Global brands scramble to use Norwich blogger platform

Byron Rawlings of The Blogger Programme, based in White Space, St James Mill, Norwich. Photo: Steve

Byron Rawlings of The Blogger Programme, based in White Space, St James Mill, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Some of the largest brands in the fashion world have partnered with a Norwich start-up which gives access to bloggers with significant online influence.

The Blogger Programme, set up by under a year ago, currently allows fashion brands such as The Body Shop, River Island and Ted Baker to find bloggers to promote their products, and is looking to expand into other areas such as hotels and restaurants.

A blogger (a mix of the words 'web' and 'log') is someone who shares interests such as fashion or poetry on their site to gain a fanbase of like-minded followers.

Byron Rawlings, founder of The Blogger Programme, said brands had started to realise top bloggers have special access to specific markets.

'Some years ago blogging had only really just started,' said Mr Rawlings. 'Now, these bloggers have a ready-made audience who read them all the time, and brands have realised it's just one click away.'

Mr Rawlings said he spotted the demand after leaving a marketing job to set up his own social media business, Social Network Solutions, at St James' Mill in Norwich.

With more than 12,000 bloggers and 650 brands signed up to his latest venture, the 31-year-old said he was amazed there was little competition out there.

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'There's a company in America doing it, but they've only got about 3,000 bloggers signed up,' said Mr Rawlings. 'The sky's the limit really, I'd like to look at hotels and restaurants – blogger outreach can be done in almost anything.'

The website allows bloggers and brands to create and search for profiles, with bloggers promoting products on behalf of brands either for their own enjoyment or, in some cases, a 10pc of sales return.

In the next few months, the Diss-born businessman will take on two new staff in addition to the four currently working on the Blogger Programme, and implement an analytics dashboard software to monitor blogger performance more closely.

'Some people have compared it to a dating website for business', he said. 'But the audience is not just a young one, it's getting older as bloggers get older as well.'

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