As the blogosphere universe keeps expanding every day, verified bloggers, influencers and other content publishers are the go-to group for brands seeking to amplify their online presence. With their well-established and highly focused follower groups, who closely emulate their idols’ choices, cooperating with bloggers might help hit it big for both the brand and the content publishers themselves. What is the character of such relations and what can you expect as a partner?
What makes blogs and vlogs so popular?
You can come across opinions on the internet that blogs are a thing of the past, and that the heart of the influencer culture is currently beating on Instagram and other social media channels, the fancy pictures and videos posted there being all the rage. That’s not entirely true. As a mater of fact, many successful category bloggers still operate solely from their website, supplementing it with additional content in the form of videos, for example. Of course, Instastories do generate speedy and effective publicity able to reach vast audiences, but that path might not always be the right one for our brand or product at a specific stage of its life cycle.
According to the statistics published by the Mobile Institute, over 56% of netizens read blogs, and 35% of that number admit to having purchased a product under the influence of a blogger’s reviews. Next, 32% out of the 56% decided against buying an item deemed below expectations by the blogger they follow. On top of that, 29% of respondents declared they perceive blogs as a reliable source of information.
Why do we drift away from regular entertainment portals in favour of blogs and vlogs? The answer is simple: blogs give us an access to content that can be easily personalised, that meets an array of our expectations and is tailored to our needs, interests and hobbies. The practical aspect of the knowledge we find there often makes blogs the first resort in issues requiring practical solutions on the spot.
The data published by Blog Media show an interesting overview of the blogosphere in Poland, together with, among others, blog types that ranked the highest in popularity domestically. For example:
- the most popular blog types in Poland are lifestyle and culinary art, both categories relishing ca. 15% market share;
- 84% of bloggers are women;
- advertising campaigns that were launched the most often include: sponsored blog posts (40,6%), banner ads (27,8%), and social media posts (27,1%);
- top blog types among women respondents are lifestyle, beauty, and personal. Men’s choices go along the categories of personal, lifestyle, with arts and culture coming in third.
The above is just a thin data silver from the findings. The whole report can be accessed through here.
How to get started with influencer marketing ?
There are two ways to begin your cooperation with a content publisher. Method one is contacting the influencer directly. Method two involves the middleman of a hired agency, expert at producer-publisher projects. The first approach works best when our target group has already been defined and profiled, and we have already selected the blogger who will channel our message to that specific audience in the most effective way. On the other hand, an agency will come in handy when we have minimum knowledge about the blogosphere and require consultation on marrying our product with the most successful exposure.
Influencer campaigns really work. One of the most widely discussed publicity stunts was run by the Daniel Wellington brand. What truly got the company into the limelight and sent their popularity through the roof was the decision to offer their brand watches to social media publishers. The watches were delivered not only to the large-scale movers and shakers out there, but also to the micro-bloggers. The concept and the watches themselves went absolutely viral. Right now, the @danielwellington Instagram profile garners 4.7 million followers. Traditional advertising strategies and costs have indeed become ancient history to DW.
Another example of a flourishing partnership between influencers and brands is #postępyRobię (#progressMaking) - a campaign which joined in one marketing effort a group of successful Polish motobloggers and the popular insurance provider – Ergo Hestia. The campaign promoted road safety, but its main marketing goal was showcasing an application with a safe driving manual. You can read more about the campaign here. Effects? The numbers speak for themselves: at the time of the campaign the users entered 21,600 interactions with the app. Submissions added in the app were ranked more than 750 times. Users logged on to ask viable questions and search for answers to their safety and driving concerns. Most importantly, zero negative reviews of the app was reported. These are merely two of the many examples of thriving influencer-brand cooperation. You can find more interesting case studies here.
The contract and type of cooperation
If we deicide to cooperate with an influencer, the next step is defining the scope of our blogger’s responsibilities and the commission times and rates. Starting with a contract from the get-go will protect us against any potential ambiguities and vagueness of spoken arrangements. Also, meeting contractual compliance on either side will basically be very well-regulated. It is essential that our contract contains all the provisions that have been agreed upon, e.g. how the cooperation will be handled financially, whether the influencer will receive compensation in cash, barter transaction, or perhaps the money issue will be dealt with otherwise.
What content is best promoted through an influencer?
We must remember that bloggers truly cherish their individuality and reputation. They rarely agree to publish ready-made pieces, padded up by the marketing experts of the affiliate brand. What we can expect in return for our investment, however, is cooperation based mainly on blogger’s reviews of our products and services. Bear in mind that those reviews might not always be 100% positive. If the influencer sees any defects in a product, they will usually not hesitate to point them out. It’s because ignoring product’s flaws might cost a blogger their good name and earn them the reputation of a “fakefluencer”, which might quickly mow them down as an online expert. That is the nature and cost of non-traditional advertising that we need to accept - if the quality of a product is way below the standards of a particular influencer, or if the product itself is defective, the blogger is sure to openly address their concerns with the producer. In the worst case scenario, they might even end the cooperation in order to maintain their credibility with their audience. disadvantage.
How to choose your influencer?
Obviously, knowing all the opinion shapers in the influencer business is impossible. That’s where the reports and statistic again come to our advantage. For example, “The most influential bloggers” annual ranking prepared by Jason Hunt lays out for us all the big names worth knowing in the industry. Check out the last year’s report directly on the author's website (http://jasonhunt.pl/ranking-najbardziej-wplywowych-blogerow-2018/).
First and foremost, blogging is a full-time job for many online personalities, with great time and effort invested on their side into developing their own personal brand. As one would expect a pay adequate to one’s specialised skills and quality of work delivered offline, a professional blogger’s pay also needs to be fair and just. But bloggers have learnt not to take this simple rule for granted. One infamous proposal found on Facebook’s affiliate deals page for bloggers was from a producer of shoe glue, whose suggested form of payment in exchange for the blogger promoting the producer’s brand was an adequately calculated number of tubes of his own product. That was a truly bad call. If you are serious and fair with your offer, some bloggers might even decide to opt for the barter transaction – you get a review and product exposure, and they get to keep the product. Some bloggers will prefer the money in hand, though. The form of payment is the influencer's decision to make, and our job is to negotiate a good deal.
The amount we will eventually pay depends on blogger’s cumulative reach and their popularity. The average, yet unofficial rate for 1000 unique visitors to a blog monthly is 1000 PLN. However, famous bloggers with a strong, well-established brand and a great wealth of followers will operate on an individually negotiated price list.
Our influencer is not just a face for hire
A blogger is not our poster child for just about any content. The respectable influencers will not endorse products which don’t go with their blog’s profile. They will bail out of a deal if reviewing a specific product might ruin their public image. The damage to their hard-earned reputation they’d have to sustain is simply not worth the money.
As you can see, cooperating with a blogger is not much different from cooperating with a company. In influencer marketing, it is also the advertiser and the publisher who negotiate the conditions of cooperation. The way our influencer communicates with us after the campaign is launched might be somewhat unique, but if all arrangements have been made and agreed upon in advance, we can enjoy smooth and effective cooperation.