It’s no secret that the modern consumer enters the digital and purchasing realm blind to ads and self-promotional companies. As we notice a lack of billboards and a continuous decrease in the effectiveness of outbound tactics, the professions that bleed even slightly into the marketing realm have done a great job of keeping up. This is achieved through SEO tactics, content marketing, digitalized PR, and most of all—utilizing the power of a word of mouth recommendation.
No one wants to hear about a brand from the brand itself. Though consumers are dying for information about your brand, they are seeing it through word of mouth recommendations from a third-party that they trust. Whether it’s their family members, an online review, a tweet or a blog post—consumers are scouring both the digital and non-digital world to learn about your brand.
Thus, in the past few years, we’ve seen a huge influx of brands working with “real people” for “real information” and reviews of their brand. Remember just a decade ago when companies could hire a celebrity to endorse a brand? Things have certainly changed. And for the best.
One of the strongest strategies in any segment of marketing is to reach out to a handful of people who will write or speak about a brand or campaign to their large networks. In the past few years, bloggers, social media users, and other types of digital creatives have inserted themselves between your brand and all of your consumers as a middle man, so to speak.
The past few years have shown a flurry of reaching out to individual people to spread the word about your brand. And it’s been called many names: Blogger outreach, onfluencer marketing, word of mouth marketing. The gist is all the same. A third-party says cool things about you to their network who trusts them.
But, since marketing and SEO and PR are all very progressive in nature, this solid trend of reaching out to a third-party is slowly morphing into something different. We’re starting to see campaigns target a tribe or a group of influencers at one time instead of individual bloggers or social media users. And this trend, I believe, is about to dominate influencer marketing for larger brands and campaigns with a budget.
Targeting Blogger Networks
As blogger databases have been a popular and effective tool to reach influential bloggers, this tactic remains strong and a lot of the kinks have been ironed out. Just google around for articles about blogger outreach, there are tons that can walk you through this process. You know what that means? It’s time for a change. It’s time to take this tactic a little further and maximize the way we work with bloggers. Thus, the growing popularity of the amount of blogger networks out there and the number of marketers using them.
You can google around for a blogger network in any niche. This tactic is generally customizable depending on how large the campaign is or how many bloggers you work with. This allows you to test the waters in terms of whether or not it’s a tactic you want to use on an ongoing basis. In fact, there are so many networks that if you choose to take this approach you won’t have any trouble finding one that fits well with your brand.
When you work with a blogger network, it’s usually up to you as far as which type of tactic you choose. You can choose to use banner ads, produce review posts, sponsored posts or product giveaways.
The fact that networks tend to be focused on granular topics and very specific genres has made them successful. When using a good network, you’re not blindly working with bloggers who have a far reach and want to take your post payment, you’re working with bloggers who’ve proven themselves reliable and fit in well with the target audience that you’re looking for your campaign. After all, the gist of what you’re trying to do is find that handful of influential writers who will talk to their huge networks.
Here are examples of blogger networks that you may come across for your campaigns (But remember, there are several):
BlogHer dominates the world of women bloggers and has a big focus on fashion, parenting, food and lifestyle bloggers and claims a reach of 92 million people—primarily women. Not to mention BlogHer has done a great job with their research and content marketing strategies positioning themselves as an authority on working with bloggers. Check out this research they did which has been quoted in a plethora of posts about blogger outreach. Most notably:
- 81% of the online U.S. population trusts the information and advice they get from bloggers.
- 61% of the U.S. online population has made a purchase based on a recommendation from bloggers.
- 41% of the U.S. online population says that blogs are better than Facebook to find out about new products.
Through content and ads, Federated Media has many plans for marketers to work with many publishers in one campaign. They’ve worked with big brands such as Ford, Smart Water, Kraft, and Levis.
City Mom Blogs Network
If you want to work with parenting bloggers or “mommy bloggers”, there are tons of mom blogger networks out there so I won’t list these. However, to find mom bloggers for a localized campaign, City Mom Blogs Network seems to be the “go-to” network.
I’m putting Triberr outside of the blogger network category because they are doing marketing and outreach in a new and innovative way, and I think they are a tactic and company to watch closely. Not to mention they include all other social channels and they really stick to the “tribe” type concept. Triberr is rather new and if you look for reviews and opinions on its effectiveness, you will see a variety of opinions.
However, they’ve run some successful campaigns with some big brands. TOM’s Shoes and Cottonelle are the most widely written about and both brands saw successful results with Triberr’s approach.