Digital and retail marketing trends: 2012 is the year of…

So here we are…the start of another year.  Having settled back in to the swing of things after a much needed festive break, we’ve looked back on the events of 2011 to make our (slightly belated!) predictions for the key digital marketing and retail trends of 2012.

So here goes…

 

Mobile integration into multichannel retail:
While marketers have been proclaiming it to be the “year of mobile” for as long as I can remember, 2011 was perhaps the year when this was actually realised.

We saw a significant increase in the numbers of retailers integrating mobile tactics into their multichannel campaigns in 2011.  Most recently we saw John Lewis trialling QR codes in Waitrose window displays across various UK locations (Brighton included) to promote their click and collect service.

2012 will see more effective mobile integration into online and offline marketing campaigns as brands really start joining the digital dots, breaking down the silos between those channels to deliver seamless customer experiences.  As the penetration of smartphone use grows, mobile optimisation of websites, multichannel promotions and campaigns redeemable across social, mobile and print have to be the norm for forward thinking brands by the end of 2012.

It is also the responsibility of genuinely consultative digital agencies to de-mystify mobile for their clients and ensure investments are made when the right ‘tipping point’ has been reached. For example, we are typically seeing 10% of traffic to our clients’ sites coming from mobile devices. Comparing conversion rates between desktop and mobile visitors enables us to quickly calculate approximate losses in mobile revenue due to the lack of a mobile optimised site or application, which in turn helps build a business case for investment.

Social commerce:
If brands operating in the retail space aren’t already thinking about how they can enable customers to purchase via their social media channels then we’d argue they are already behind the curve.  The easier you make it for your customers to research, consider and purchase your products, regardless of the channel (website, mobile, social media, etc), the better it’s going to be for your sales figures.

We’re working with our clients on a variety of simple social applications to encourage sales via social channels.  Wary brands don’t need to commit to full Facebook shopping functionality immediately, but by starting to capture data, encourage honest reviews, have customer service teams communicating to customers via social channels and enabling social sharing once purchases are made, we can start more accurately demonstrating how social can have a measureable effect on the bottom line.

Genuinely putting the customer at the heart of your strategy:
With budgets inevitably squeezed in 2012, maximising return on investment from every activity is more vital than ever. As well as scrutinising every penny spent, 2012 also needs to be the year where you genuinely put the customer at the heart of everything you do.

Only if brands understand what their target audience genuinely care about, what media they consume, channels they use, how they want to interact with the brand and how they perceive the brand online and offline, can a digital marketing strategy reach its potential.

We’ve noticed an increase in our clients signing off customer insight projects during Q4 last year to refresh their understanding of their customers so that, in turn, their digital marketing strategy and tactical execution is relevant, compelling and effective as possible.

In recent years there’s been an explosion in brands getting excited about digital and allowing some creative hotshot agencies to convince them to throw vast sums of budget at a potentially great, but untried, idea – often without robust objectives, KPIs and measurement tools in place. These days are over – 2012 is going to be the year when brands invest time and money to ensure they truly understand their target audience, their most profitable customers and the lifetime value of those customers.  In turn, every digital activity will become more accountable. If it fails to increase customer acquisition, average order values or repeat business, it will be thrown out. Digital marketing will become genuinely targeted, executed and evaluated based on much greater focus on the customer.

For me, a happy client with a double-digit sales increase from activity we’ve delivered is more exciting and rewarding than a night out at a creative awards ceremony!  This is not to say we shun creativity, far from it! But creativity needs to be balanced with commerciality.

Delivering cross channel ROI and measuring the impact of online activity to offline sales:
It’s becoming increasingly important for brands to demonstrate how a digital tweak here, can have a positive impact in offline sales there.

In 2011, we significantly expanded our tracking and sales attribution tool set. In one case, we’ve worked with a client to integrate call tracking software into the multichannel attribution software we use.  This has helped the client gain a full 360 view of the impact each of their marketing channels plays in the research and consideration phases of their customer buying journey. Tracking the relationship between online and offline sales has meant that we have been able to measure how online activity influences offline sales with some really exciting results.

As marketing budgets comes under more scrutiny, combining offline and online data to build a more accurate view of customer behaviour and importantly, accurately attribute sales to their respective marketing channel, is going to be vital in 2012. This will help brands better understand their most productive marketing channels so they can take a flexible approach to their wider marketing budget and siphon budgets into channels that are genuinely making a difference to sales.

