Friday, October 19, 2007

How to Market Your Product/Service on Blogs (and why it works)

Some innovative companies are starting to investigate blog marketing - and for good reason!

In July 2006, the Pew Internet and American Life Project estimated that the "US blog population has grown to about 12 million adults." That was in 2006. And just in America. And that was in estimate.

Blogging is a huge cultural phenomenon and I see it as another form of word-of-mouth advertising because blogging is all about connections and relationships. Blog advertising is more like a friend-to-friend conversation ("Guess what I bought yesterday?") than an air-brushed commercial. It's more authentic and real (at least it seems that way).

That's why it works.

When I want to buy a specific product, I usually (A) read the reviews on and (B) do a Google search on the Internet (in that order). If blogs come up in the Google search results, I might read them (but usually without much interest). Blog marketing doesn't work like that.

Remember, blogging is all about building relationships and being a part of a community. Yes, people blog to give and receive knowledge, but that's really a secondary purpose.

Marketing in the blogosphere is more about finding influential people in your target market/demographic and getting them to genuinely like your product...and then talk about it. If you can do that, you're well on your way to success.

We know from research that people buy products and services that are recommended by friends and individuals in their social circles. They buy in response to other people more than in response to magazine ads and TV commercials.

Case in point: me. There have been countless times that I've decided to purchase (or investigate) a product based on a blog post (of a blogger "friend," mind you). For example, I read about Johnson's bath time products at Ode to Umbrella Moments and proceeded to put them on my "buy-at-Target" shopping list.

If you are interested in marketing your product/service via blog marketing, start by taking these 3 steps:

A. Find influential bloggers in your niche market. How? Ask people in your "real" life if they blog and then ask them for their address. Visit their site and visit their commenters' sites. You'll soon be able to discover which blogs get a lot of traffic and why.

B. Offer to give a free product to an influential blogger in exchange for a review and a link back to your site.

C. Start a blog yourself (Need help? Read Penelope Trunk's The Easiest Instructions for How to Start a Blog) and enter the "community." Be sure that your blog is helpful, personal, and meaningful - rather than just an ad for your product. Ads don't work in the blogosphere. Authenticity does.

You can find bloggers of all ages and "stages," but you're especially in luck if your product is geared to moms because the "momosphere" within the blogosphere is huge. Or if your product is geared to people in the 25-45 year old demographic - again, lots of bloggers in that age range.

Welcome to the blog world! It's a great avenue for connecting - which is really what marketing is all about.

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