Aditi Garg

Have you ever looked up a hotel or restaurant online before you booked a room or a table? Chances are you have and what you are most likely to have stumbled across is a range of blogs offering opinions to give you a fair idea of what you are in for. More often than not, we end up following blogs that display tastes similar to ours, letting them influence what and where we choose to eat, wear, stay, go and in general make up our mind about a range of things.

Power of blogosphere

Blogs are no longer just personal whims rather these are now thriving businesses and bloggers who are good at what they do are raking in the moolah through affiliate blogging and advertising. Riddhima Garg, a final-year student hailing from Ambala and staying as a paying guest in Delhi, says, "When I came to Delhi, I was clueless about everything from clothes to accessories and happening places. That was when blogs became by buddies. I now dedicatedly follow a few of fashion, food and event blogs that fill in the latest. The best part is being asked for advice by others!" Many people now have their favourite bloggers and to be on their to-do or to-buy list as a brand, you need to be worthy of a feature.

Connect to reality

Devina Malhotra, who runs the blog Guiltybytes, says, "Our readers connect with our decisions because we are real people talking about the products and things they care to know about. For affiliate marketing campaigns, we use disclaimers. Lot of companies approach us for feedback and we try to be as objective as possible when presenting them to an audience." Bloggers are aware that the way to get maximum followers is to showcase variety, blog about each product as honestly as possible, offer value for time they spend on the blog and do it with style.

Blogs are an increasingly powerful tool that uses not just content, but images, videos, sound bytes and gifts to create a loyal fan following.

Dropping names

A peek into most of the blogs reveals that even the most general posts feature a couple of, if not more, brands, services or products. All a blogger needs to do is insert an innocuous mention of a wonderful stay at a new bed and breakfast, amazing service at the new pizzeria or a great new miracle cream and it is enough to send people scampering to get their hands on it. The blog Little Black Book enjoys a clout in Delhi that is envied by most bloggers. A place in its hallowed posts is sure to get you noticed. Featuring on a popular blog gives brands instant online presence with their target audience.

Shalini Chopra of StylishByNature asserts that blogging has revolutionised people's approach to fashion and e-commerce has aided this change. Blogs can influence brands in a big way, she feels. People are ready to experiment more and are readily moving out of their comfort zone. Online shopping portals allow them access to things in the smallest of towns that were elusive earlier. Not just awareness about things, blogs enable people to see things differently. Mainstream fashion gets equal competition with bloggers showing people different looks that they can recreate at home.

Influence in numbers

8 According to Tecnnorati, there are about 8 million blogs worldwide.

7.4 A new blog is created every 7.4 seconds.

9/10 Research Now conducted a study that found that about 9/10 consumers buy a product or service after reading about it on a blog. 

18-34 Blogs are the most important influencer when it comes to buying for those in the age group of 18-34. 

57 A HubSpot study says that 57 per cent marketers acquired customers via blogging. 

88 Businesses that sell directly to customers generate 88 per cent more leads per month if they blog. 

81 81 per cent of online buyers in US rely on blog advice for purchases and 61 per cent have bought something recommended by a blogger, according to BlogHer.

77 The West Programme says that 77 per cent of internet users read blogs.

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