That’s what we think 2012 has in store. What about you?

Our study shows that 47% of premium retail shoppers make purchases via their smartphone

 

Inspired by our clients gearing up to Christmas, the Leapfrogg Customer Insight team recently conducted a survey into the shopping habits of premium retail shoppers.

Below we report back on the key findings and recommendations for retailers operating in this space.

 

Mobile

Questioned via an online survey, the most interesting finding concerned the use of mobile.  Our survey found that 47% of consumers purchasing premium and luxury products access retail apps to research and buy items, seemingly integrating mobile into their personal multi-channel experiences.

We found that those making purchases via mobile, purchased frequently, buying smaller ticket items with low emotional and time investment: music, entertainment, fast fashion and groceries, for example.

Mobile’s role within multichannel seems to becoming increasingly sophisticated as the more affluent users become more confident with their devices.  Statistics that back up our own experience from Google imply that 65% of smartphone users claim mobile engagement also drives footfall to in-store purchase.

Our findings give retailers who haven’t started planning their mobile strategies for 2012 some interesting quick-win clues to engaging quickly with a committed and purchasing mobile audience. As such, our advice would be…

  • Make sure your site is optimised for mobile – the first step towards encouraging sales from the smartphone savvy consumer
  • Merchandising strategically – encouraging repeat purchases of low perceived value items with a high profit margin is key delivering ROI
  • Be clever about the time of day – our clients have seen mobile-based searches and sales for products at traditionally bizarre times.  For example, we’ve seen bigger ticket items like beds or mattresses, with usually long and multi-attributed sales processes, being bought first thing in the morning from a mobile device – potentially in a fit of frustrated pique after another dreadful night’s sleep!  Question how well you know your target audience so you can target them when they are “in the moment”.

The internet’s influence on multichannel

We wanted to discover how consumers buying high-end products use the internet during their purchase journey. When asked how they ranked different types of activity to help buy products, there was a clear winner for our respondents; using the internet to research products and brands to be inspired or to help with ideas was the most popular use of the internet for premium shoppers within the multichannel buying cycle.

Ranked below, in order of popularity, are the other ways in which premium retail shoppers use the internet to help them shop:

1. Checking and comparing prices before completing purchases online
2. Researching online to ‘short-list’ products before going in-store to actually buy
3. Despite the explosion of coupon and offer sites this year, using the internet to find discount vouchers was only the fourth most popular use of the internet within the buying cycle
4. The preference to go in-store to ‘touch and feel’ a product before going home to purchase was the least popular internet role within the buying cycle

Interestingly, it would appear those purchasing premium and luxury products are not highly price-driven. The use of vouchers is not as prevalent as one might expect in the current climate, although it would be fair to say that luxury brands in particular are less active in discounting their products.

Whilst it would appear that respondents are likely to research products online before going into store, the behaviour is not so prevalent the other way around.

Our take out from this part of the insight was that strategic use of search marketing, online PR and social media will ensure visibility for brand and non-brand searches to drive engagement and aid the research phase of the buying journey. However, mobile outreach can meet a more functional need: helping your customers buy quickly when they know what they want, when they want it and helping them find your stores when out and about.  Making sure online and mobile tactics join the dots with your offline and in-store activity is vital to ensuring a seamless multichannel experience – the days of viewing your online store in a silo are well and truly over.

Future proofing your sales

We also found that the majority of our respondents (nearly two thirds) did between 50 – 75% of their shopping online – with 4.5% claiming that they do all of their shopping online!  Exciting stats for us digital geeks!

Almost two-thirds of our respondents claimed that 90% of the shopping they did online was for non-food items. 8% of respondents claimed that they shop for all non-food items online.  This is a hugely positive vote of confidence for premium retailers in the middle of one of the most important retail periods of the year and as we enter, what is expected to be, a tough 2012.

The most popular non-food, premium purchases online were shown to be:

  • Travel and holiday accommodation
  • Gifts for others
  • Clothing and fashion
  • Homeware
  • Shoes and accessories
  • Furniture
  • Jewellery

For retailers, the interesting take out from this part of the research is not to lose focus on the products you’re actually selling.  With a digital industry awash with technological advances, keeping your actual products front of mind can sometimes be a challenge when you have an excited digital marketing team keen to experiment with tactics.

If our research has shown that gifts are the second most popular premium purchase online, then how can learn from this and merchandise or promote your products for this need? Can you offer gift wrapping services and offer to deliver to the gift recipient?

