The art and science of blogger relationships – research from Nexus and BritMums reveals blogger ins and outs
Along with ‘content’ and ‘integrated’, ‘influencers’ must be one of the most ubiquitous words used in marketing meetings every day – to such an extent that one would think brands and agencies have employed sufficient effort to work out how to work successfully with them.
But that assumption is way off the mark, as the latest tranche of research from Nexus with leading blogger organisation BritMums reveals less than 50% of brands are getting it right in their dealings with blogger-influencers, according to the influencers themselves
And this can be commercially critical for a business, when Technorati’s last digital influence report rated bloggers as the third biggest online source of influence on consumer buying decisions.
So why are so many brands losing out, and what can be done to build or rebuild smart bridges?
The missing links?
Respect. And understanding the benefits of mutual partnership, and what might be of value for the blogger and their own channels. Less ‘do this for me’ and more ‘let’s do this together’ is needed, including a simple focus on how anything they publish for you might be promoted across your channels for the benefit of their own growth too. 66% of bloggers find this lack of broader thinking the biggest frustration.
And this is further heightened by lack of research into and resonance between their blogs and the stories brands are trying to push their way. Too often the fit just isn’t there, and 49% of bloggers see this as far too regular (and therefore a wasted conversation), and 52% bemoan a lack of personal touch when things are first initiated.
The cornerstone of solid influencer relationships has to be conversation led – but before that, they need to be data analysed to make sure the conversation is the right one to have. At Nexus we use tools that assess not only reach, but more importantly resonance and relevance of a blogger’s community and storytelling focus to ensure the brand and content fit is right up front. Without this ‘science’, gut feel ‘art’ is too often misplaced on its own, and the relationships you need may not be delivered successfully.
Getting it right leads to cascade communications, whereby talking to the right few will flow down to reach more of the masses – but talk to the wrong few and the content (even if published) won’t live off their pages as being credible.
A question of trust?
There is no one, our research reveals, that a blogger trusts more than…another blogger. 84% of those we spoke claimed their peers are the biggest influence on their own work, so get it right with one and others in a similar space may well pick up the story you have seeded and run with it too. Assuming ‘content’ still ticks the criteria we refer to as being ‘useful’ or ‘generous’, as guides as to what will be successfully shared and spread around.
What they like as part of that content is real people stories (64%), and in big picture terms a good overall brand reputation (54%.) The value of independent experts as a trusted source come to the fore the more health and nutrition focused things are, where neither brands themselves (perhaps not a big surprise) nor official industry bodies or organisations come close to the power of a qualified expert with their own view on things.
What doesn’t deliver trust in this earned space is celebrity endorsement, with only 1.5% of our blogger interview base seeing this as credible in the food arena – pretty similar levels of authority to a C-Suite spokesperson….and both of these are important indicators that this is still an ‘earned’ space in mentality and editorial feel where the more genuine the story and messages are the better, even if you are contracting a blogger on a ‘paid’ for basis.
What do they want more of?
So if part one of the research focused on what is going wrong, and looked at who is credible in their eyes, part two looked at:
- What the trends on blogger-influencer agendas are this year – what topics do they really want to write more about?
- What they want more of from brands – in types of approach and content
- What they think brands should focus on in terms of messaging
- What product categories they are buying increasingly less of – and therefore perhaps which categories need to work hardest to engage with them (as early indicators of mass public behaviour)?
- What their views are on the growing free from category
- And what impact the sugar debate has had on their buying habits, and what it is they are really looking for within nutritional labelling
If you’d like to know what was revealed in part two, drop us a line – Richard.email@example.com – and we can arrange a time to talk or to send you a summary of these findings.