It is human nature to trust recommendations from those who they find credible.
When I plan a journey, I often reach out to my friends who have previously been to the place, for recommendations on places to stay, food and transport etc. The same holds good before I make a new purchase.
Probably that is the reason why it doesn’t come as a surprise to me when a research from Nielson indicates
92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people — even someone they don’t know — over content created by a brand.
Perhaps in the same way, when people share their experiences, opinions and ideas online through blogs, those become effective source of recommendation.
No wonder, blogs are fast emerging as a potent platform for promoting brands!
Like a good trailer gives an idea about a movie and creates an interest for the movie in the mind of the viewer, a good blog post can evoke the reader’s interest for a brand. A blog need not delve into the detailed specifications. However, it should emphasize on the utility, and/ or highlight the desirability of the brand, while the details can find their way to the product brochures.
What differentiates blogs from traditional media is the cost effective manner in which quality content can be promoted for brands through blogs, with the increasing social outreach.
As bloggers generally are a part of one or more blogging communities they nurture relationship with their readers, hence blogs are sometimes more effective in driving readers’ engagement with the content than traditional media.
Sponsored Advertisements, Adsense, Affiliate Marketing, and Giveaways have been widely prevalent forms of advertising online. But besides these, there are other ways too in which brands promote content on blogs.
Here are 3 ways in which brands engage with blogs to promote their content:
Through Sponsored Posts, brands engage with bloggers to write and publish content. Here the blogger researches on the brand and writes the article in his/ her own voice and style, and also provides 1 or 2 links to the post.
Sponsored Posts can be written in the different styles such as:
Creative writing – A blog integrates a brand as a part of a story or a creative narration. Here the brand is used as an important prop to aid the flow of the story. Such creative writing can be part of a campaign or a sponsored post. You could see an example here and here.
Brand Story – It is the story of the brand narrated to the reader in a way that brings out how the vision and the inspiration behind the brand, a bit of its history, what the brand stands for and how we relate to it. This helps in reinforcing the relationship of the readers with the brand by highlighting the distinctive features of the brand and by reminding the readers of the core things that the brand stands for. Check out examples here.
Experiential – A post where the blogger narrates his experience of traveling to a place or of using a product or, or gives his/ her opinion of a product or a service in form of a product or service review stating the favorable as well as the not -so favorable experiences.
Factual – A post in which a blogger researches on facts and explains the use of a product or how it solves a particular problem. Now that corporate social responsibility is a mandatory activity for businesses in India, an integration of the CSR strategy with the brand’s marketing strategy is desirable as it helps to create a positive image of the brands by creating awareness about how a brand is engaging with a community for its CSR activity. Posts on such initiatives can be seen here and here.
Besides sponsored posts, contest are a great means that help in generating buzz around the brand and is hence used by brands use to promote content through bloggers. Contests are generally organized through the blogger platforms (such as Indiblogger, Blogadda, Blogmint being some of the platforms in India) who invite influencers to participate in a competition.
➡ Contests can be creative and can have any of the formats mentioned above.
The winners are given a handsome prize, or travel with expenses paid, or invite to exclusive events etc. Contests with some minimum assured prizes are the best way to get more and more bloggers to participate in a contest.
For start-ups or brands that want to contain the cost for promoting, the best way to do so is to write a guest post or publish an article on a blog that has posts related to the field of the business. The blogger may want to see the content and edit the post before publishing. As in the case of sponsored posts, through the guest post the brand benefits through exposure to the blogger’s network.
Lastly, it pays to remember that promotion of brands is not a one-time activity, but needs to be done on a recurring basis, to keep the brand on top of the user’s mind, be it through advertising on media or through blogging. To that extent, developing a working relationship with some bloggers is an option that some brands find worth considering.
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