With 2012 just around the corner, are there ways in which you can use this insight to ‘de-seasonalise products’ and future-proof potentially difficult times ahead?

Retailers: the good, the bad and the ugly…

We also asked respondents which premium retailers are doing online well and why others do it badly.  Unsurprisingly and unprompted, John Lewis, ASOS, Amazon, Net-a-porter and Not on the high street were all given positive mentions, with praise for “easy navigation”, “clear photography”, “excellent information about the products” and importantly for products bought online that “items arrive when they say they will” and “they offer free delivery”.

When asked to describe why some online retailers are still doing it badly, unprompted responses included:

  • “poor product display”
  • “confusing layout”
  • “looks untrustworthy”
  • “really bad on and offline experience – no link up between the two”
  • “checkout process was painful”

We’ll refrain from naming specific brands but needless to say a number of recognisable retailers are failing in delivering a rich, intuitive experience for visitors to their websites. How does your site compare against the comments above?

Conclusion

In conclusion, taking that step back and understanding what your customer wants from the shopping experience you offer not only enables you to focus on what is genuinely going to make a difference to your online sales but really tailors the experience to a target audience and delivers online strategies that align with offline and in-store marketing activity.

 

Methodology

Research conducted via online questionnaire in October 2011
112 premium retailer shoppers completed the survey

The importance of content planning to search, sales & social media

For a long time, we’ve been driving home the importance of content to meeting your online objectives. In fact, Ben wrote about the relationship between content, search marketing and social media back in 2009.

Content can be used to connect with and engage your audience at each stage of their buying journey. As such, I believe that content planning should be core to your digital marketing strategy. A solid content plan gives all of your disciplines creative direction, streamlines resource, ensures messaging is consistent and works to enforce the role that each stakeholder (internal and external) plays in meeting online goals.

At the heart of content planning is a strong understanding of your target audience. By understanding the needs and motivations of your prospects and customers it will help you to create content that is in line with how your audience wants to consume it and therefore where to market that content to support search, website optimisation and social media objectives.

How customer insight and content supports these three channels is best reflected in the infographic below:

Starting with search, the information presented back to us when searching comes in a range of content types i.e. maps, images, video and shopping feeds (in Google’s case, this is called Universal Search). In turn, this means brands must create, optimise and market useful and engaging content that benefits both the target audience and supports SEO objectives.  In light of Google’s Panda update earlier this year, good quality, relevant and interesting content for the end user is more important than ever. Adopting old hat techniques such as keyword-stuffed press releases and articles, created purely for SEO purposes, might just bring you to Google’s attention…and not in a good way!

Content also has an integral role to play once visitors arrive at your website. A content driven approach to e-commerce helps create a richer and more rounded website experience, which in turn aids conversion rates and average order values. Strong imagery and video, for example, are proven to engage visitors and drive up sales. Marks and Spencer, with its pioneering ‘M&S TV’, has reportedly seen three times as many product views when supported with video and an average uplift in basket size of 23%.

Content is also vitally important in giving your brand a voice across your social media channels. Too many brands fall in to the trap of using social media to simply broadcast special offers and promotions. Content is the foundation of which a truly engaging social media experience is built and therefore how you can build a following by having your customers share your news, views and stories with their colleagues and peers.

This diagram reflects the interdependency between search, social media and content; one discipline cannot operate in isolation of the other two.

Practical steps to creating a content plan

So with content playing such a vital role in search, conversion rates and social media outreach, where should you start?

I recommend working from a central content plan as it helps to ensure consistent and clear messaging from each of your company’s communication channels and ensures any content output is aligned to your business objectives.

The first step to creating great content is to align all communication channels to work together. Holding regular content workshops involving all those responsible for creating content is a great way to achieve this. The objective of these workshops is to mine the business for all marketing plans across online and offline disciplines and brainstorm raw ideas, thoughts and materials.

You can then shape the resulting output into a comprehensive six-12 month content plan that cascades into all online communication channels, for example:

  • Content to support sales, such as buyers guides
  • Blog content
  • Emails / newsletters
  • On and offline PR
  • On and offline advertising, such as catalogues
  • In-store event ideas

This level of planning provides the necessary structure and formalising of responsibilities to maximise the value of the content created by all stakeholders.

The output is a month by month plan (it can be as simple as using an Excel spreadsheet) that details what content will be created, in what format, by whom and through which channels it will marketed and when. It sounds simple but I’m amazed at how many businesses we speak to are creating content in a totally disjointed manner meaning they fail to maximise its value to meeting digital marketing objectives.

