By Kevin Dixie, Managing Director, Fuel My Website

We’ve all read the articles about how you can use your own blog to market your business, but how about using other peoples’ blogs to market it too?

Consumers are increasingly checking Google (or any other search engine) in order to get extra background on businesses before making a buying decision. This is especially true for newly launched e-commerce websites and lesser known brands: consumers want reassurance that a site is trustworthy, that other customers have bought from it and that there is help if they are in need of assistance.

There are millions of people blogging daily or weekly about all manner of things. They blog about their favourite food, cars or technology – some even blog about what they wear every day. These bloggers have an online voice, in an open environment. Their findings can influence the buying decisions of their readers and the rich content of their blogs is like honey to a bear for Google and Bing. Search engines value blog content highly and blogs can give long term benefits in terms of SEO for your brand or product.

Bloggers should been seen as potential customers, and treated like members of the press. They are possibly more influential – and relevant to your market – than many journalists. A quality blog review can deliver many visits to your website. And importantly, there are many quality blog reviewers to approach, giving you far more opportunities than with the mainstream press.

So how does all this look for a potential new customer? Wherever possible, people will choose to buy from someone who has been recommended by friends or family; failing that they look to Google and search for a relevant brand. If your business has no-one talking about it, how will new customers be able to determine that you are what you say you are? Having bloggers talk about you not only enables initial coverage, it also helps Google position these reviews alongside your website when it appears in search results.

Such is the power of the blogosphere, it’s no surprise that a number of businesses have sprung up offering to connect brands to relevant bloggers. Our service, Fuelmywebsite.com helps SMEs reach bloggers through our 40,000-strong blogger community. Businesses decide which product they are willing to put in the hands of bloggers in return for a full review. This not only highlights SME products and services, it also generates fresh content from a customer perspective.

Bloggers will only apply to your campaign (the marketing of your product) if they are interested in the service or product in the first place, and if it is relevant to their lifestyle. They receive no money and will blog in their own words about their own experience with your business, based on the quality of the product and on the service they have received.

SMEs use Fuelmywebsite.com to incorporate reviews in their testimonial pages; they use the opportunity to engage with bloggers on Twitter and put a link to the reviews on their Facebook page. Blog coverage is both a powerful validation and a great SEO tool. While reviews may not generate a huge surge of traffic or instant sales, a campaign is a fast track ticket to the blogosphere and will give your online presence a significant boost.

You can follow Kevinon Twitter @kevindixie