Blogger Outreach Program : Overused or Underused?

 

Blogs have become increasingly popular since the late 90s, and today, many of us use them as a very effective communication interface. So what is a blog exactly? For those of you who don’t know already, it is a portal where personal journals, opinionated content or accumulated news is published on the internet by individuals, companies or brands at regular time intervals.

Individuals usually create blogs to write about their interests. They post articles with their opinions, news and/or significant information frequently. For example, here’s my food blog where I review restaurants in Mumbai.

Brands should use blogs too. Nowadays, many organizations and multinational companies use blogs to communicate with their audience and other people in the same industry by sharing their recent achievements, announcements about new products/services or news and significant information. Companies also maintain a blog to build their brand reputation gradually, gather essential feedback and break through the clutter online to interact with customers effortlessly on a public portal. 

Here are a few brands which use the power of blogging effectively.

Now, let’s come to the most important point of this article – Blogger Outreach Programs. The objective of this program is to look for bloggers with similar interests (or blogs) and get them to engage with a particular brand and its products or services. Engaging could include having them review a new product on their blogs, or gather them at a specific place to acquire significant feedback.

Why should bloggers waste their time, you ask? Such blog-focused campaigns usually involve free takeaways or a huge gratification up for grabs to encourage maximum participation amongst bloggers. Adding a social media component (a Twitter mention or a Facebook wall post) and combining it with a contest can also catapult the effectiveness of a blogger outreach program.

Blog agencies manage such outreach programs and maintain relationships with bloggers across the nation to help brands achieve maximum exposure online. To know whether blogger outreach programs are overused or underused in India, we spoke to Hariharakrishnan from BlogAdda.com and here’s what he had to say.

Why should brands opt for blogger outreach program?

“Bloggers are very powerful influencers and are a very strong and well knit community. Hence, blogger outreach programs can benefit brands at increasing their visibility tremendously.”

Do bloggers get overwhelmed over a period of time? 

“I don’t think such a situation should arise if they are gratified and taken care of in a good way. After all they are no different from humans.”

How can brands make sure that bloggers don’t get bored or feel like being used?

“Brands need to innovate and create exciting platforms where the bloggers will engage and participate actively.”

Who can/should opt for a blogger outreach program?

“Any brand/company looking for visibility, opinions and effective feedback should definitely opt for a blogger outreach program.”

Now, the most important question, is blogger outreach program overused or underused in India?

Blogger Outreach programs are underused in India till now, especially the way they are outreached and gratified. We have got to realize that bloggers are powerful influencers and should not be treated like mere puppets by the brands. As the internet penetration increases, the community grows along with the opportunities. We, at BlogAdda, believe in providing optimum value to the bloggers and have many initiatives designed for the same.

We also spoke to the Indiblogger.in Team and here’s what they said.

Why should brands opt for blogger outreach program?

“Today, although the most recalled brands in India have social media presence on Facebook, they would still be classified as owned media. What brands are now moving towards is earned media, of which blogging forms a major part. Having brand ambassadors who talk about you, and spread effective word of mouth is most critical, since it has the highest trust and credibility in the online space. The SEO and the positive influence that blog posts can offer cannot be matched by social platforms. 

The recent Dove campaign for the newly-launched Nourishing Oil Care range saw the blogger engagement kick off with ‘Dove Says Hello’, where every IndiBlogger got a hamper delivered right at their doorsteps. The overall campaign had more than 200 product experiences shared in the form of blogs and hundreds of tweets during the meet, and later, pictures were shared across all social networks by bloggers.”

Do bloggers get overwhelmed over a period of time?

“We run differently positioned campaigns through the year; and there is a different audience for every product and campaign. There are over 27000 bloggers on IndiBlogger and the brands we work with fall in various sectors. It’s a good mix for bloggers as well to churn out varied, interesting content like travelogues, women’s issues, food, fashion, technology and a lot more.” 

How can brands make sure that bloggers don’t get bored or feel like being used?

“Bloggers are the top online socialites because of their various technical skills. They use this medium to express their views, opinions and thoughts on anything that they find important to them or of value to their readers. All the activities are based on engagement, and bloggers can participate on their own accord.

Contests and blogger meets are a platform for bloggers to showcase their talent and blogging skills. The activities at the meet are engaging and allow bloggers to know the brand better, not through run-of-the-mill presentations, but in a fun way that bloggers can identify with. This is unlike approaches where press releases are sent to bloggers for reviews; some of them very blatantly asking for positive mentions.” 

As a blogger myself, I feel blogger outreach programs are underused and can be managed in a better way. These programs are restricted to only building a massive database of bloggers and not using them efficiently. I think focus should solely lie in connecting with bloggers effectively and creating campaigns which gradually convert prospects into customers, and build stronger relationships with the brands.

I think blog agencies concentrate more on knowing more bloggers than letting them know what opportunities exist for them- it’s about numbers. I think the key challenge here is to not only discover which bloggers have the most readers, but to find bloggers with the maximum influence in a particular field. No point focusing your efforts on bloggers without thorough research and planning, right?

Over to you!

Image courtesy jmoneyyyyyy and Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

 

 
It's very difficult to fit Adarsh into a category, mainly because, as his self-proclaimed title states, he is The Big Bhookad. A Bachelor of Mass Media Graduate (BMM) from Jai Hind College in Mumbai, he currently works as a manager (Creative) at one of the biggest digital agencies in India and his responsibilities there include conceptualizing promotional content and campaigns for several leading brands of the country. He is always online, especially at ungodly hours, so don't hesitate to give him some for thought... or just food would be great too!
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