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If you’re responsible for your company’s PR efforts and you haven’t gotten around to engaging bloggers yet, there’s no better time than the present. Bloggers have become just as important (and in some cases more important) as traditional journalists to help grow brand awareness for your organization.

Here’s how bloggers add value:

Strong advocates. Don’t get us wrong – traditional media professionals can be wonderful advocates, but bloggers have fewer rules to live by and can generally be more honest about their own preferences. If they like your company or product, they’ll be your best cheerleader and that sincerity comes shining through. Because bloggers tend to cater to specific demographics and narrow topic areas, they can influence just the right audience for your brand. Does it work? Research shows it does! According to Research Now, 84 percent of consumers have purchased items based on recommended products in blogs.

A loyal audience built on trust. Mid-level influencers such as bloggers may have a smaller audience than traditional or paid media, but they also drive a whopping 16 times more engagement than their counterparts. Furthermore, studies have found that at least 81 percent of the digital population trusts advice from the bloggers they follow. In fact, blogs count as one of the top five sources of trustworthy information.

Superb outreach. In general, bloggers excel at pushing out their posts. They build relationships with other like-minded bloggers and feature each other’s posts on their blogs. Most successful bloggers are also masters at utilizing social media to further engage their audience and create the opportunity for their content to go “viral.”

Build SEO. When a blogger reviews and hopefully recommends your product, most of the time they will include a link back to the product page on your website. Since they have superb outreach (and we’re sure you do too) you’ll gain some great SEO from each mention.

Giveaways. If you have a product you’d like to give away via a contest, bloggers are especially good at getting their readers excited about the prospect of winning something. Doing giveaways is a fantastic way to increase engagement with your target audience since it can require them to do something in order to win. For example, you can ask them to interact via social media (tweet a branded hashtag for a chance to win!). The vast majority of the time, bloggers tend to be very flexible with the brand’s giveaway requirements.

Now that you know, do some research on the bloggers that cater to your industry and audience segment. A simple Google search will get you started. Reach out, engage with them and work your PR magic.