One of the great things (or curses occasionally) about working in marketing is that you see everything from a marketing-led angle. One of the industries I love looking at right now is blogging or “influencer marketing”. Critics have been saying this wave has reached its peak for years but I’m not convinced. I think we’ve got lots more interesting developments to happen in blogging/YouTubing/influencing as an industry and I for one, am excited to see where that takes us.
So to the point of this article. In my musings and watching, plus working with bloggers for the brands I support, I’ve spotted something interesting. There are a few similarities between the “big” bloggers and the way they run their empires, that I think many new bloggers don’t see, or struggle to learn (the ones who want to make money from blogging that is, rather than just doing it as a hobby).
Business blogging acumen.
Here are some of the things the top 1% regularly do and do well:
A posting scheduled which they stick to religiously
Smaller bloggers often struggle to do this but it’s essential in establishing yourself as a professional over an opportunist. In any business you’d know to create a regular blogging/video marketing/social media schedule and all of the top bloggers have this nailed – ensuring they stick to the same schedule in the same way any business would.
You’ll never see the big bloggers moaning about sponsored content or how bad they feel putting out ads. They are unapologetic (and so they should be) but this marks them out from smaller bloggers who always seem to be apologetic and meekly push sponsored content out without really pleasing either their audience or the brand. The big guns talk about brands like old friends and will occasionally push a product or brand they have a loyalty with, without being paid in that specific instance, because they know the value of a long-term relationship and repeat campaigns.
Use of all platforms
The reason most don’t do this is of course, a time game. But for the most successful bloggers, you’ll see them everywhere. Channels such as Pinterest are so time consuming that you’d be surprised to see that many of the most successful bloggers still bother spending time on there, but they do. Twitter is another example. The length these success stories go to, in order to reach every channel and every audience is huge and is not one that many would bother to put the effort in to do. Hence why they’re in the top cohort.
Cross channel marketing
Ever seen this scenario: A blogger puts an outfit on their Snapchat story. When they’re asked where they got the top from they direct you to Twitter for the link. This is helpful to the reader as they can get an exact link to the product (much harder or impossible to do on Snapchat or Instagram). At the same time, they’re prompting you to follow them on Twitter (a channel which is now notoriously hard to gain followers on yet is appealing to advertisers). You’ll see the most successful bloggers do this in multiple different ways and across various channels, to make the most of the opportunity to grow their following and engage with as many followers on as many different channels as possible. Clever right?
A support team
This is more true of “celebrities” than “bloggers” per se, but while many bloggers have one person on the outside, behind the scenes there are teams of people. Some have agents who negotiate ads and sponsored campaigns on their behalf. Many “celebrity” bloggers (Millie Mackintosh and so on) have content writers who produce blogposts for them. Others have photographers, videographers and editors, managers, ghostwriters and so on to help them manage the “admin” of the perfect content machine they have created.
As someone who works in content, I am often blown away by the creativity of content from certain bloggers and the lengths they go to. In The Frow has one of the most beautiful websites I’ve ever seen – giving other “media” or online magazine sites a run for their money. Lydia Elise Millen produces sponsored content that is better than many TV ad campaigns.
WHAT I WORE TO COACHELLA!!! SO PROUD OF THIS VIDEO! https://t.co/7JweuFYvva
— Lydia (@LydiaEmillen) April 27, 2017
Fashion Mumblr produces multiple Instagram stories each and every single day. All of this content (and many more examples) show the lengths these bloggers go to not just to churn out content but also to product content that continually improves and enhances their offering. No easy feat!
Not afraid to place themselves in a niche
Many bloggers start out covering everything – fashion, beauty, lifestyle, travel, food and so on. But as they become more established (and probably naturally realise where their true passions lie) each of the more successful bloggers has settled into a clearly defined niche. Whether this is high-end designer clothes, craft, bullet journaling, or mental health, all of the most successful bloggers have a niche that they’re truly known for. The natural assumption would be that this rules out multiple audiences and would therefore make them less appealing to brands but the opposite is true. By putting a firm stake in the ground, these bloggers have risen above the noise and it is really, really obvious who they appeal to making them an easy choice for the “dream” brands that are the ones they want to work with anyway.
In conclusion, it goes without saying that I am in awe of these solopreneurs who have changed the media landscape forever and are beginning to teach brands (rather than the other way round) how a business empire should be built. Kudos and may we continue learning from them and their blogging success.