Despite the explosion in social network usage over the past few years, blogs still wield incredible influence over consumers. And brands want in.
Recent findings contained in Technorati Media’s 2013 Digital Influence Report shed some insight into how the seemingly magical world of digital influence works. Some of the results may sound surprisingly old-school:
- Blogs are the third-most likely online channel to influence purchase (after retail sites and brand sites)
- Nearly 1 in 3 people say blogs are likely to influence a purchase (inching out Facebook and handily beating LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter)
- Among the 18-34 age demographic, the above ratio increases to 2 out of 3 people. (Note: This stat was from a Burst Media report released in June of 2012 but I thought it was worth sharing)
- Blogs are the third most shared-from source online (after Facebook and YouTube).
Sure, when it comes to wielding influence social networks work, but blogs are the workhorse. And when it comes to breaking into the blogosphere or, more directly, getting bloggers to write about and engage with them, brands seem to be on one side of a canyon asking bloggers to jump on over instead of building a bridge.
Extreme, sure, but in a lot of cases true.
Consider this: 65% of brands participate in influencer marketing, or, active, direct outreach to bloggers. This typically consists of making “asks” of the blogger, things like:
- Do you want to take a first look at my product?
- Do you want to give my product away to your audience?
- Can I pay you to create custom content on your blog for my brand?
- Will you take part in my focus group?
- Will you participate in my promotion?
And sometimes it’s wildly successful. Sometimes. But a lot of the time, the relationship ends before the first date. And bloggers get frustrated:
- 68% of influencers say they’re frustrated by brands who have an expectation that their time is free
- 33% of influencers say they’re burnt by excessive back and forth with the brand
- 30% of influencers say brand requests lack relevance to their audience.
Too many brands don’t respect their time, can be difficult to work with, and a lot of times, are totally off-base with their outreach.
So what’s the simple answer?
Well, there isn’t one. You see, the path to influencing bloggers is a tough one to pave. It takes hard work, determination, patience and plenty of time.
It means providing value to a community and engaging with people on a human, one-on-one level. To resonate with influencers, you have to provide something that they find valuable: like quality content. And you have to provide it in places they’re looking for it: search engines, social media and, of course, other blogs.
In other words, the path to engaging influencers takes a lot of the same things that it takes to build a successful blog on your own. There is no overnight path to influence. It’s hard-earned.
It’s more grindstone and less glamour. It’s not an easy answer, it’s a hard one. It’s the road less traveled, but it’s the road that leads to meaningful, long-term success.
Why might blogging be the answer for brands looking to build better relationships with influencers? Consider this final stat from the Technorati report: The number 1 source of influence on influencers is other blogs.
Brands: Stop begging. Start blogging.