Conclusion

Don’t fall into the trap of creating content purely for the purposes of gaming search engines. Really think about your customer and create content that is genuinely useful and engaging. Get all of your content creators in a room and plan, plan, plan. In turn, you’ll be rewarded with stronger search engine rankings, higher conversion rates and more fans and followers who feel a genuine connection to your brand.

Leapfrogg’s approach to social media (infographic)

Social media is an integral part of your audience’s digital engagement with your brand. At Leapfrogg, we take a holistic approach to social media; our approach reflects the interdependency between search, social media and content; we believe that you cannot operate a successful digital marketing campaign in silos.

We advise our clients on the best channels by which to reach their audience by conducting comprehensive research; in short, how and where their prospects and customers spend their time online. Using this information, we develop a centralised content plan, which is also aligned to the greater marketing strategy. Having all departments (agency and client side) working to an agreed plan not only gives clear direction but also ensures that messaging remains consistent through all marketing channels, regardless of the channel your consumer prefers to engage with you via. This is essential to giving a retail brand a voice across social media channels that extends beyond special offers and promotions; it’s about offering a more compelling reason to follow that brand.

A centralised content plan also helps deliver the consistent experience that customers expect as they move between channels, something which is essential for retailers to get right but much easier said than done!

This approach is illustrated below with this rather wonderful infographic:Phase one: Insight & understanding
Creating a successful, engaging and compelling space for relationship building with your target market is only possible if you know who your target audience is, what they care about and how they like to communicate; and you measure that relationship accordingly. Taking time to understand your target audience feeds directly into phase two.

Phase two: Centralised content strategy, operation structure & clear objectives
A solid content strategy gives you creative direction, streamlines resources and ensures all messaging is consistent. This also allows you to engage with your target audience in the appropriate way and set clear objectives for your activity.

Phase three: Pool of clear results
Done well, content planning and social media can deliver brand awareness, customer engagement, ownership of search results, stronger relationships with the media and drive direct sales. Only by structuring your approach, execution and measurement will you be guaranteed to add value and deliver tangible business benefits.

An introduction to blogger networks

At Leapfrogg we work with a multitude of bloggers across lots of different genres. One thing we’ve noticed crop up more and more is the number of blogs belonging to ‘blogger networks’; collectives of independent blogs managed by an umbrella publisher.

Blogger networks aren’t a new phenomenon, but they have definitely become more prominent with the emergence of the likes of Handpicked Media, Glam Media and now Mumsnet starting its own blogger network arm (Marketing Week, 7th July 2011). Most networks have some commercial aspect to them while others are more about promoting their blogs and social networking.

The real benefits to bloggers joining these networks are multiple. They can help build relationships with likeminded topic experts, help build traffic and revenue to their sites and provide often much needed support and resource around administration and commercial guidance.

However, the way in which we work with bloggers has to adapt along with the emergence of these blogger networks and bloggers overall becoming more financially driven. Essentially, it makes everyone’s jobs a little bit easier; agencies can build relationships with publishers that understand the creative and commercial needs of their clients and bloggers get a gatekeeper to provide them with administrative and commercial support.

It will, however, require some budget. As the gatekeepers to these blogs, the networks will co-ordinate creative briefs that work for their bloggers, identify who would be interested in a particular project, handle all the administration and ultimately ensure the blogs make some money out of the activity; whilst also ensuring an income for their services.

So far we’ve tipped our toes in the water by running lower level giveaway campaigns with Handpicked Media – we’re yet to test out a full blown campaign but it is definitely something we are looking to trial with our clients.

Gearing up for tomorrow's SheerB2B conference

I’m very excited (and a bit nervous!) to be talking tomorrow at the illustrious SheerB2B conference at Fulham Town Hall.  The trade and B2B arm of SheerLuxe, the definitive guide to luxury and premium shopping,  SheerB2B is a unique online community that brings together support and advice, a directory of recommended industry agencies, suppliers & experts, case studies and interviews to help premium and independent Etailers successfully grow their businesses.

I’m presenting alongside Google, my-wardrobe.com and other premium retail experts around the day’s event focus, ‘content’:  how to create the best possible content for your website, how to use that content to support your wider SEO objectives and how content can support conversion and sales.

