It has been close to two decades since the web log’s humble beginnings in 1997. Now, from The Huffington Post’s insightful business advice to Perez Hilton’s latest revelations of celebrity shenanigans, blogs have woven their way on to everyone’s daily reading lists, and are now seen as very effective platforms for influencing consumers, particularly the Millennials.
Bloggers today are viewed as opinion leaders who represent a new era of knowledge and advice, shedding light on what they know best, be it health, fashion, food, politics, or travel. And they entertain while doing so.
So where do bloggers fit into your business equation? As the lines between old and new media become blurred, bloggers have become the virtual advertising billboard of our day and act as gateways to introducing your services and products to a highly-targeted readership.
Some may think that blogging has run its course, but the numbers prove otherwise, and the percentage of readers and consumers of blogs look to be growing even bigger.
According to Ingnite Spot, 77 per cent of Internet users read blogs, while 81 per cent of US consumers trust advice and information from blogs.
One of the reasons for repeated visits to the best blogs lies in the unique voice of blogs – they are interesting, recognisable and they entertain, and the best ones make sure that voice rings true across its content, be it Nike or Barack Obama. These voices are heard by loyal followers who read the content regularly.
A survey revealed that 85 per cent of consumers research and read online reviews for local businesses, and more than 60 per cent of online purchases were made based on a blog post, according to Ignite Spot.
Loyal readers, or followers, which can be in the five or six digit range, develop a high regard for their content and opinion, and will share posts with their own audiences on social platforms. Blogs sometimes even reach full circle and get coverage in traditional media too.
Many blogs set themselves apart from traditional media by providing an ‘insider’s view’ into the story, relaying the experience through a participant’s lens. At a fancy black tie whiskey event, for instance, you might find news journalists stepping back and reporting on the hard facts – product details, visitor turnout, snippets of the CEO’s speech – as is expected of them, but bloggers have free rein to immerse themselves in the experience, writing about the glamourous celebrities, the stinging taste of the single malt whiskey, mouth-watering canapé, drab decoration, you name it. They offer something more personal and opinionated – despite being biased in some instances – that fulfills the need of many readers who wished they were present at the event.
Blogs thrive today, so much that blogging has become a full time job for some – and a lucrative one at that. Just take a look at BryanBoy, a fashion blogger from Philippines who has a Marc Jacobs bag named after him, or Xia Xue, a lifestyle blogger who underwent plastic surgery sponsored by Singapore broadcast company, MediaCorp.
These larger-than-life cyber moguls started on the same footing as many of us.
Despite the obvious success of their writers and owners, the power of blogs is still underestimated, or misunderstood. There are so many to choose from and it can get quite daunting for one who isn’t familiar with the blogosphere. Where do you start? Who is appropriate to represent your brand? How do you connect with them?
Finding a suitable blogger who aligns with your brand is more manageable than it seems, and all it takes is staying abreast of the different social media platforms and blog content, and ultimately establishing relationships with bloggers, some of whom might be influential personalities.
For help on finding the best bloggers for your brand, get in touch with us at [email protected].
Rosie the Blogger. image by Mike Licht is licensed under CC BY 2.0.