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As reported by Social Media Examiner, new research in Technorati Media’s 2013 Digital Influence Report has found that blogs are more influential than social networks to consumers when making purchase decisions.

Whilst findings show that blogs are not the most influential digital resource, with retail and branding sites having the highest impact on consumer purchases (56% and 34%, respectively), they ranked third at 31.1%, above platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and forums.

Why Listen to Bloggers?

A reason for this is that blogs are considered to be unbiased and reliable sources of information; that is, unsponsored, personal blogs that have no affiliation to the products and services they review are thought to be trustworthy, and as stated by Social Media Examiner, ‘trust drives action’.

This particularly holds true in the case of specialist blogs with an in-depth knowledge of a particular industry or product range; 54% of consumers surveyed agreed that ‘the smaller the community, the greater the influence’.

As bloggers are trusted to deliver value, and feedback that their followers can find relevant, their content doesn’t just reach an audience, but is taken in and factored in their future decisions. Therefore it is not their reach that matters, but the power of this reach; a small sample of followers who actively engage with and listen to a blogger’s opinion is more valuable than one with a huge, but uninvolved, audience.

Destination Blogging

Following these findings, what can DMOs do to take advantage of the blogger’s clout? As mentioned, the key reason consumers listen to what blogs have to say is that they are providing impartial and honest opinions to their readers. Thus it is important not to lose this feeling of authenticity and passion by starting a ‘company blog’.

A great example of how blogging can be used to generate exposure for a destination is Tourism Flanders’ ‘Flanders is a Festival’ blog trip and competition project, as detailed in the Digital Tourism Think Tank’s Spotlight article. Additionally, our tête-à-tête feature with the Emilia Romagna and Visit Sweden tourist boards provides a direct contrast of approaches that can be taken, including some more great insights into the process and strategy behind using travel bloggers to influence others.

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