By Harriet Fancott, Senior Associate, LimelitePR
Bloggers are increasingly influential when it comes to letting their community know about issues, services, campaigns and products. So as a business or organization, how do you find bloggers that will work with you, and how do you measure their online influence?
First off, what do we mean by influence? A blogger with influence has a large audience; an engaged and active community; is trusted and quoted on and offline; and their posts are retweeted, shared on Facebook. They appear in person at networking events and conferences.
The best way to find the key influencers in a given community is to join and listen to the community. If you aren’t part of the community, you need to research it. There are lots of tools that purport to measure influence and reach but – read this carefully – there is no single tool that measures a blogger’s influence.
Strategies and tools to find the right bloggers:
Research: Imagine you are looking for green-focused mom bloggers in the US, start by goggling your key words (mom blogger green etc); seek out top 50 environmental blogger lists; look to top mom blogger lists; check out blog rolls and look at commenters blogs. Find a few to start and go from there.
Review the blog. Once you have a starting place, review the blog, and make a quick judgment on whether it looks suitable. Clearly if the blogger reviews Pampers, they may not be the best fit. Do they have a PR page? Do they review products? Do they have only personal content? Do they have a mix of both? Initially, you need to make a judgment call. Caveat: top shelf bloggers with the highest influence are easy to find but may require payment or have strict guidelines about what they’ll review.
PR Page: Serious bloggers who want advertising or review products typically have a PR-friendly tab on their blog and a page that lists all their stats: number of unique visitors, subscribers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
Twitter followers and Facebook fans: Top bloggers will have Twitter and Facebook buttons on their blog. Click on these to see how many twitter followers they have and how often they tweet. Check their Facebook page to gauge activity and see how many likes they have.
Klout: This popular tool claims to assess a person’s online influence but relies mainly on Facebook and Twitter activity and has almost no connection to blogging itself. People who only tweet can have exceptional Klout scores. Still, a high Klout score is relevant for a blogger as it means they are spreading their influence across multiple networks.
Google friend connect: Check out the number of friends, a blogger has through google friend connect. A high number indicates a large readership.
Subscribers: Look for a box that lists the number of subscribers to a blog through feedburner. A high number of subscribers points to an active community.
Compete: Compete measures the number of unique visitors to a site over the last year. The Pro version offers more detailed analytics.
Comments: Visitors who take the effort to respond are a great indicator of an active community. Be aware that giveaway posts will get hundreds of comments but do not necessarily indicate an ongoing connection to the blog.
Likes and Retweets: Do a quick scan to see how often a bloggers posts are retweeted or liked. Check out Seth Godin. Gosh darn it, people like him!
Most blogs will have some mixture of measurable tools on their blogs that will allow you to assess whether they will be a good fit for your company or organization. Amid all of this, is the heart, relevancy and humanity of the blog itself, and that can only be measured by reading and getting to know the person behind it.
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