Having a plan in place that tracks and measures blogger outreach results is what separates the good marketers from the “meh” marketers. And you don’t want to be a meh marketer….

Bloggers are niche focused unlike traditional publications which has given brands a lot of room to refine and experiment in terms of forming creative partnerships to showcase their products and services. One may argue, too much wiggle room. Too many niches to try and  a variety of post tactics to score.

At the end of the day many marketers are left wondering, am I spending my time with the right bloggers? Is my outreach strategy doing the best it can?

Soft Metrics

Soft metrics are the stats that we look at to see if a piece of content is popular. Popular doesn’t always mean it converts, though so while we want to know if a blog post is being shared and viewed it doesn’t necessarily tell marketers that it is causing actual brand lift.

These metrics include things like:

  • Social shares
  • Traffic to post
  • Link clicks

Hard Metrics

While soft metrics are important to track and tell us the basics, hard metrics let us know if a creative partnership is benefiting a brand in terms of conversion or tangible ROI.

For the most part, marketers look at Google Analytics to see which earned posts are bringing traffic to their brand and from there dive in deeper to see if traffic from different sources “converts.” Or takes a certain action like buying a product online or signing up for a newsletter or something specific that gets tracked past a simple traffic stat.

For example, an online t-shirt company pairs with 10 bloggers to get mentions of their new t-shirts with pictures of pandas on them. Google Analytics can tell the marketer from the t-shirt company how much traffic each blogger brought the company. But more importantly, marketers can also see which of those bloggers sent traffic that purchased t-shirts.

For the t-shirt company, one blogger may bring 500 new people to the online store and 100 may buy t-shirts. Another blogger may bring 300 people and 150 of those may buy tshirts. So you can see the value in measuring traffic from a blog to your site past soft metrics like simple traffic!

For my team here at GroupHigh, we consider a conversion someone who registers for a trial of our software. There have been many bloggers that we have partnered with that have brought thousands of visitors to our site but the conversion rate is low so I always put the most emphasis on conversion rate when I refine my partnerships.

Sentiment of Posts

Was your earned media popular because people were complaining about your brand or saying that your post was awesome?

Numbers don’t tell us how consumers feel. Their comments do. What they write when they tweet or post on Facebook tells us.

To get sentiment and overall consumer attitude you need human eyes on the engagement of your posts. This means watching your social channels and reading through social channels.

Sentiment is harder to report on or convey but I’m sure you can see where it’s crucial?

I’ve seen some brands have a column in their spread sheet that includes their hard and soft metrics and then allows them to also rank sentiment from 1-5 and this column ins obviously manually updated whereas the others can be streamlined.

Locate, Track, Refine and Redo

Once you’ve made your pretty graphics, presented at your team meeting, checked your earned posts for consumer attitude and have looked at your overall data re-arrange it in different categories.

  • Brand lift per individual blogger
  • Which niches seem to create the best brand engagement?
  • Pick your top three bloggers? What do they have in common?
  • What channels do your earned posts do best on?

Take this information after every quarter, campaign, strategy, etc. and refine your next round of blogger outreach based off what you find. You’ll find that the more you track and measure the higher your response and engagement rates. Your collection of gold stars for your awesome work will be huge!

What metrics do you prioritize when you are analyzing your marketing relationships with bloggers?