Events for bloggers can be a highly effective way for brands to identify and connect with influential online advocates. But understanding what makes bloggers tick – and equally, what makes them sick – is crucial for success. We look at how to kick start the right kinds of conversations, and create relevant, personalised blogger experiences.
Few brands these days can afford to ignore the blogosphere. In virtually every sector and every market, bloggers abound and many of these social-savvy bloggers will hold influence over an extensive community of followers across social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Recent stats from Blogpulse indicate there are 163m blogs worldwide. Over 200,000 blog posts are created in a typical 24 hour period.
For brands looking to engage with bloggers, it’s essential to approach things carefully. Chances are, a small number of bloggers will be hugely influential for different brands or campaigns. Their experiences, reactions and advice can have a massive impact – good or bad – on brand fortunes.
One excellent way to kick start conversations with bloggers and build strong relationships is via live events. Here at BEcause, we’ve created campaigns for the likes of Timberland
which have all involved getting bloggers directly involved in events. Here are some tips for success:
1. Understand that blogger outreach is not PR
Although there are many bloggers who are journalists (or ex-journalists), many are simply people who have a passion and love to blog about it. If a brand is inextricably linked to that passion, most bloggers will be happy to talk about that brand. But don’t expect them to just regurgitate generic press releases. You need to engage bloggers personally, and face-to-face interaction can be a great way to start. Oh, and never treat bloggers as secondary citizens to journalists. Many carry as much, or more weight with consumers these days.
2. Treat every blogger as an individual
Bloggers may fall into broad categories (eg mummy bloggers, tech bloggers, fashion bloggers etc), but that doesn’t mean they all have the same interests. Often they have a very niche focus. If you’re creating an event, it’s crucial to handpick blogger invitees and make individual approaches. At best, poorly targeted invitations will just be ignored – at worst, you could find bloggers openly ridiculing an ill-thought through corporate approach.
3. Place event content above the brand
The art of a good blog event is to create conversation through experience. Great event experiences happen when you offer people something exciting and different that they can take part in, and which taps into their passions. When we launched female-orientated Carlsberg drink Eve last year, for example, we created fashion swapping events in Manchester and Liverpool. National and regional fashion bloggers were invited as VIPs, and because everyone had such a positive experience, the event generated extensive buzz on blogs and social media.
4. Maintain the dialogue
Just as with any form of marketing, relationships dry up if you don’t keep the conversation flowing. Well-conceived events can really kick-start positive relationships between brands and bloggers, but it’s important to keep finding ways to leverage those partnerships, developing long-term influential advocates.