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How Using Bloggers In Your Content Strategy can Help Broaden your Reach

Ten years ago, all of the big brands were using high budget celebrities to market and promote their products. These days, you’re much more likely to see a completely different type of brand ambassador at the helm; and you’ve probably never heard of them.

What we’re referring to here is the rise of the blogger.

Engaging with bloggers is a growing trend and is an increasingly integral part of online marketing and digital strategy. Brands who’ve yet to get in the ring risk falling behind and appearing irrelevant in the eyes of customers. So how do you work with bloggers, and how can it benefit you? Read on to find out.

How Can I Work with Bloggers?

If you’re new to the world of blogging, let’s recap. Bloggers post online about their specific niche or industry, for example, beauty or cooking, and combine frequent and original content with a distinct tone of voice to amass a number of followers interested in their area.

This makes them a prime target for brands. Say you run a B&B, and as part of your content strategy, you’ve identified a particular blogger who gets 30,000 unique web hits to their travel blog a month. By reaching out to this blogger and offering them a complimentary stay or meal at your B&B in exchange for a blogpost detailing their experience, you expose your business to those 30,000 captive and relevant readers.

The Worlds of SEO and PR are Combining

In last week’s post, we touched on the importance of integrating your SEO and PR strategies. Now more than ever, it’s important to use PR tactics to get people talking about you in order to gain those all-important back links and improve your search rankings. A great way to do this is through the use of influencers.

Traditionally, PR specialists have engaged with journalists to spread the word about a brand and put a positive story out into the industry space. Now we’re in the digital age, bloggers are the new media – only they’re independent and have distinct personalities, as well as hordes of dedicated followers.

Unlike with the traditional press, blog readers get to know their favourite bloggers personally by reading daily updates on their lives, interests and relationships. Therefore, they are much more likely to make purchases and buying decisions based on their favourite blogger’s advice or recommendations.

The essential element here is trust – unlike celebrities, bloggers are seen more as friends, as normal people audiences can relate to. Our recent post on the rise of YouTubers touched on the influential nature of “vloggers” (video bloggers), whose success is owed to their normality and relatability.

Content Creation

Working alongside bloggers not only means you’ll have some influential new PR advocates, but they’ll be doing a lot of the content heavy-lifting for you, too. Blogposts on third party websites, especially relevant and authoritative blogs, can do wonders for your backlink profile and therefore search rankings.

Our recent post on Google’s search algorithm updates discussed how useful, authentic and relevant content is rewarded above all else by search engines. Working with others in your industry to proactively create even more shareable content and buzz around your brand benefits not only your image, but your SEO, too.

Choosing The Right Blogger

Aligning with the right blogger can help bring your product to life. So, the more followers the better, right? Not exactly – hold on just a second before you start going after Zoella or Alfie Deyes. The kind of blogger you work with will depend largely on your industry, goals and budget.

The best partnerships are the ones born from mutual interests. For example, if you offer industrial cleaning and approach a beauty or fashion blogger, it doesn’t matter how many followers they have or how much money you spend – you’re unlikely to see much return on investment as your product just won’t be relevant to their audience. Instead, select the area you’d like to pursue and concentrate on prolific bloggers in that space.

If you’re a small to medium business and don’t have a budget of hundreds of thousands, you’re better off identifying a group of up-and-coming bloggers with just a couple of thousand followers. As well as being cheaper to work with, they’re more likely to work independently rather than under a management company, so you’ll both have more control over the creative direction of your partnership. The blogger you choose also reflects on you and your brand, so make sure your values and interests are similar before starting out.

Who’s Doing It Right?

There are many examples of brands who have successfully identified and worked with bloggers. Fashion brand Uniqlo recently commissioned a number of emerging fashion bloggers to create content around their collaboration with designer Celia Birtwell, effectively expanding their reach into a younger, more fashion-savvy demographic.

Another innovative method of working with bloggers comes from electronics giant Samsung, and their well-conceived “Bloggers Challenge”  running from August – December 2014.  Open to tech bloggers in South Africa, the challenge involves partaking in a series of quirky tasks, such as preparing a list of meals using just a microwave. Obviously, all challenges must be captured using a Samsung Galaxy 4 phone and uploaded to that blogger’s personal blog or channel. This activity increases Samsung’s share of voice and also supports digital content in South Africa.

We can see here that at the core of a successful blogging partnership are shared values and trust. When choosing bloggers and approaching them with ideas, keep in mind that the content you produce should be beneficial for them, as well as you. In this way, you can build a valuable community, as well as a profitable partnership.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencyIf you’re not using bloggers to boost your content marketing strategy then get in touch with Surrey digital agency, Clever Marketing. We have content writers to cover many areas and the search engine knowledge to ensure that your SEO is up to scratch.

