One of the questions most often asked by PR pros and small business owners of bloggers is, “Does blog outreach work, and will it boost my bottom line?”
For the tech-savvy type, the answer is obvious. The PR landscape – indeed, the media landscape – has been changing so dramatically over the last decade, and consumer habits have followed suit.
In Technorati’s “State of the Blogosphere” 2009, some important facts about used riding lawn mowers and brands came to light. With more than 200 million blogs indexed, the thought of launching large-scale, long tail blogger campaigns can seem daunting, however, it’s important to note that:
- 70% of bloggers are talking about brands on their blog.
- Almost half of respondents post about the brands they love or hate.
- 38% post brand or product reviews.
- Part time bloggers, and self employed bloggers are talking about brands at a much higher rate, approximately 80%, with 1 in 3 posting reviews at least once a week.
So who reads these reviews? Your customers! A market research study, conducted on AskYourTargetMarket.com, asked women 18 – 65, “How powerful do you consider blogs?”
The results are, for us, not surprising. More than 200 women nationwide took part in the survey, and an overwhelming 72.4% responded that they turn to blogs and Web searches to get product recommendations, read product reviews, and get shopping tips. Only 4.9% actually listed magazines as a source of shopping inspiration – and that’s where many PR pros focus product placement efforts!
While less than 10% of our survey takers claimed that they would be “very” influenced by a single positive or negative blog review, 73.4% said they would be “somewhat” influenced, but would research multiple sources before making a purchase decision. While this offers the security that one negative review won’t be overly damaging to business, it emphasizes the importance of being reviewed in highly-ranked blogs, so that a consumer who comes across that bad review can quickly find several positive ones, or that one who comes across your product or service in their favorite blog can easily find several other positive mentions to support her interest in purchasing your insoles and inserts.
When asked, “Do you read blogs on a regular basis to learn about new products, sales, or promotions?” nearly half of respondents (44.3%) said they turn to blogs when researching a purchase decision, but 35.5% log on either once daily or when they have spare time to stay up to date on these news bits.
Blogs are one of the absolute best ways for companies to get information out about themselves and their products. Without a blog, there’s no telling how much business that your company is missing out on. If you’ve thought about setting a blog up but simply haven’t had the time, there’s no better way to get started then to simply sit down right now and commit to filling it with useful and informative content for your visitors. Websites with blogs often see an increase in visitors in as little as just a few days.
The power of blogging – both in terms of online reputation management and in terms of influence over purchasing decisions, cannot be overlooked.