So you’ve now gathered a great list of local blogs to tell the brand story, let’s move on to the next step and talk about how you plan your activities to optimise engagement. Having a thorough campaign plan is the first step to success. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

A-list blog star or second tier blogger?

This is always a dilemma. When you’ve got a limited budget, you’ll always need to toss up between spending the majority of it on one or two a-list bloggers, or split it up between several second-tier ones. Those ‘celebrity bloggers’ are certainly highly influential in social circles, however, do not underestimate the power of second or third tier bloggers in your niche. Those smaller blogs which put their focus on a specialized niche might get the same cut-through as a top-tier blog, since they’re seen as ‘experts’ in their selected categories. Also, they might not have as much sponsored advertorial content or brand endorsement on site compared to the big guys, which plays a big part in determining how successful you can get in ‘soft selling’ your brand. Think about how you will receive the brand message when it’s published on a blog stuffed with paid editorials and ad banners plastered all over the sidebar and header. The ratio of paid content versus non-paid ones plays a big role physiologically to determine how much credibility or trust you can gain from your audience. It’s wise to engage a mix of top-tier blogs and mid-tier ones which are seen as authority in their niches.

Publishing date and time

Optimising your publishing date and time of your posts on each blog can make a massive difference to the campaign results and subsequently affect its ROI. Make sure you ask each blogger when their highest traffic day is and the best time to post within the day. Also, be careful with those blogs that automate their social shares so that all tweets and Facebook posts go out as soon as the content is published on blog. The peak traffic time on a blog might not coincide with the prime time people are active on social channels. All social channels are not born equal, too. For example, research suggested that Instagram use is at its peak on Sunday afternoon while Twitter gets peak traffic during weekdays. Getting to know the best date and time to post in each medium for each blog is the starting point of developing an effective campaign plan.

Multi channels targeting

While editorial posts are the main focus of your campaign, have a think about what other digital platforms the bloggers own that can leverage the brand message. Most bloggers have their own subscriber lists for eDM. Having the editorial post promoted in eDM helps drive the number of views to your post. Also ask if the bloggers can include a link to your client’s site straight from the eDM too. Having a banner ad on side bar running for a few weeks after the post has gone live is also another great way to boost post view, especially on blogs that get updated daily and your posts get buried in archive after a week or so. It might also be worthwhile putting aside a small budget to trial paid promotion on social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Stumble Upon.

Everybody loves freebies!

‘Freebies’ and ‘Giveaways’ are the buzzwords in the social space as much as in the real world. While giving away a little sample bag of goodies might not actually cost your client that much, you’ll be amazed by the power of freebies, even for something as insignificant as a water bottle, to attract ‘likes’ and shares like bees to honey. Try to incorporate giveaways or social competitions into your campaign plan. Get your clients to give out a gift voucher or a sample bag to the bloggers to share with their readers. This also serves as a smart link-bait activity as we all love to spread the words for any giveaways, or brag about it when we’re the lucky prize winner. Just make sure your giveaway is well executed so that it doesn’t turn into a bloodbath of snatching, pulling and elbowing like what happened when New York fashion designer Alexander Wang staged an undisclosed all-for-free event:

[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd2Jkv7yyVg”]