A fantastic new opportunity exists for furniture retailers (and manufacturers) to partner with design bloggers who are writing with passion about furniture and interior design.
There are literally thousands of design blogs being written now, many with hundreds of thousands of unique site visitors a month, and some with just 100 site visitors a month, but that doesn’t matter. A reader of a design blog is someone who more than likely loves design and furniture loves the point-of-view of that blogger and dreams of having a beautiful home—and these readers are potentially a rich source of customers for your stores or products!
What Can Bloggers Help You Do:
- Create general brand awareness about who you are, and what you do through writing about your store or your products.
- Drive traffic to your website—this can be accomplished through a variety of means—ads on their site, sponsored blog posts, specially created content, sponsoring their weekly e-newsletter to their readers, giveaways, contests, etc.
- Drive traffic into your stores through sponsored blog posts that include coupons, planning events with you and using their blogs and email lists to drive traffic to your in-store event.
Context: Who Are The Design Bloggers? What Are Their Goals?
The vast majority of design bloggers today blog out of their passion for design and furniture, not for money. However, an increasing amount of design bloggers are, indeed, looking for ways to monetize their blogs and/or create business opportunities for themselves so they can devote more or their time to their true passion—design, furniture and all things home!
Most design bloggers fall into three categories:
Working professional designers who are blogging to attract new clients and other new business opportunities such as speaking engagements, getting their work seen by publishers, licensing opportunities, etc.
Professional bloggers about design (their blog is a primary source of income) who accept various forms of ads on their blogs—which can take different forms, such as banner ads, sponsored blog posts, giveaways and contests.
Design bloggers who simply blog about design out of their love for design and furniture but who do not accept ads on their blogs—though their blogs can and do create other types of business opportunities for them such as sponsored trips, speaking engagements, guest blogging opportunities for magazines or e-newsletters, etc.
Each of these three categories of bloggers share one thing in common important to you—a community of devoted readers. They are the new editors. Their readers are heavily influenced by their point-of-view and what they are showcasing on their blogs. These readers can be your potential customers and there are millions of them in the aggregate.
THE NEXT 5 STEPS:
- Develop a blogger relations campaign. Figure out who is blogging about design and furniture in your trading areas.
- Subscribe through your RSS reader to their blog, “like” the Facebook Page for their blog, follow them on Twitter, read the comments on each post and pay attention to the visual aspect of their content—does it seem to fit in with what you have to sell?
For bloggers, their most important consideration is always their readers expectations-they have deep and real relationships with their reader communities and their readers come first-not their advertisers. Even if they are in the business of making money off of their blogs, their readers come first because they know that the most valuable currency they have with their readers is trust. They will do nothing for money that will violate their readers trust in their editorial integrity. Therefore, you have to make sure that your product and your store’s image is consistent with what they share with their readers or else you will get turned down—regardless of money.
- Once you’ve identified the bloggers, followed and listened to them for a time, determine which of the above categories they fall into and plan your strategy accordingly.
- Before the first email or phone call, figure out, too, what that blogger might need (besides your money) that would be a value add to them—this will go a long way in establishing trust and goodwill when opening up your initial dialogue.
- Once you know what your goals are and what you believe you might be able to do for the blogger in return, send them an email to open up the dialogue. If it’s a professional blogger that accepts ads on their site, they will have media kits that you can request and they expect that request—it’s normal.
Once the dialogue is open, everything is up for discussion. Design bloggers are tremendously creative and collaborative by nature and, when treated with respect for the design editors are, will find all kinds of unique and interesting ways to help you achieve your goals and reach their readers—your potential buyers!
What could be better than that?
Leslie Carothers is President of The Kaleidoscope Partnership— a social media agency for the home furnishings and related industries. She has been working in the furniture and interior design business for the past 29 years and works with companies and tradeshows in the home furnishings and related industries to strategize, create, train and execute on social media campaigns that drive their profits.
Leslie is also a well known micro-blogger on Twitter on design and furniture related topics where she is known as @tkpleslie. She is the founder of the #GetPublished chat on twitter which brings interior designers, bloggers, editors, magazines and book publishers together monthly to discuss all aspect of getting published and she also manages a vibrant online discussion forum on LinkedIn for furniture and design professionals with over 700 members currently participating.