Brands & Blogs: A Match Made In Heaven (Or Not)? [Research]

7 Reasons Brands Need To Pay Attention to Blogs

Do blogs matter to your brand and marketing? Understand that by blogs I don’t just mean your corporate blog, but rather the breadth of blogs covering your category and general topics touching your product array. Before answering, check Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere.

Here are seven areas where brand marketers must pay attention to bloggers and recommended business actions.

  1. Do you know which bloggers follow your brand? If not, it’s probably time you check because two thirds of all bloggers follow brands on social media platforms and most of them blog about the brands they follow. ACTION: Examine your new followers and fans across social media platforms. Check their followers to see what their interests are. Reciprocate and follow them. Also acknowledge their activity and monitor what they say. To track what’s being said, set up Google alerts with their name and blog.
  2. How do bloggers feel about your organization? You need to know the answer to this question since about 20% of bloggers boycott brands and discuss why they do so. ACTION: At a minimum, it should be company policy to treat all prospects, customers and the public respectfully and with dignity. Monitor the blogosphere to hear what’s being said about your organization. Once you’ve built a relationship with bloggers, ask if they have issues or concerns. If an issue arises, respond promptly.  
  3. How do bloggers feel about your firm’s treatment of them? 60% of bloggers believe brands treat them worse than traditional media entities. As opinion influencers, it’s useful to keep bloggers on your side. Of the 60% of bloggers who had an opinion about their corporate interactions, the majority were positive. Half of bloggers prefer to deal with brand ambassadors directly. ACTION: Have a member of your marketing staff engage with influential bloggers in your category directly. Treat them with respect. Don’t assume you deserve coverage in their blog. It goes a long way if you show you’re interested in them by being a frequent reader of their blog posts and an engaged community member by commenting on their posts. 
  4. Whether they love you, hate you or don’t have any feelings for you, three out of five bloggers write about brands. Bloggers post content including product reviews, commentary on their interactions with retailers and customer care, and exchange information and gossip about firms. For hobbyists and professional bloggers, product reviews get the best reader response while corporate and entrepreneurial bloggers get the best results from advice and/or consultative content. ACTION: Be aware of the blogs covering your categories and build a relationship with each of the bloggers individually. If they’ve got issues, determine what they are and work to fix them. Don’t just pretend they’ll go away quietly. Remember blogs are search friendly and can show up under your keywords. 
  5. Are you courting the bloggers in your category? If you’re not, it’s good bet your competitors are. On average, 40% of bloggers are approached to write about or review products. ACTION: Depending on your marketing strategy and/or company guidelines, you may actively recruit bloggers to support your products and services. That said, monitor the social media landscape to listen to what’s being said about you and your competitors to be able to respond appropriately.
  6. Does the blogger’s opinion of your firm effect whether he’ll carry your advertising? You’re damn straight it does! 90% of bloggers think it’s very or somewhat important that their blog’s advertising is aligned with their values. Remember, many bloggers take their blogs personally. Therefore, the subtext is that blog advertising carries a personal endorsement. ACTION: Before considering blog advertising, visit the blogs, read their posts and comments, and engage with the blogger(s). This is important since bloggers and their readers feel an implied endorsement. As a result, you need to understand the blog’s point of view. Is it in line with your brand values?
  7. Does your blogger outreach program do its homework and support bloggers with the information and access they need? When it comes to supporting bloggers, brands have work to do. Less than one out of five knows what specific blogs are about. A similar number of brands want bloggers to do things that would compromise their blog.  ACTION: Spend time getting familiar with the specific bloggers and their blogs. Assess whether it makes sense to associate with a specific blog. When examining blogs, consider their readership. It’s not just about the number of readers, but rather who they are and how they relate to your prospects and customers. 

Regardless of whether they love your brand or hate it, bloggers can have an impact on how your brand is perceived. To this end, it’s critical to know the blogs in your category by reading what they write and engaging in the conversation on their platforms since they can be powerful  brand advocates or a leading indicator that you’ve got an impending issue.

Are there any other elements that you’d add to this list? What has your experience, either as a brand marketer or a blogger, been?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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