BlogFrog Shows The Power of Women Bloggers But Trust Critical As Influencer Marketing Programs Rise In Popularity

BlogFrog has developed a platform that would not be possible without women bloggers.

The platform, which the company is unveiling this week, is based upon a network of 100,000 women that BlogFrog markets to brands that use it to develop social marketing campaigns that connect blogs, brand sites and their properties on social networks.

Here’s how it works. Bloggers are tracked and measured according to their social media influence. The platform tracks the posts that bloggers craft. Comments are managed through a BlogFrog widget that allows moderation and distribution of reader comments. Blog posts and reader comments can then be distributed to the customer’s own web page which is usually a branded asset of some kind that is marketing consumer products.

Customers of BlogFrog’s software as a service (SaaS) get reporting on the campaigns through a realtime dashboard that tracks impressions, unique visitors, reach, links, social actions (votes and likes), replies, clicks, and shares.

Shifts in society have forced marketers to interact differently than they did in an age when there was no online medium for women to express themselves.  As noted in a recent BlogHer study, women bloggers say writing a blog gives them a fuller sense of self. That’s true of many bloggers I know.  If you believe what you write then it is only natural for it to have an impact on the way you view yourself. What these women bloggers write is not lost on people who read these blogs.  They relate to the way bloggers express themselves. According to BlogHer, 98% of women surveyed said they trust the information that they get from blogs.

BlogFrog is banking on three converging trends that puts the blogger in a central role as influencer but also as a sort of brand ambassador:
  • A shift from advertising to social marketing: Advertising dollars are shifting to campaigns that leverage blogs and social media networks such as Facebook and Pinterest.  This means more money for people who write blogs on topics of importance to brands.
  • Content marketing: Content that is developed by people with sway – influencers as they are often called.
  • More sophisticated social marketing tools that are being used by public relations companies and marketers. How much bloggers get paid is determined by the return on investment they provide.

Influencer marketing is a hot trend. Services like Klout, Traackr and SocMetrics are examples of companies that have emerged in the space.

I am a bit skeptical of influencer marketing.  It is a form of pay-to-play, which has been on the rise. It leads to questions about the  independence of the blogger. Are they writing for their community or the brand?

Bloggers can get paid very well. BlogFrog says it has paid out about $500,000 to bloggers this year. That’s a lot of money. And the purse will only increase over time as advertising budgets go increasingly to social campaigns.

BlogFrog will be extending its reach into other markets such as tech and gaming. It just formed a major partnership with Meredith Publishing which selected BlogFrog as its influencer marketing platform of choice.

The stakes are only going to get higher. But we need to be careful not to lose sight of why bloggers have become so important. It’s their independence that matters. If we forget that, bloggers will be viewed nothing more than shills for big corporations.