Don’t let the word “blogger” fool you. A blogger isn’t just someone who writes on a blog. They are writers. They are explorers. They are influencers. If you’re ever wondering what can a blogger do for you or your business, don’t underestimate their ability to collaborate and partner with you in a mutually beneficial way.
An influencer is, simply put, one who influences.
You know how you sit around at a party, a fellowship hall, a dinner, the checkout line, or waiting to pick up your kids from school and you hear people talking. You might even join in. Conversation frequently focuses on things people like or don’t like. Their feelings about something. Their experiences. The minute you start to listen, you’re being influenced, like it or not. You may say “That won’t change my opinion,” but the next time you go to buy coffee and you eye a certain brand, the comment of the woman who said that brand was bitter will worm its way into your brain. You were influenced, even if it didn’t change your opinion.
It happens everywhere. Turn on the radio or television and you’re being influenced by the advertising — which is the purpose. You go to your friend’s home and she’s wearing this gorgeous pair of shoes; she tells you they’re so comfortable, she walked in them all day. It’s like advertising on a small scale, but you still remember it.
If she put it on a blog, she’d be doing the same thing, just on a much bigger scale.
Hence, bloggers are influencers.
Bloggers can, in short, get the word out. In a matter of minutes, they can tell everyone how much they appreciated the speed of your company’s customer service or how awesome your cupcake designs are. They can tell everyone about this amazing book they just read or how much they love sleeping on their new mattress. Sure, it works both ways, they could share the bad, but why not harness this potential for a positive use by reaching out to them first?
Bloggers can be a form of advertising. They can shape a reputation. Grow brand awareness. Be a form of content marketing. You want all that for your business, right?
Keep in mind though that bloggers pay for their blog. If you pay for advertising elsewhere, be prepared to pay a blogger. That space isn’t free. Be respectful, treat them like the professionals they are, and if you can’t afford money, dig deeper because you realize you’re going to have to pay someone to do it, or at least be prepared to compensate with product. You can be sure they are more affordable than most other methods and you’ll have an actual face and name to work with.
A few blogger caveats to keep in mind. I won’t write a review on a product I’ve not personally tried, so if you ask me to do so, you’ll need to supply some product so my review is not fraudulent, as that’s a big no-no. Alternatively, you can pay me to write about the product and I’ll be clear I haven’t tried it but I’ll help you advertise, closely following FTC guidelines. Ethics and integrity matter to bloggers, so understand that their principles help you as much as them so don’t ask them to jeopardize their reputation or business, and remember that their blog is their business so it matters to them just as much as yours does to you. They work hard to maintain credibility, and when someone comes to their blog, the reader knows that if the blogger says that the coffee is fantastic, the coffee is fantastic. A big plus for you. Don’t demean them by expecting them to work for free and then treating them badly when they remind you that they, like you, want to get paid for their work.
Bloggers have big hearts. They will volunteer to help out a good cause or help a fledgling business or a friend get the word out. They’ll also share some information or resources for free because it’s a help to their readers. What they won’t do is give up time with their kids or valuable sleep at 2am to put up a free ad because you made them feel like they were doing something wrong by asking for remuneration. Bloggers are sharp, shrewd business people and again, this is to your benefit.
A blogger can help get your business on the map. They can develop local or distant relationships and help you put a face to the name. Bloggers know a lot of people and are involved in even bigger groups of other bloggers, so the reach is exponential. Positive praise will make its way around the internets. That can be invaluable.
Bloggers can also help you network. They can find people for you, run contests, get your product in the hands of other, and then turn you over to their contacts if it’s appropriate. They can also provide guidance, give you a feel for the vibe, and give you feedback you won’t find anywhere else.
Personally, I don’t identify myself as an ‘influencer.’ To say it somehow makes me feel pretentious, but it’s a known word in the industry and I don’t fault those who use it. I still say I have a blog or a website or I just share my social platform handles. Everyone handles it and identifies themself differently.
Bloggers are a wealth of knowledge and able to help. Take them up on it!