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MTS Recap: If Marketers are in the Leverage Business, are Bloggers the Answer?

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A couple weeks ago I cruised over to Aspen for a quick, 36 hour Mountain Travel Symposium whirlwind. Now that the lessons have sunk in a bit more, here are my thoughts on what was shared.

I believe it was Ian Arthur of Intrawest that said it, but the quote (rather than the person who said it) stuck with me:

“Marketers are in the leverage business.”

While it’s a vague soundbite, I agree with most of the meanings that sentence can be tied to. Marketers leverage people, resources, principles, and media to transmit messages, analyze data, and influence behavior.

While I don’t believe this was spoken, I got the vibe he was piggybacking this comment on a popular topic from earlier in the conference: bloggers.

Leveraging Bloggers
I’m a blogger. It’s true. Though that can feel like a confession at times, it can be a powerful position to be in: a fact marketers are recognizing more and more.

One of the first sessions featured Krista Parry of POWDR and Anne Taylor Harzell to discuss how they’ve used bloggers to spread their messages and build their brand. A couple quick facts they shared:

  • 23% of travelers visit a blog for information on destinations
  • Visitors referred by Snowmamas posts at PCMR are 8x more likely to convert than other traffic.

And a couple tips:

  • The message bloggers share must be consistent with the rest of the brand.
  • Don’t leave them alone, help them do their jobs well.
  • Know how you are going to measure success before you start your blogger program.
  • Use visitor data to show geographically relevant posts to different website visits.

Once again, let me try to sum up their session in one paragraph: Bloggers have focused, authentic voices that customers can relate to. A blogger program can reward a resort with high quality website traffic, brand awareness, and brand loyalty.

One More Point
So, I have to mention one point I didn’t realize they were assuming until about half way though: they aren’t talking about finding bloggers and getting them to write for the brand, they’re talking about finding people who can write that fit the demographics they’re trying to reach, giving them unique experiences, and turning them into bloggers.

There are lots of great travel bloggers out there you could (and should) leverage for your brand, but looking beyond that group at people that you’d want to be a voice for your brand and giving them the tools, experiences, and motivation, to do so, it another thing entirely and a very smart move.

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