I’m looking specifically at why it’s vital that brands bring their PR online and how an effective online PR strategy, dovetailed to your wider SEO and social media activity, is an essential part of a holistic approach to digital marketing.

My presentation includes a look at how a central content plan can help you streamline and consolidate your content production and cascade into a structure for your blog, social media, link building and online PR plans.  I’m also going to be taking people through Leapfrogg’s view of how link building has evolved over the past few years to be a great deal more sophisticated and therefore demand a PR/editorial approach to maximise success in search and customer acquisition.

As well as being super nervous about standing up in front of a room of such experts, I’ll also be wearing utterly ridiculous shoes, so I’m also secretly hoping I don’t fall over in front of everyone!

Wish me luck everyone!

Comment: Dolce & Gabbana enables access to its entire digital strategy from one place

Luxury Daily reported recently about Dolce & Gabbana attempting to interact with consumers by enabling them to access its entire digital strategy from one place. Dolce & Gabbana is offering links to its mobile applications, social media pages, e-commerce site and blog in its “Follow Us” tab on Facebook.

Offering up all communication channels in one place could potentially introduce customers to mediums that they did not know existed, as well as emphasise the main pathways of communication between consumers and the brand.

According to Luxury Daily, some may argue that this over-saturation of social media could look desperate for a luxury brand, or that Dolce & Gabbana is diluting itself by appearing on too many low-end channels. However, says Luxury Daily, experts believe that since most consumers typically have one or two favourite communication channels, having information on different sources can help to engage with as many fans as possible.

The latter statement seems more just, as letting consumers choose how they can engage surely strengthens the brand engagement and allows the brand to tailor its messaging to its customers. Brands can also strengthen their vertical sector engagement when tailoring output for different channels. Ultimately, this will also ensure better data capture of customer preferences.

At Leapfrogg, we take a holistic approach to social media. Our approach reflects the interdependency between search, social media and content; we advocate that one discipline cannot operate in isolation of the other two.

We advise our clients on the best channels to reach their audience through and ensure all output ties back to a content plan aligned to the greater marketing strategy. Having all departments working to an agreed plan not only gives clear direction but also ensures that your messaging remains consistent through all channels, regardless of which channel your consumer prefers to engage with you through.

And don’t forget, quality, relevance and timeliness of content is absolutely central to social media engagement. For us, content very much remains king!

How not to waste your time marketing on social media

How often have you ‘liked’ a brand or product on Facebook never to visit the page or hear from the brand again? Getting a company account set up on Facebook and has become the standard first step in a brand’s social media outreach. However, there are still an awful lot of businesses who haven’t taken a step back and looked at the bigger picture, set objectives for this activity, or dovetailed their social media plan into the wider marketing strategy. They often haven’t thought through their content strategy (if they even have one!) or learnt how to engage with their target audience through these mediums.

Too often companies dive straight in, relying on random status updates as their social media strategy. Getting thousands of ‘likes’ on Facebook is only half the battle – creating an engaging and compelling space for those who like what your brand is doing and how you are building a relationship with them, is actually a much better measure of successful social media outreach.

Essentially, poor engagement and irrelevant content will put people off your brand. Too much (and too little!) communication and overtly ‘sales-y’ content will alienate your fans. Here are a few tips on how to successfully engage with your audience:

  • Encourage your customers to share their experiences – ensure you have this capability on any great deal pages
  • Provide interesting and useful content worth reading! This will encourage your fans to respond to you and share the content with their friends
  • Be engaging and helpful with your fans – always respond through the medium they contacted you on
  • Avoid too much direct marketing in your content as this will put people off
  • Ensure you always enable the click through from a specific deal to the correct page on your site
  • Make your profile unique- it goes without saying that standing out will make you memorable! Try apps and competitions to engage your fans
  • Most importantly, don’t make social media a silo strategy for your company. Use it to compliment your wider strategic outreach and content plans

In regards to the general consumer, they often don’t care a great deal about the actual brand; they care about the product or service you offer and their relationship with you. They will often ‘like’ their favourite brands on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to receive discounts, deals and offers.

However, Social Media Today reported that according to a recent survey, the reason a luxury consumer engages with his or her favourite brand via social media is vastly different than those of the general population.  Consumers in the US earning at least $200,000 a year, don’t care so much about discounts and deals, they follow their favourite brands for the simple reason they love the brand or have an affinity for it.

Regardless of the market, content should still be at the heart of all activity!

