When should you hold Blogger Events?

Imagine you’re the brand/product/marketing manager of a company and you’re evaluating your marketing mix for promotional activities. You’ve been hearing about blog marketing and blogger events as a good vehicle for marketing, but you’ve never gone about blog marketing and you want to try it out. So where do you start?

This blog post hopes to help you answer your questions.

I’ve done reserch, taught, and had practical experience on internet marketing at the Asian Institute of Management and based on my learnings, if you’re a company that’s trying to do blog marketing and blogger events, it starts with your objectives and what you want to achieve.

Most of the time, internet marketing campaigns have these objectives:

  1. Inform people & create awareness
  2. Strengthen the  brand
  3. Get customer leads
  4. Generate Sales

In my opinion, blog marketing (via blogger events) can be very effective on the first two items.  Let’s take a look at them.

When you hold a blogger event, you as a company hope that the event will impress the bloggers enough to be compelled to share his/her experiences in the event. If the event accomplishes that, then a blog post immediate will follow. By this mere blog post, your company would have reached the readers of that particular blogger. This is where the blogger’s traffic come is very handy– the more site visitors the site has, the more your company would have reached. Your primary metric here would be page views and visits.

But there is a drawback. For me, awareness is the lowest level of marketing success since chances of the readers actually purchasing the company’s product/service is quite low. People only know about the existence of the product/service– how it be of value to them is still not established.

Now, if your company wants to strengthen its brand via blog marketing, that’s a different story.

If you ask me, when you strengthen your brand, you want to communicate the brand’s personality and (hopefully) the positive associations with it. This is the time that as a marketing manager, you will have to carefully choose which blogs you deal with. Since your goal is to create a mindset for your customers, you want to choose bloggers that will strengthen the positive associations (happiness, coolness, etc.) with your product/service.

A simple example: Suppose you’re a brand manager for Coca-Cola, one of the top brands of the world. Like  most fast moving consumer goods, a bulk of Coca-cola’s sales are in retail. So how would it leverage on blog marketing and blogger events? Coca-cola may locally launch a blogger event related to a marketing campaign and invite bloggers who may fit the company’s target market or bloggers who passionately write about the topic (food bloggers or fashion bloggers for example). Your metric goes beyond the page views and visits– reactions, social network shares, and even negative comments may be your metrics.

Because of the focus of these bloggers, the company will reach a smaller amount of people, but these people may be more relevant to the company’s product of service. I a firm believer that relevance  is directly proportional to the probability of purchase.

To summarize my points:

  1. A company who wishes to engage bloggers should look at the campaigns objectives first. This will serve as the blueprint for the blogger event.
  2. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with engaging bloggers, regardless of their topic, if you just want to create awareness or inform the general public.
  3. If companies want to strengthen their brand, carefully choosing bloggers to create the positive associations with the product or service is the way to go. This may result in reaching a fewer, but more relevant group of people.

Like many other activities, Blogger events may be a good “below the line” marketing activity for companies of done right.