The small business owner's guide to harnessing the power of bloggers

Larissa Ham

Are you a small business with a great story to share? If the answer is ‘yes’, but you haven’t yet considered the potential influence of bloggers, you might want to think again.

Last year on WordPress alone, 18 million blogs were created worldwide.

But how do you wade through the sea of bloggers to find the right one – and convince them to write about your business?

Christina Butcher, the full-time blogger behind sites including Hair Romance and Mr and Mrs Romance, says first, consider what you stand for.

“Once you know your brand it’s easy to work out which blogger will align with your brand.”

Spend some time getting a feel for various sites.

“Someone might have a huge following but if they’re a different fit for your brand, it’s not going to make a successful partnership,” says Butcher.

From there you could suggest editorial content, sponsored posts or mentions on Facebook or Instagram, along with various other partnership arrangements.

Some bloggers will spell out the options on a ‘work with me’ page, but for those who don’t, it’s worth asking how they like to do things, says Butcher.

Someone might have a huge following but if they’re a different fit for your brand, it’s not going to make a successful partnership.

Don’t fall at the first hurdle by forgetting to include the blogger’s name in your introductory email.

Likewise, press releases aren’t usually a winner. “Bloggers aren’t a news service, they tell stories,” says Butcher.

“When you’re approaching a blogger, really emphasise the story of your brand.”

You could also offer giveaway prizes in return for a write-up, or invite bloggers to try your product.

A sponsored post can cost anywhere from $250 to thousands of dollars, for example in the case where a blogger creates a recipe with your product, and has it beautifully written up and photographed.

“Not only do you get access to that audience, but you also get unique content created for you,” says Butcher, who says longer campaigns are most effective.

Marketing Angels’ Michelle Gamble believes bloggers hold huge sway over buying decisions.

The best approach for your business depends on what you’re selling, and the blogger’s advertising philosophy, she says.

In the fashion industry, for example, being featured on the bloggers’ Instagram feed may be the most effective route.

Offering up a free, high quality guest is also a good bet, and won’t cost anything if you stick to blogger guidelines, says Gamble.

Another approach is inviting bloggers to an event. For example, a restaurateur might invite a select few to an exclusive blogger’s lunch.

Larissa Ham

Larissa Ham is a Melbourne-based freelancer. She write for publications including The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The New Daily and Forge magazine, and also shares money saving tips at Hey, Little Spender!

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