Facebook launches 'Studio' to showcase the best in social media campaigns

Last week, Facebook launched a brand new website aimed at crediting the best marketing campaigns executed across its vast social platform. The concept for Facebook Studio is simple: advertisers and marketers from around the world submit their campaigns to the site and users ‘like’ the ones they think are best. Once a campaign has received enough votes it will enter the Spotlight section of the site where it will be judged by a professional panel of creative directors from leading agencies around the world.

As well as crediting the best campaigns on Facebook, the site also aims to inspire and teach marketers how to get the most from their Facebook marketing activity. The site includes information, tutorials and FAQs on how brands can get the most from Facebook’s functionality.

What it tells us about Facebook

As well as being an extremely useful resource for figuring out how to remove page admins, update URLs and everything else you might need to do on Facebook, the site also tells us a lot about Facebook’s plans for the future.

For the last few months, Mark Zuckerberg and co have been developing ways to make it easier for brands to interact with customers on the site. Earlier this year, Sponsored Stories was launched, which allows brands to run PPC adverts containing information about how individual user’s friends have interacted or engaged with the brand. Facebook also launched mobile and local deals, which have made it easier for businesses to gain a mobile presence on the site.

Learning from the site

From a retailers perspective, the site features some amazing examples of great work that creative geniuses across the globe have contributed. My personal favourites are the 1Goal campaign and the BMW X3 mash up. Although some of the campaigns may be too ambitious for smaller brands to attempt, Facebook Studios lets everyone learn a great deal about why they are successful. So you can apply the same principles of success to your smaller campaign which might hopefully make your campaign a lot bigger than you’d originally planned!

A link builder’s guide to working with bloggers

As a ‘traditional’ PR professional who made the move to a purely digital role six months ago, working with bloggers had never been quite as important to me as it is now.  What I’ve learned at Leapfrogg, is that link building with blogs, especially the more influential ones, can be an extremely powerful way of gaining a stronger external link profile, as well as delivering the PR benefit from the coverage. Whilst traditional media still remains important, links from blogs can offer longer-lasting value as they tend to have a slower archive rate.

Approaching bloggers however is completely different to traditional media outlets. First of all, blogs are a labour of love; often written in spare time alongside a day job. Unless it’s a corporate blog, bloggers do not get paid for running their site and writing content, unlike professional journalists, meaning the approach must be much more personal. The most important thing is to demonstrate you have read the blog and know a bit about the writer, remember that bloggers are real people (not news sites!) and take the time to find out about the blog topics and audience.

Most recently, I’ve been working closely with mummy bloggers around a client’s nightwear launch and with travel and food blogs for a client specialising in tailor-made holidays.  This has included attending Travel Bloggers Unite, an annual travel blogger event.

So applying everything I have learnt in recent months, here are a few tips to consider when approaching bloggers. Whilst there might be guidelines specific to certain industries or sectors, I’d say the points below apply regardless of sector or blog topic:

  • The first rule of thumb is not to inundate bloggers with press releases, which they do get sent a lot of on a daily basis. They do not want to be treated as news feeds; they want their content to be unique and personal. However, a blog might be open to publishing your press release if you pay them to do so!
  • Bloggers are more often than not very open to selling their ‘retail space’ on their blogs for content that is relevant and useful for their readers. The preferred method is usually paid guest blogging, running over a number of months. This gives them a subscription based income and regular content onto their site and you get regular links from a relevant domain in return
  • Product reviews work very well for both bloggers and brands – who wouldn’t want to be sent free stuff! However, ensure the product you’re offering fits with the style and audience of the blog and make sure you’re offering bloggers products you genuinely believe in
  • For travel bloggers, press trips can still be few and far between, so if your blogger can get time away from work or their family, expect a positive response if you can offer bloggers places on one…and in return get a fair bit of coverage!  You have to bear in mind however, that your coverage will be honest and ‘as seen’ by the bloggers you send.  You can’t expect a glowing review just because they attended the press trip!
  • Competitions generally aren’t a great link building tactic as once they’ve run, the pages tend to be taken down (online magazine sites being an example). However, blog competitions stay archived and it’s a great way for bloggers to invite interaction from their readers and attract new ones
  • Honesty is key. If you’re speaking to a number of blogs about the same topic, tell them (they usually all know each other anyway!) and always follow through; if budgets are cut or the plans have changed tell the blogger – keep the relationship honest, open and nurtured

As with any media, establishing good relationships with bloggers is the basis to securing great results and being a successful editorial link builder!