domination.
Nevertheless, the risks are many, since the marketing tactic in this case will always be dangerously near to the grey zone, at least on the moral ground.
In the end, if you’re good with taking risks, comply to the rules and advise your partner to do the same; when all is legal and transparent, sponsored conversation is a valuable tool.