Many bloggers have readership numbers that are larger than many traditional media platforms including magazines, newspapers, television and radio shows. Mr. Gadget, who writes daily about new gadgets and gizmos in the tech world, commands over 170,000 reads per month. If that were to be ranked against the nine magazines in Pacific Magazines’ computer genre stable, it would slot in just behind number two. Not too shabby. SuperKawaiiMama on the other hand is one of Australia’s most recognized fashion bloggers. Her unique and clearly identifiable style often gets her stopped on the street for photos. With over 130,000 monthly blog reads she is not too far behind popular fashion journal Grazia. And finally one of Australia’s biggest parenting bloggers PlanningWithKids receives over 65,000 monthly blog reads which is only a few pegs back from the leading parenting print publications in this country. It is also important to note that blog readers are influential people in their own right. Given that they care so much about a particular subject, so as to be constant consumers of blogged content, the readers themselves become opinion leaders in their own circles. The viral implications of a blog marketing campaign therefore make it an even more attractive proposition for marketers.

Influence

When thousands of people are reading blogging content each day – many of them commenting on opinions and asking for advice – the blogger becomes someone that is revered within their particular field of expertise. They become king or queen of their tribe whose views are truly trusted and valued. And some marketers are starting to realise this power too. Take SuperKawaiiMama for example. She’s so influential that one of Australia’s biggest fashion brands has asked her to help co-design one of their latest ranges. And what about Mr. Gadget who gets flown around the world by leading tech brands to different tech conferences and brand launches. And then there’s BryanBoy, Marc Jacobs favorite trendsetter who is so highly regarded that Marc Jacobs himself has designed a bag especially for him. Bloggers are now starting to infiltrate the world’s biggest mainstream media publications, appearing on TV and radio shows, not to mention the newspaper and magazine articles written about them or using their quotes to give a piece more weight. The snowball is starting to roll down the mountain and as the years go by these bloggers will be thrust into the spotlight even more and become a standard ingredient in a marketing campaign. Right now however, it is the clever marketers who have already recognized their significance, influence and value.

Disney Case Study

Disney is one of the first clients in the Australian market to successfully run a blog marketing campaign. Seeking to create awareness among mothers with young children about the Handy Manny DVD, Disney enlisted a group of six mummy bloggers to watch and review the DVD with their children.

Successful blog marketing campaigns need the bloggers’ honest views about and experiences with the product and as such no restrictions were placed on the bloggers by Disney. Consequently the blog posts that were written were sincere, natural and relevant opinion pieces which clearly resonated with the bloggers’ audiences.

“Given that I have children aged between two and six (almost seven as I am reminded on a daily basis) it’s hard to find something we can all watch as a family. Thankfully this sweet little show was a perfect fit for us all. It has lovely messages about friendship, teamwork and unrequited love.”

One of the other great things about a blog marketing campaign is that reader comments provide qualitative feedback about the audience’s intention to purchase the product as a result of reading the post. This is something of course that web 2.0 allows that its more static magazine counterparts do not.

This campaign received approximately 43,000 blog reads during the week the post went live and received 31 comments from readers. Given that comments by readers are reasonably hard to come by in the Australian blogosphere however, the ability of these bloggers to influence their readers is likely to reach significantly further than the tangible records above. With reasonable (and growing) reach and the ability to connect with brands in an innovative and influential way, this case study illustrates that this medium has a serious future in Australia.

Bloggers’ strength is in their influence. Product reviews offer an incredible opportunity to align brands with some of today’s key influencers. With numbers suggesting that more and more people are starting to blog and more and more people are reading blogs every day, blogging is not a fad. In fact it looks like we are only at the bottom of the bell curve. And it is now time for all marketers to start realising the importance of bloggers’ in the marketing mix.