Jason Chuck & Nathan Cahill
It isn’t difficult to remember a time when marketing was controlled almost entirely through advertising agencies. Word of mouth was limited by the reach of communication tools, which was primarily one-to-one (e.g. telephones, letters, etc.). With the advent of the internet, that dynamic has shifted dramatically, with ordinary consumers now able to converse at the same one-to-many scale as traditional advertising businesses. One of the key platforms for this change is the humble blog (much like this one), which has given rise to influential consumers which companies have begun marketing to directly.
Blogger-business relationships have gained a high level of popularity for the mutual benefit that both parties receive. For businesses, reaching out directly to influential bloggers allows them to target specific segments in a more organic and “authentic” manner than traditional targeted advertising; for bloggers, this relationship can provide access to products and services they may not normally be able to present for their readers, in turn increasing their readership and reputation.
Word-of-mouth promotion is nothing new, of course. It has long been considered one of the most valuable forms of marketing – in fact, 92 per cent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over any form of advertising. With the advent of online publishing, consumers have been able to put their own opinions online and engage with others, expanding that circle of trust from friends and family to relative strangers. These can be small industries in themselves – e.g. “mummy bloggers”, who write about their experiences as parents, provide advice and tips, and of course some discussion on the products and services they use.
How does a business integrate good press from bloggers into their marketing strategy? While there are countless articles online on how to properly manage blogger relationships, each with different tips, one of the recurring themes is treating the exchange as a partnership. Bloggers are neither purely consumer nor advertiser; neither are they client or employee. In the present connected world where everyone can make themselves heard, treating key “influencers” with respect goes a long way to generating positive, organic word-of-mouth promotion.
Do you follow any blogs? Would you buy products based on their reviews?