Back in the day, word of mouth marketing meant that a product would gain popularity solely on its own merit. Consumers would purchase it, and based on their experience, share and encourage their neighbors and friends to buy the product as well. Brands would conduct focus groups with psychologists to assist them in making sure their packaging was appealing, and their product was as good as they claimed. After all of that was done, they’d hire a PR company and an ad agency to help get the word out to their targeted demographic. That type of paid media was the only expected source of promotion. Getting attention through positive consumer recommendations, or word of mouth marketing, was like icing on the cake, but it certainly wasn’t expected.
We’re living in the digital age now, though. Instagram photos show millennials at their favorite coffee shops, and new moms pledge allegiance to a specific diaper company on their Facebook pages. Brands are starting to anticipate earned media, and await word that their latest commercial or marketing campaign has gone viral thanks to their loyal customers dutifully sharing, for free, about their favorite product on all of their social networks.
That “cross your fingers and hope for the best” approach might work for a small (very small) percentage of companies, but it isn’t the most savvy way to create a successful marketing plan. There is a way, however, to extend the reach of your advertising efforts and increase the potential for your campaign to go viral. Hire bloggers.
Here’s what you can expect when you work with Bloggers:
When you hire Influencers to create content for you as part of a marketing campaign, you can absolutely request that their material is positive. Bloggers know that a sponsored post is very different than a review. An unpaid review is their honest account of their experience with a product. The goal of a sponsored post is to highlight how great a product is, and to show how it fits into their lives. You don’t have to worry about the Blogger’s audience questioning their true feelings towards a product that they’re getting paid to write about, though. Most Bloggers will only accept an assignment if it truly fits their lifestyle and beliefs.
When a brand purchases an ad in a magazine, it sits on a page. A consumer can discover it when they are browsing through and reading it. Once they flip through, finish the magazine, and recycle it, that’s it for the ad. When a blogger creates a piece of content around a product, whether a recipe, a craft, or a tip for living better, that content lives forever on the internet. When someone types “chocolate caramel cake recipe” into a search engine, and a post pops up that is created by a blogger who used your chocolate caramel candy, that’s the type of long lasting effect you can expect for every blogger that you hire!
Here’s what you should not expect when you work with bloggers:
There are a lot of factors that go into helping an item sell. The price, the placement of the product in stores, the availability of the product, customer service, the time of year, etc. bloggers create content that help bring awareness to a product, but it isn’t their job to sell. You may not see a lift in sales immediately after a blogger posts, and you shouldn’t expect it. What you can expect, however, is that the blogger is helping to plant the seed of interest in their audience. Watering that seed and helping it to grow into a sale is up to you.
Brandi Jeter Riley is Sr. Manager, Community Relations at Collective Bias. She is passionate about community, and loves encouraging women to tell their stories online. In addition to that, she blogs at Mama Knows It All, and leads Blogger Education for the multicultural content creator group, Pushing Lovely. Brandi is a newlywed, and mama of an incredibly adorable 4 year old daughter.