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Why blogs can be more effective than traditional media

MarketCommunity has talked with the CEO of Bloggers Delight, Henrik Akselbo, about what the bloggers and the companies can gain from blogging. – How bloggers can turn their blog into a moneymaker and how blogging can be a great communication platform for companies.

About Bloggers Delight

Bloggers Delight is a technology media company. They run three blog networks, Bloggers Delight, Looklab and Blog Splash. They offer a 360 degrees solution for premium blogs. This means that Bloggers Delight offer a state-of-art blogging platform, where they have a monetization model helping the bloggers generate revenue on their blogs. The platform also includes a traffic generator helping the bloggers attract more visitors. Furthermore, they offer workshops and network events for the bloggers. Their goal is that the bloggers can focus on their passion, which is to generate great content for their bloggers followers. 

Bloggers Delight has around 1 million unique visitors a month across their network, i.e. amount of blog readers. They have around 70.000 blogs created on their self-service platform within the last 3 years. And they have around 260 premium blogs, which are the bloggers that they have a commercial contract with, and to whom they help generate income on their blogs.

Why people blog

The prime motivation varies from individual to individual. But the most successful bloggers have started their blog because they have something they want to share with the world, and because it’s a passion and a hobby for them. E.g. they love cooking and therefore they want to help others and share their recipes. Many also see their blog as a creative space where they can express themselves.

The Internet has created a platform for everyone to share his or her thoughts and passions with everyone. This is a great democratizing development. Many people rather want to share their thoughts with likeminded individuals, rather than with corporate media organizations. For instance, the huge success of fashion blogs has proved that many people rather want to receive fashions tips from someone like themselves, rather than from a distanced fashion editor, who they cannot relate to.

People have always wanted to share their interests with likeminded, and having a blog enables you to be part of a community. The media landscape is becoming more and more niche-oriented. This means readers seek for specific content. This opens up for a variety of potential successful niche blogs and websites. However, Bloggers Delight’s experiences show that it’s important for the niche blogs to be part of a bigger network, where they can share resources with other members. Because it’s impossible for a single niche blog or website to have all the necessary resources in-house, which are necessary to compete with bigger media organizations, especially on a small market like Denmark. This is one of the reasons that Bloggers Delight exists. They gather these extremely competent individual bloggers and generate economies of scale, enabling the bloggers to compete with traditional media, because they have build an infrastructure, including a tech platform, a traffic generator and a revenue generator.

Blogging as a Marketing discipline 

There’re several reasons why it’s becoming interesting for more and more brands to spend part of their marketing budget on campaigns on blogs. First of all, as a brand you need to be present on the platforms where your target group is spending time. More and more people read blogs. In Denmark alone, some of the most successful blogs can have more than 100,000 readers a month. Bloggers Delight has more than 100 blogs, with more than 10,000 readers a month. This means that many blogs actually have a larger audience than traditional medias. So why pay a certain price for e.g. a page in a printed food magazine, if you can reach more people in the same target group at a lower price, on a great food blog?

Consumers trust bloggers

However, the most attractive reason to apply blogs as a marketing channel is the fact that you utilize a third party (the blogger) to communicate your message to your target group. All research shows, that the personal recommendation often has the strongest influence on consumers’ buying behaviour. This means that the consumers will listen much more carefully to the personal words from a blogger they find inspiring, and whom they trust, than when you, as a brand, try to communicate directly to them. Therefore it can be of great value for a brand, to have an influencer in the target group, communicating to others in the target group, about your product or service. In surveys, many blog readers say they feel they have an almost personal relation to the bloggers they follow. They also say that they trust bloggers. This, of course, also means it is very important that bloggers only engage in content marketing for products which they can actually vouch for. The marketing law also clearly states that a blogger should mark if they do a blog editorial where an advertiser has paid for it. Therefore it’s also important that the brand trusts the quality of their product, and let the bloggers write their own subjective opinion about it.

