WHY DOES YOUR BRAND NEED BLOGGERS AND INFLUENCERS?
One of the most difficult challenges in getting your products in front of customers has traditionally been solved by advertising. The modern strategy of spending money to place your product on social media or Google is something that you’re probably more than familiar with.
However, there’s another strategy in the realm of marketing that continues to grow. It goes by several names: referral marketing, performance marketing, and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is when you offer to pay a commission to anyone that refers a paying customer to your store.
In simple terms, think of affiliate marketing as an important introduction that is being made possible by a 3rd party affiliate, or in other words, an influencer. These introductions can come in a multitude of forms, such as a YouTube personality demoing a product, an Instagram influencer mentioning a product in a post, or a blogger including a recommendation or review within an article. Don’t be confused by the terms ‘affiliate’ and ‘influencer’, they’re often interchangeable.
Affiliate marketing with bloggers
Bloggers are perfect for facilitating these kinds of introductions. Not only do they have a dedicated audience who read and engage with them, but they also create evergreen content that can garner new visitors for years to come.
But introductions are just half the key to success. Your brand’s reputation is crucial as well. This affects customer relationships, engagement, organic rankings, and credibility. A way of improving your brand reputation is to make your brand well-known, and bloggers are a great avenue to do this.
With this respect comes a trust of opinion and an ability to influence thousands, if not millions, of a blogger’s dedicated followers. Harnessing the favour of bloggers will help you build an audience of your own. Take Say Yes blogger, Liz Stanley for example. Her blog, authored by her and a team of contributors, inspires readers on DIY crafts, lifestyle tips, and other family topics, while introducing products to their audience.
When you align your brand with an influential blogger, they bring along with it their audience as well as their audience’s network. They help drive traffic to your website, increase your following on social media and can sell out a product through a review, recommendation, or story of their experience. With the decline of traditional advertising, affiliate and influencer marketing can be a highly successful and effective way to invest your budget. There’s also little financial risk at stack with this; you only pay a commission when an affiliate refers a visitor that purchases your product.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A BLOGGER?
Over 4.4 million blog posts are published every day so it can be a little daunting knowing where to begin. With quantities like this, it’s important to know how to qualify a blogger that fits your brand. Keep these 3 things in mind when evaluating a blog:
Voice and tone
This influencer will be introducing your brand for the first time to their audience. Make sure their publication represents the values that resonate with your brand.
Quality over quantity
The blog should demonstrate expert knowledge of the subjects being written about. A good litmus test is to make sure their articles have depth, are easy to read, and tell an interesting story.
The last person you want to get involved with is someone who isn’t professional. Make sure you ask what other brands they’ve worked with, how many page views they receive a month. Check their domain authority (higher the better), audience demographics, and posting frequency. Finally, take a peek at their social media accounts to see how engaged their followers are.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND SUITABLE BLOGGERS?
Before you begin your search, create a spreadsheet so you can record all the essential details you need going forward. This should include name, domain, social profiles and contact details.
There are essentially two types of blogs. Some are written by a single influencer in the first-person perspective , while others are more like publications that may have several contributing writers . These publications might have their own identity aside from the person(s) who own and operate them.
Before you start searching for blogs you could work with, let’s discuss the best placement for your product on specific posts.
In the qualifications section above, we discussed what to look for in a blogger. However, we didn’t touch on how people will discover your product on a blogger’s post. This is very important as an influencer can have thousands of followers, but if they don’t set you up for success, then this can fail.
Spotting which posts will give your product the most exposure
You must think about how a person will find your product when promoted by a blogger. There are two ways this can happen: Google search or social media.
When qualifying bloggers, it’s imperative to figure out where most of their traffic comes from. Successful blogs have most of their traffic generated by a small handful of articles. While social media will generate some views, you want to focus on the kind of evergreen content that will remain high in Google search results for a long period of time.
With that in mind, here is a great method for finding specific posts that might be the right fit. It involves finding pre-existing, high-ranking content in Google that’s relevant to your product. From there, you can contact the blogger, offer an attractive commission , and ask them if there’s room on the specific article for your product.
Sounds easy enough, but how do you find those kinds of posts?
Start off by visiting the free tool, Ubersuggest . This will allow you to uncover search phrases that you can then search on Google to discover these high-ranking articles. Type in a keyword into Ubersuggest that’s relevant to your products. You’ll soon be greeted with a list of keyword ideas. Start plugging those keywords into Google and checking the results. Here’s an example:
Let’s say I sell a special dog toy that is indestructible. I head over to Ubersuggest and type in ‘dog toy’ and press enter.
Next, I scroll down to the section ‘Keyword Ideas’. I notice the phrase ‘dog toy indestructible’. That seems fairly relevant to the audience I’m trying to reach. We can even see that the VOL (volume of monthly searches) is over 14k — great! Finally, I head to Google and do a search for ‘dog toy indestructible’.
The very first result looks like a winner from smartdogstuff.com . I definitely want to list this site on my spreadsheet and plan to qualify them a little more once I Google other keywords.
This method above should almost certainly lead you to some blogs that would make a great affiliate for your brand.
Another method is to simply visit your favorite social media platforms and start searching for the keywords you’ve uncovered using Ubersuggest. This will help you stumble upon relevant hashtags and super-engaged posts.
Finding contact information is sometimes difficult. For instance, you might find a blogger or influencer’s direct email address, but many prefer to go through a management agency.
Most reputable bloggers will have a form on their site that will allow you to contact them, but if you can’t find that info and have had no luck with a response from their social media accounts, try visiting their privacy page and searching for ‘via’ or ‘@’. This should reveal an email address.
A good goal to aim for is to try to get around 20 blogs on your list before contacting them.
HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH BLOGGERS?
Start with an informal introduction. Be direct in your communication. Don’t skirt around your intentions, e.g. if you want the blogger to write a review of your products, tell them.
Be sure to do your homework. A lot of bloggers have information on their profiles/websites about the kinds of collaborations they’ll be interested in. By reading those firstly, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, and ensure your request falls within their guidelines.
When contacting a blogger, be sure to...
Introduce yourself and your brand.
Tell them why you’re reaching out and the offer you’re willing to give them.
Be specific — maybe call out a particular post on their blog that you think could be a good fit for your product.
Always be personal with the tone of your email. Focus your communication on each individual blogger. Nobody likes to receive a generic email that’s been sent to the masses. Express what you like about the blogger and why you’d like to work with them.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. Try to come up with an exciting angle to encourage blogger involvement. This could be something like a promotional discount, a giveaway for their readers, an appealing product review, or a how-to guide.
KNOW THE RULES AND REGULATIONS
There are legal requirements when it comes to sponsored and paid-for content on blogs and social media. So, do your research on the dos and don’ts.
If there is an exchange of money or high-value products between you and the blogger, their post will most likely need to feature a line or hashtag marking it as sponsored content. If there is an exchange of low-value products, the post will likely contain a line to say that the blogger received goods in exchange for the content. This is essential for transparency with their audience, and ensures trust is kept by disclosing such details.
Another thing to remember is when you ask a blogger to feature your product, you won’t necessarily get to control the editorial content of the post. So keep in mind that you might not get to dictate everything.
Examples of sponsored content
Unfortunately, not every blogger will want to work with you, and that’s OK. However, the ones that are up for it could bring significant value to your brand.
Don’t consider blogger outreach as an inexpensive marketing alternative. Instead, your relationship with influencers should be regarded as professional collaborations. Be sure to invest in these relationships and over time your audience will grow accordingly. Finally, make sure you’re using reputable affiliate marketing software such as Refersion to track your bloggers and their referrals to your site.