In addition we can drive traffic to your website with PPC campaigns and social media management.

Call us today on 01276 534 680 or complete our contact form.

5 easy tips to ensure your blog gets noticed

5 Easy Steps to Ensure Your Blog Gets Noticed

The popularity of free and intuitive blogging platforms, such as Blogger and WordPress, has meant that anyone with an internet connection can now create a blog and publish their opinions to their heart’s content.

In such a busy marketplace, it can be difficult for your own posts to get the attention and traction they deserve. Whether you are launching a company blog or just trying to get more eyes on your existing personal blog, there are a number of fool-proof ways to ensure yours stands out from the crowd.

1. Carve out your niche

Start by asking yourself: what makes my blog different from every other beauty/fashion/finance/lifestyle blog out there? Why should someone stop and take time out of their day to read this blog? What is my unique selling point?

The most successful blogs know what they’re about from the outset and stick to it. Or, they answer a very specific need of their audience. For example, you might offer money saving tips tailored to a certain demographic, or specialise in easy to follow DIY guides. Your blog might concentrate on beautiful imagery, or it may become known for its well-crafted copy. The key is to be different; be interesting; be creative.

That isn’t to say you should let that niche limit you or prevent your blog from evolving naturally, but your identity and the proposition you offer your readers needs to be present from the outset or you risk becoming lost in the noise.

2. Be Consistent

If you work full time or have many other responsibilities, researching, drafting, editing and publishing a post on your blog can seem like a lot of work for little benefit (in the beginning). It’s suddenly very easy to let it slide to the bottom of your priorities list.

You’re not alone in this. One of the biggest reasons that many blogs fail is a lack of consistency, and simply failing to post frequently. In fact, there is a blog dedicated to profiling those fledgling blogs that only survived for one post, with humorous results.

Blogging can be a case of “if you build it, they will come”. Keep posting rich and relevant content, and you will soon attract an audience that will thank you for it. Which leads us on nicely to our next point.

3. Develop a Following

Many people believe blogs are for self-promotion or should centre on SEO and link-building purposes. The truth is: a successful blog will hardly ever start this way. The secret to making your blog stand out and giving it longevity is to build it for your followers. Write and deliver original and useful content on a subject in which you are the authority, and your following will naturally increase.

Other proactive ways to build your following include reaching out to other businesses and bloggers in your field and tapping into their influence, as well as networking within the industry. Building relationships will get your name out there, helping to ensure that your blog gets noticed and talked about.

4. Promote Yourself

So, your blog is ticking along nicely. You’ve decided what your niche will be, you’re posting consistently about relevant subjects, and you’ve built a small but loyal following who engage and share your posts. Well done. However, there’s always more work to be done.

It’s all very well delivering your content to your dedicated bunch of followers, but if you don’t actively promote yourself, you won’t see huge jumps in traffic or engagement anytime soon. These days self-promotion is all about the savvy use of social media, so make sure you invest some time in setting up dedicated Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Reach out to others in the industry, let users know when you’ve posted something new, and if you can, engage them in competitions and giveaways.

Social media does demand time, effort and knowledge, and the pressure to be “live” all the time is intimidating to those new to blogging. However, there are a lot of tools such as Tweetdeck to help you schedule posts or retweet old ones, ensuring your self-promotion is always ticking away in the background in your busier moments.

5. Get to grips with SEO

In the early days of your blog, it’s important to lay the SEO groundwork. Try not to skip this point or assume the requirements are too technical or complicated – the time and effort you spend now will reap dividends later.

Firstly, make sure your blog is indexed by search engines and build a basic sitemap to make it easy for Google to crawl. Set up a Google Analytics account to track traffic, and create an account on Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)* to ensure you’re up to date with things like broken links. Spend some time doing keyword research around your chosen subject and choose some terms you may have a chance of ranking for. Use these to target your posts and factor them into your content brainstorming ideas.

The more you consider both Google and your audience in your blogging activity, the more it will reward you with higher rankings and visibility, and the more you’ll find your blog rises above the masses.

*NB: Other tools are available such as Bing Webmaster Tools.

Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital Agency - We're good at converting leads into salesGetting your blog noticed takes time and effort. If you need a professional digital agency to help you get those results then consider Clever Marketing for your social, PPC and SEO. Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire and London, we don’t mind where your business is, we will help you with your lead generation.

Need to speak to us right now? Call us on 01276 534 680. Or you can leave us a message via our easy contact form.

Either way, do get in touch and we can help to ensure your blog gets noticed…