By: Adam Japko
I am relieved to only be slightly confused about the intensity of sponsor and exhibitor support for the expanded community of design bloggers and social media enthusiasts that came to Atlanta in 2015 to attend the Design Bloggers Conference. I once thought I fully grasped why this group of bloggers and content-friendly designers were commanding increasing levels of attention from luxury home design marketers. Until these past few weeks, I had totally overlooked one significant underlying factor; designers that blog are “golden.”
In the beginning (circa 2005) when luxury-minded citizens with a penchant for design and designers with an aptitude for content creation launched their blogs, stars were born and audiences were built. The sheer power of blogger reach and influence were fascinations to public relations professionals and traditional media practitioners. Slowly, and just on their heels, national brands and manufacturers started catching on, realizing that the power of design professional content marketing is a force to leverage.
We always suspected that bloggers and social media mavens could move the needle for national brands….simply by looking at their audience size and reach. To support that point, here is some profile data I shared in Atlanta about the attendees of the 2015 Design Bloggers Conference compared to national shelter magazines:
While blogs turned into launching pads for some early movers, savvy marketing-oriented designers determined to be part of the future got active. In the face of the worst housing driven economic crisis in modern history, serious interior designers dove into blogging and social networking en masse to try and power their businesses and networks. While audiences were created and a few more star power brands launched, something new was happening; design professionals creating content witnessed associated business growth and felt the power of these newly found digital marketing tools.
Web traffic grew for designers that hosted once lifeless websites, other design pros starting sharing and quoting designers’ blogs, and everyone had a story or two to tell about projects they landed through social media and blogging. Here is some data from HubSpot comparing businesses that blog with businesses that don’t blog:
Still, I was overlooking a critical piece about what the design blogger community has become today and why designers and bloggers that come to the Design Bloggers Conference are so attractive to brands and manufacturers. The fact is, these designers are serious about their businesses. More than most. They invest in marketing. With hundreds of design events attracting throngs of designers at all levels of experience, commitment, and staying power…..design bloggers are different and show it by making the ultimate marketing commitment of time and money over the long haul.
Designers that blog are golden; to themselves and the brands they work with. They outlast downturns and prosper in strong economic periods. They will move the most product for luxury design brands and manufacturers now, and over the long haul. They think big, invest in their businesses, and market hard while staying open to new technology and shifts in the ways business is conducted. A really straight forward McKinsey article on business longevity declares the “causes of business demise—of a failure to endure—are well documented at a general level. They include…above all an inability to deal with new, often disruptive, technological innovations.” Design businesses that blog and work the right social networks have the characteristics of successful business operators…the top 10% of all performers in their industry.
That’s the part I was missing about why the Design Blogger Conference community is so attractive to our sponsors; attendees are characteristic and part of the top 10% of of the interior design community. Sponsors always find a way to tell us that our attendees are at a quality level they don’t find in similar concentrations at other design events. Understanding that designers that blog are golden, makes it much clearer why brands and manufacturers want to stay close to them.