By Corrina Anderson, Account Director

Bloggers are everywhere – literally. Even though we find them online, it’s the real life experiences they have in restaurants, shops, kitchens, theatres and with products and people that they share with their online audiences.

According to a recent article by food commentator Thang Ngo, there are around 2,000 food blogs alone registered on Urbanspoon. The topics this modern day media talks about are many. There are interior design, renovation, gardening, beauty, fashion, technology, sports, parenting, health, music, movies and general interest bloggers. You name it, there’s a blog for it. A quick online search found more than 13,000 Aussie bloggers interested in at least one of these topics.

For some it is an outlet for ex-journalists and frustrated authors, for others they simply write on topics they’re passionate about. The degree of writing professionalism varies but regardless of this, they are being heard – many by hundreds of followers, some by tens of thousands and others by millions.

It certainly wasn’t because Julia Gillard had some spare time on her hands that she invited some of Australia’s most influential bloggers to dinner last week. As Amber Robinson, managing editor of Essential Baby and Essential Kids and one of the attendees at the event explains, our Prime Minister recognises the influence these bloggers can wield.

“We represent sizable online communities whose needs are not entirely served by the mainstream media… Blogs are now competing with magazines and television in capturing advertising dollars from brands eager to talk to women in an authentic voice… Issuing press releases to mainstream media is not going to reach these new online communities – women want their voices heard, and they want to engage directly with the people who matter.”

For the same reason, you’ll now find bloggers on the front row at fashion shows and being the first to get their hands on new gadgets, sometimes even before journalists.

With links to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it is likely you’ll stumble across bloggers on a daily basis.

Following the recent arrival of agencies like The Remarkables Group and organisations such as Food Bloggers Australia, it’s clear bloggers and brands are eager to work together – but how? The answer is just like traditional media: honestly, enthusiastically and knowledgeably.

  • Research blogs within the topic(s) relevant to your brand. It’s not just about the number of followers they have. It’s essential brands connect with blogs that are actually relevant to them. Read more than the latest post.
  • When considering the potential reach the blog has take into account subscribers and unique visitors, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest followers. Another critical number for both you and the blogger is engagement or return visits.
  • If the blog meets the first criteria check out the About or Contact tab. This is often where a blogger acknowledges their interest in being contacted by brands.
  • Make contact with the blogger, outlining your brand or business and purpose for correspondence. They can then respond advising what’s possible.
  • Bloggers are becoming mainstream, which means their blog is often their business and time is money. New bloggers may be thrilled to accept products for review, however those with large and engaged audiences may look to establish partnerships that provide product, sponsorship or advertising in exchange for their time.
  • You also need to be prepared for an unexpected experience. If a product doesn’t meet expectation a blogger can decide to not post about the experience or publish an honest and possibly negative post.

See you online – somewhere.

Want to learn more about brand engagement with bloggers? Watch the Media Watch episode covering this topic or talk to one of our consultants.