Over the last few years, we have seen the influence and power of blogs grow and grow. Some have become huge media properties in their own right such as
I believe that this will continue as a trend – and blogs will play a bigger role moving forward. I see at least 4 key reasons why this will be the case:
# 1. Independent view
Blogs can, and are able to, position themselves as providing more independent, less biased and in-depth sources of advice, information or guidance than many company, brand sites or media organisations with vested business objectives or interests. Blogs that have passion, expertise, understanding and ensures they stay independent of opinion will become very important, and increasingly sought after. They will especially be powerful as experts for key niches and topics.
Related: Business Blogs! What, When, Where, Why And How?
# 2. Expertise from a user mindset
Bloggers that stick at it, are usually people with a real passion and deep expertise on the topic they write about. I have found they are almost always a better source of advice and help than many of the formal company sites when looking for solution to a problem, or tips and advice. This is also often as they will look at the topic from a user of product or service angle, rather than a provider mindset.
# 3. Depth of expert content in one place
Mainstream and crowd sourced “user generated content” sites like TripAdvisor (in my view) are becoming less credible and trusted. As these sites have become more mainstream they are attracting reviewers who tend to have more of an agenda. They tend to only engage and comment when they want to vent frustrations or overly rave. The content tends to be short and less substantive than when more “experts” engaged.
Interestingly, and significantly, the blogs I mentioned at the top of this article are actually where expert bloggers come together in one place to post ideas on a topic. They are proving better than more free for all user generated sites. Tweakyourbiz.com is another example!
Related: Blogging Is Dead
# 4. Bloggers are getting more organized.
In addition to the formal joint blog platforms, bloggers are creating their own communities and forums to share, discuss and learn. For example:
- Travel Bloggers have formed groups like Travel Massive that holds meetings across the world
- Beauty bloggers in the UK now come together through the TOWIB meetings and on MeetUp there are many specialist blogger groups forming.
What is also interesting is that they also start to promote and build the blogs that these peer groups feel are strong and complimemtary to each other. They build rankings based not only on usage data, MozRankings and so on but also on more qualitative assements of quality and content. These become a great opportunity for PR and Brand owners to connect in more efficient and effective ways
The challenge for companies is that they:
- Need to accept they need to tap into bloggers more, as they can provide a rich source of advice, insights and recommendation for their businesses.
- Work out how to tap into and work with these diverse groups. They are more time intensive and challenging as, unlike traditional media or PR, they are harder to contact, need more personal contact and convincing.
Working with bloggers is not as easy as other marketing communication approaches, and many do it badly as they try and engage with bloggers like they would with magazine journalists or PR people. There are a number of articles with tips worth reviewing:
- Marketing Unleashed: 7 Tips when engaging with bloggers
- My Blogging Journey: What can Travel Bloggers and PRs learn from each other
- Mashable: 5 Tips for connecting with top influencers
- BlueGrass: Mastering Blogger Outreach: 35 Tips and Tools to help you find the right contact
- SEOMOZ: 8 Tips for Blogger Outreach
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