Blogger Relations: A Side Step To Buy Buzz

07/30/2007

BBF Tim Jackson, Masiguy, commented on a recent Diva post - "Blogger Relations Strategies are HUGE."

I'd go so far as to say Blog_lgthat many brands will take their first dive (or second step after first listening we hope) into social media not by writing a traditional blog but with a side step passive strategy of BR .. blogger relations.

This quote from James Clifton, European Planning Director, Agency.com, reinforces my thoughts.- “We believe that it is important to look at the people driving social media and and work out how to engage them, rather than just jumping on the latest MySpace or YouTube bandwagon."

Sidebar: Last month Agency.com released findings from, Who Is Driving Social Media, an analysis of what they term influencers - "uploaders."The big strategic implication of the Uploaders study is clear – brands need to think of these digital influencers as a resource, not a target. - Dr. Paul Marsden.

That's an interesting concept. Agency.com doesn't say brands should build relationships and expand community with bloggers but instead suggests that bloggers should be positioned as a "resource." And what is a "target?" I've sent off an eMail to Marianne Stefanowicz, Assoc. Director, PR & Marketing Agency.com Worldwide asking for clarification.  Ms Stefanowicz was indicated as a contact on the release. Perhaps she'll drop a comment or respond back. If she does I'll let you know.

We've seen BR used to chat it up about cameras, computers, retail stores, TV shows.  Think about it .. BR provides many of the same benefits as does active participation in social spaces *. The risks associated with BR are different than an active participation strategy. For some organizations they may be easier to mitigate. Here are a few -

Blogger Relations Strategy Risks

  • No control of a blogger's posts or non posts - negative reviews are very possible
  • Not understanding the social media cultures - remember each village in the blogosphere and social networking sites have their own unique nuances and social media etiquette
  • Not paying attention to details - its the little things that will trip you up
  • Not including over riding benefits to the community as well as the blogger

Sidebar: *Active participation in social space: participation in the conversation: launching a blog or a YouTube video, joining a social networking site a la Facebook or Flickr, and what seems to be an extreme risk for brands -commenting on blogs. Let's take a look at some of the rationale why BR is gaining in acceptance.

Benefits of a Blogger Relations Program (Over Active Participation Social Space Tactics)

  • Viral buzz - easy linking and pass along .. the echo effect
  • Search engine key word lift - increased brand mentions from multiple blogs and longevity of website content
  • Influencer behavior - BBF*, who I trust likes, it so I'll give it a try
  • Less time commitment  - the agency does the work 
  • Less resource drain - no need to dedicate people to write posts and participate in the conversation
  • Less lawyer involvement - not involved in reviewing (or sanitizing) bloggers' posts
  • Limited IT involvement -  not involved in development or hosting of web pages

While a BRS may build a limited community, based on the program you develop, the downside is it's more likely you'll Not build community. Agency.com suggests that you invite "uploaders" to be brand advisors . Sounds like a vintage marketing strategy called a customer circle to me. Quess what's old is new again.

All well and good you may say, but how does it affect brand equity? Great question Diva and Divo. Glad you asked. Immediate Future, an agency in Great Britain, took a look at how the social media buzz of major brands compared to the Interbrand Top 100. The results may surprise you .. or not. Immediate Future has generously shared results, methodology and offers their conclusions.

Coke Flash! Although Coca Cola was ranked by Interbrand as The Number One Brand in 2006 my friends down the street don't show up in Immediate Future's Top Twenty-five Social Spaces Share of Voice. Google, with an Interbrand ranking of 24 is the #1 Brand when it comes to buzzz.

Share_of_voice_chart_social_space_2

Even with Coke's push into Second Life, YouTube and quasi consumer generated content it appears not many people wanted to be (part of) .. the Coke Side of Life. What does that mean?

The data from this study was collected in April 2007 and Coke's virtual coke machine strategy launched mid month. Perhaps the buzz will build and 2007 will bring Coke into the top 25.

Not sure what to make of this except another example that the game it is a changin!

Sidebar: There are talented people who can help you navigate this new industry. It only takes a nano second to become an expert .. not! For some reason there are too many people who after seconds on Facebook or a few blog posts position themselves as experts. Please, please, please if you do choose to work with someone to develop social space strategies .. check  credentials.

Diva Marketing Talks Blogger Relations
From Blogger Relations To Blogger Relations Programs
12 Blogger Relations Tips For PR, Advertising & Brand Marketers

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Comments

Hey Toby,

We seeded a relationship programme yesterday based on the concept of "It's not about commenting, it's about resolution. It's not about bloggers writing reviews, it's about influencers helping product development."

More on this soon. Will call you.

R

Posted by: Rajesh on Aug 11, 2007 4:22:52 AM

Rajesh - Congrats! Sounds like an great project. Needless to say, I love your concept. Keep me posted.

Posted by: Toby on Aug 11, 2007 12:35:48 PM

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