A loyal audience is an audience who trusts the blogger that they follow. This trust leads to behavior that is optimal for marketers as a loyal audience takes a bloggers brand recommendation seriously and is far more likely to act on said recommendation.
Naturally, we marketers and PR pros want to find these bloggers with these succulent loyal followings. And get these bloggers to like us, love us even. After all, they’ve already done the work for us by cultivating a group of people who fall in to the same nice that our target consumer does.
It all sounds great and we set off on an outreach campaign with enthusiasm and optimism. Smiling and whistling around the office.
But it often halts and cheerful whistling in the halls is replaced with scowls when we realize how hard it can be to find bloggers with a loyal audience. It’s not that their not abundant, it’s that we often have no idea whether or not their audience is loyal or just curious or maybe even indifferent to the bloggers words.
It’s always a rude awakening when we discover that bloggers don’t come with a loyalty score. That their audience hasn’t been poked and prodded with some sort of instrument in order to acquire this “loyalty data” we’re after. Bummer.
So no, we can’t put a measurement on loyalty.
While there is no loyalty score, there a few data points and facts that can help us estimate which bloggers have a loyal following.
Here are some “loyalty indicators” that we can gather and throw in to one big picture so we can gauge audience loyalty for a list of bloggers we may want to work with. Please keep in mind that these indicators do not apply to every single blogger, they are just the best way we have to estimate loyalty as of now.
Note that the majority of bloggers also have an active social media presence so we’ll investigate these channels as well as their blog to gather their loyalty indicators.
Twitter Follower Ratio: The Twitter Follower Ratio is the number of followers a person has divided by the number of people following them.
So, if their score is lower than 1 they may be mass following people to get them to follow them back. Usually not real authentic following is going on.
Comments: Read the comments at the end of the blogger’s post. Is the blogger responding to comments? Are they engaging with their audience? This is one of the biggest factors that tells us whether or not the audience has a loyal relationship with the blogger.
Social Shares: Readers share something they like. There is also the whole psychological piece that if someone shares a piece of content, even if they didn’t write it, they are still taking responsibility for whether or not it sucks or contains a poor message.
Thus, people are only going to share posts and words from people who write content that is good enough to be shared and from people they trust.
Social Media Followers: So yes, there are all kinds of ways to “cheat the system” when it comes to the number of social media followers.
But for the most part, I like to believe people are being honest more times than not. So taking in to consideration the number of followers an influencer has tells us how many people like them enough to keep receiving their words.
MozRank: MozRank takes a bunch of factors in to consideration. One of the biggest factors contributing to a blog’s MozRank is the number of QUALITY inbound links. Thus, if other blogs and sites are linking to a blogger’s post than they must be a pretty reliable source. And audiences love reliability.
Consistency of Posting: Is the blogger posting twice a month or almost every day? To retain an audience, a good blogger posts at least twice a week to keep the attention of their audience and to continually provide useful information. An audience isn’t going to be as faithful to a blogger who gives them sporadic or inconsistent information…
What Are We Going to Do With All These Loyalty Indicators?
If you are a GroupHigh user, you can look at all of these metrics for a list of bloggers in one simple grid. If you are not a GroupHigh user, this information can be manually found and you can enter it in to a spread sheet.
Whatever your method, gather this data and look your loyalty indicators as an entire picture when you’re determining which bloggers you’re going to contact.
So while we can’t measure audience loyalty, it is something that can certainly be gauged and estimates will give us the validation we need to continue on down the blogger outreach path with confidence.
How do you gauge whether or not a blogger has a loyal audience? Cheers to a good discussion in the comments below.