Table of contents
  1. 1. Definition of bloggers
  2. 2. History and development of blogging
  3. 3. Advantages and disadvantages of blogging
  4. 4. Bloggers and influence marketing

Definition of bloggers

Blogging began as regular people writing an online log of their life for public consumption. The practice later spawned vlogging, the video version of blogging. While blogs began on hosts like Blogger and LiveJournal, vlogs got their start on sites like YouTube and Vine. These online diaries, although they still exist, grew into a marketing industry with industry leaders authoring expert blogs devoted to single topics, such as Larry Kim’s blog on marketing. 

Part of this growth occurred when businesses realized that well-read blogs with many followers could influence their readers by recommending a brand or item. On the flip side, brands also realized that blogs that reported a bad experience with a company or product could negatively impact the brand by writing about it. In 2015, the concept received the name “influencer marketing.” Companies began paying celebrities to post about their products but later grew the concept to include any blogger with a strong following and an appropriate theme. 


History and development of blogging

The earliest blogs began in the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s generally recognized that the first blog was, created by Justin Hall, while he was a Swarthmore College student in 1994. During these early years, a few different “blogging” platforms cropped up. And then, in 1999, the platform that would later become Blogger was started by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan at Pyra Labs. Blogger is largely responsible for bringing blogging to the mainstream. The early 2000s were a period of growth for blogs. In 1999, according to a list compiled by Jesse James Garrett, there were 23 blogs on the internet. By the middle of 2006, there were 50 million blogs according to Technorati‘s State of the Blogosphere report.

What began as online journaling developed into an industry. Eight to ten years ago, blogs were becoming the primary point of communication for individuals online. But with the advent of social media and social networking in the past five years, blogs have become only one portion of an individual’s online persona. Using social networks such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, a large number of bloggers evolved into influencers, thereby creating influencer marketing. The concept of influence marketing became a buzzword in 2015. Today, influence marketing is an industry. Currently, more than 50 platform start-ups devoted to influencer marketing exist. It’s an accepted part of the inbound marketing model and brands keep increasing their line items for it. Salesforce reported that 70 percent of the brands studied increased their FY2016 influence marketing budget. That all gave rise to another new industry, that of influencer management. 


Advantages and disadvantages of blogging

Blogging uses virtually every major social media outlet. Using blogs for influencer marketing campaigns can help products and brands gain exposure on Blogger, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, Medium, Twitter and more. Whether they author a micro-blog post or a full-length blog, positive mentions, photos, videos and links to your product or brand in front of their followers generate more organic clicks to your website or social media. 

The payoff can grow huge. Bloggers offer a high return on investment (ROI). The ROI depends on the outlet and blogger, but on Instagram, for example, it can reach 5.9 times according to calculations based on the Hopper Instagram Rich List 2017. The client can easily track the reach of each blogger’s post using a professional influence marketing analytics tool

Although influencers still advertise your brand for you, the audience – their audience – reads or views sympathetically. Unlike television or radio advertisements, the audience actively engages rather than tuning out or muting. Blogs cover every industry, so every industry can use influence marketing. Whether automotive or fashion, bloggers blog on it. A brand will always have industry influencers available. 


Bloggers and influence marketing

Regardless of the social media a brand uses, bloggers do, too. That means the brand has industry influencers available where it tries to build or has built a following. Subscription box companies have discovered the power of influencers. Conduct a search for the hashtag #fabletics and find a treasure trove of examples of the power of influencers. While the brand’s co-founder Kate Hudson models for it, its customers display their brand loyalty through hashtagged posts. 

Another Instagram example, book boxes, reveals a more esoteric industry. This niche market caters to serious readers who enjoy book-related items, such as bookmarks, bookplates and book character items like coffee mugs with character quotes. The hashtags #books and #bookbox lead to photo posts with extended reviews included. 

Pinterest spawned a similar use. Users create boards devoted to a brand or industry. They regularly post content as if it were a standard blog. Additionally, many of the users of these social media also run traditional blogs on places like Blogger or Medium. Their cross-posting to increase their own readership also benefits any brand or product they represent. 

Having bloggers on board as an advertising means can help leverage not only organic web traffic but also social media followers to brand social media profile and the company website. When starting an influence marketing campaign, contracting with an influencer management software provider e.g. InfluencerDB or an influencer marketing agency can help. Most of the agencies can handle campaign design, identifying and contracting with the influencers, while the influencer marketing platform can help brands identify and analyze influencer profiles, detect fake influencers and keep track of the campaign’s success.