Fashion Blogging is Big Business
There was a time when blogging was something that people did as a pastime. These days, no matter what bloggers say, they are in it for something – freebies, money or a step up the ladder. Fashion blogging is big business and there is plenty of money to be had.
Fashion bloggers have literally blogged their way to the front row of some of the most exclusive runway shows. Writing in web slang, posting pictures online and uploading images of food on to Instagram have proven to be a powerful method for gaining celebrity-like status in an industry that is so highly competitive.
Not only are bloggers leveraging their online spaces to self-promote and brand themselves but they are using their followers as bait to reel in the big brands too.
The rising popularity of social media and increasing dependence on online technology has opened a new world of marketing on the runway. Fashion blogging is not so much about journalism but about being an influence on real women (and men). The fact that they feature selfies in outfits that they personally styled on their blog has become big business in the fashion world. They are the new marketing machines, taking on multiple roles to fulfill the needs of brands in the fashion industry.
Fashion and beauty brands are dipping their feet in the world of blog-brand partnerships over the web. After all, why spend millions on a TV campaign when they can reach out to bloggers who have a uniquely deep engagement and influence over the price of a product?
Bloggers have become so influential that brands would rather work with bloggers than pay for a tweet for a celebrity. The ROI is much higher and it comes at a relatively low price compared to some other markets.
For influential bloggers, sponsorships can be more lucrative than display ads alone, with payments reaching into the thousands for a multi-pronged campaign stretching over weeks or months. For the brands, it’s a way to market more conversationally to potential customers as well as exert more control over search engine results.
As many bloggers reach niche markets, brands can advertise to specific types of consumers through these third party platforms. This is known as affiliate marketing. Bloggers endorse a company’s products using various techniques and in turn, receive a cut of the sales generated through their websites. Affiliate marketing is becoming popular and it is a mutually beneficial system. For retailers, it is a great way to drive sales among specific demographics. For bloggers, it drives web traffic and offers an income on commission, known as costs per click (CPC). Traffic relayed to retailers’ websites from blog links runs on 30-day cookies, which makes it possible to track transactions made on the sites for up to 30 days. If a purchase is made within that timeframe, the blogger will be credited between 4%-12% of the value of each sale, depending on the brand awareness of the retailer.
Lesser known brands will have to offer higher incentives to bloggers, but it may be worth their while. Affiliate marketing can account for as high as a 25% increase in sales, once the affiliate marketing program is in place.
Bloggers can easily become brand ambassadors once they establish themselves, and for brands, it can be like having a personal sales team. Given the potential increase in revenue, affiliate marketing is highly cost effective. Fashion brands will usually advertise on blogs with 10,000 visitors or more per month, because it allows them to reach a larger audience. But smaller blogs with less traffic may have a more fervent following and thus, still be viable advertising opportunities. Many companies have found that blogs directed to smaller niche markets had better returns in terms of CPC campaigns. When bloggers have cult-like followings, they exercise a huge influence on their visitors, which is a huge appeal to brands that fall within this market.
It is essential for bloggers to maintain credibility with their audience to have continued marketing appeal. Once they have found their point of view, they must remain consistent. If a blog on accessories suddenly reviews nothing but dresses, the blog loses credibility and visitors will start looking elsewhere. Bloggers also need to maintain a presence on their platforms to keep their audiences engaged. In general, active bloggers post three to four times a week. This consistency is a guarantee to advertisers that a blogger is committed to their work and thus, not a risky investment.
Even with the surge in collaborations with bloggers, the traditional online display ad is not going away. Ads can reinforce a campaign with other, more interactive elements. When brands ask bloggers to create custom content around their brand or product, they typically run banner ads on the sites at the same time. For contests, ads on blogs can spur users to create content that spreads virally around the web, create engagement and increase followers on E-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other sites.
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, Corporate Media.