In all the blog campaigns that Bloggers Delight develops, they make sure to find a great match between brand and blogger. They also make sure that the brand cannot dictate what the bloggers need to write; it has to be the blogger’s own words. Last but not least, they make sure it is clearly stated that it is a sponsored post, so the readers know. The bloggers have full control over which campaigns they want to engage in.

Blogging as a moneymaker

Bloggers Delight’s 260 premium blogs automatically generate revenue for themselves e.g. through banner advertisement. Bloggers Delight furthermore have an automatic affiliate system, where they have a revenue-share model with more than 400 web shops, enabling the blogger to generate income when linking to these shops and their followers buy something. Last, but not least they work with many of the biggest B2C brands on doing content marketing campaigns, where the bloggers e.g. test products and blog about them. The individual campaigns will be offered to the most relevant bloggers for that specific advertiser. A premium blogger’s income varies depending on the amount of page views the blog has, how much affiliate the blogger do and how many creative campaigns the blogger is involved in.

The future of blogging

The categorization of media will be more and more blurred. Websites are making more and more video production, and TV stations are making more and more online content. Print publishers are becoming Internet companies, and Internet companies are crossing into more traditional media. So everyone is trying to do everything. The modern media consumer doesn’t care if the content is local or international, or whether it’s created by a corporation or by an individual. The users consume the media content they find interesting and entertaining. This means that as long as bloggers can continue to deliver great content, the blogs will become better and better at competing against “traditional media”. Most of the big B2C companies have started to allocate media budgets from traditional media to blogs and social influencers. As a B2C company your marketing budget allocation should more or less be linear with the media that your target group spent time on.

Blogging vs. traditional media

Right now there is still a delay, traditional media are still receiving too much of the marketing budgets if you actually look at where the consumers are spending their time. Especially the young consumers watch less flow TV, and read less printed media. Instead they spend time consuming content on their smart phone, tablet and laptop. The advertising revenue is declining on the traditional media platforms, but not in the fast tempo it should if it was to match the rapid decline in time spent by the consumers on these platforms.

Therefore, even the dullest B2C companies will continue to increase their spending on blogs, social media and social influencers. The future of blogging looks bright, because if more advertising revenue is generated on blogs, more bloggers will be able to make a living of their hobby. This means they will start creating more-and even better content, because they can focus even more on their blog. So it’s a kind of self-enhancing mechanism.

5 advices on how to run a successful blog 

  1. Start your blog because you have something you really want to share with the world. You should blog because it is your passion.
  2. Don’t start a blog with the intention of making money. It can only become a possibility after some time, if enough people read your content.
  3. Continuity. Make sure to blog on a regular basis. If a reader comes back to your blog too many times to find out there is no new content, they will not come back again.
  4. Engage with the community. So if you’re a food blogger, get to know other food blogs, attend cooking events etc.
  5. Use other social media to promote your blog, i.e. have a Facebook Page, an Instagram account etc.

5 advices on how to turn a blog into a money maker

  1. Remember that advertisers can spend their money a thousands other places than on your blog. So first of all you need to get a substantial amount of readers within your segment to be attractive. If you don’t have any readers it will be “hot air” you’re selling.
  2. You need to have data insights, meaning: 1) How many read my blog? 2) Who are my readers? 3) What device do they use etc.? Serious advertisers want insights like these.
  3. Make sure to offer several different products, so you have several potential revenue streams. E.g. Advertorials, banner advertisement and affiliate partnerships. It’s difficult to earn enough on just one product offering, but when you sum the revenue streams up, it will be easier to generate more income.
  4. Over perform. When you do a campaign for an advertiser, make sure to do more than expected and promised. Chances that the advertiser will come back will be much greater.
  5. Team up with a blog network or another similar partner. Then you can concentrate on your passion, and they will concentrate on the commercial and technical part of the blog. In short, if you do what you do best, and your partner(s) do what they do best, then 1+1 should hopefully become 3.
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