Blogger advocacy is the new celebrity endorsement. According to The Drum, 8 out of 10 industry professionals now prefer to work with bloggers and YouTubers over celebrities. It seems that these days, encouraging a well targeted blogger to support and engage with a product or service is worth far more than an endorsement from the latest prime-time talent show winner.
But why is this? In short, bloggers’ followers tend to be highly engaged and therefore more influenced by a call to action – they trust the author’s judgement. They shop through affiliate links, and are receptive to the “full disclosure” that the Office of Fair Trading now requires by law. Celebrities have dedicated fans, but as Marketing Charts point out, despite their loyalty, they don’t necessarily believe everything a celebrity chooses to endorse – celebrity campaigns garner less trust than any other type of brand promotion. Online influencers and celebrities are quite simply, in totally different leagues from each other.
Why it works
In SEO terms, working with a blogger provides exceptional opportunities for link building, without the outdated spam tactics. High authority blogger sites with solid content earn higher rankings, and a link between the blogger’s site and your brand’s site will hopefully pull in newer audiences, and encourage a long-term fan base. Furthermore, the way consumers shop online is changing, and browsers are increasingly converting positive reviews into sales. This shows that having first hand, trustworthy blogger experience of a product or service is just as, if not more effective as a #spon tweet from a celebrity or sidebar stalker ad.
Working with bloggers (or vloggers) also increases a brand’s opportunity to build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Bloggers create ongoing, storytelling content which allows brands to tap into a blogger’s need for sequential stories to share with their followers. Whilst a celebrity is likely to endorse a product once or twice after their cheque clears, bloggers tend to continue relationships. On one hand, they can rely on the steady income, and on the other – brands can make up a large proportion of their organic media. It’s mutually beneficial, too. Bloggers are shared across the brand’s social platforms, whilst brands get highly valuable link building, and traffic referring coverage.
Bloggers as friends
The blogging phenomenon is one that has snowballed in the last few years. From Deliciously Ella to Zoella, millennials are recognising themselves in these new-era icons. Most bloggers start on page-builder style sites, tapping away on a laptop from their bedroom to eventually build huge, money-making empires, based on anecdotal stories and amateur photography.
The “it could be me” feeling, a personal connection between blogger and follower, and the relatable, everyday lifestyle that bloggers portray are difficult to achieve in any other type of promotional communications, so it could be a good idea for your brand to build a reciprocal relationship with a blogger. Bloggers are very savvy, and are generally awash with companies trying to pull the wool over their eyes, so be wary of asking for a lot and not giving much in return!