In the past six years the online “blogosphere” has exploded. Mums, fashionistas, professional travellers, and even cats are blogging these days. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish who the movers and shakers are, but Lorraine Murphy has them picked and she’s sharing her knowledge with some of Australia’s most prominent businesses.
Murphy launched Australia’s first blogger-only agency, The Remarkables Group, in May 2012 and business has boomed. Having worked in PR and communications strategy for eight years, Murphy started to notice clients were keen to work with bloggers and vice versa, but neither party knew how to communicate with each other.
For the first four months, Murphy spent her time educating brands about how to benefit from relationships with bloggers, as Australian companies were still “catching up with the United States and the United Kingdom”.
When the business started last year Murphy had five bloggers on board, now The Remarkables is composed of 15 bloggers from diverse backgrounds and sectors and works with companies such as Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Woolworths, Wotif and Toyota.
The Remarkables turned over $1 million in its first year and Murphy spoke to SmartCompany about finding the right staff, burning out and forging a new business in an unknown environment.
Name: Lorraine Murphy
Company: The Remarkables Group
Location: Surry Hills, NSW
Six months ago Murphy was all about work, but she quickly realised things needed to change.
“My mornings are very different to what they would have been three to six months ago.
“In March I was just exhausted, I don’t like to think of it as a burn out, but I realised I needed some balance,” she says.
Now, Murphy rises at 5am – and she confirms this early start is actually relaxing.
“I have recently been learning qigong tai chi, and I do that when I wake up and I meditate as well, which I find really powerful for myself.
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“Then I get to the gym at 6.30am and I’m in the office at 8.15am. It makes such a difference – I get home at 10pm and I’m still going,” she says.
In just over a year, The Remarkables has grown from just Murphy to a team of five, and with this growth, Murphy says her role has changed dramatically.
“I’m not as involved in the day-to-day implementation anymore and I also recently hired a business development manager,” she says.
“I focus on client relationships. I oversee the relationships with our clients and bloggers. I’d like to spend more time on building the business – I have a lot of ideas and want more time to bring them to life.”
When The Remarkables launched, Murphy was fortunate to have good relationships with three bloggers who went on to be part of her initial group of five.
“They introduced me to another two bloggers and then to get to the next ten it was a mixture of bloggers approaching us and then I also had a few on my radar who I approached.”
For each campaign launched with a blogger and a client, Murphy sets KPIs with targets for how many people they want to reach.
“There are a few different ways we measure the success of a campaign, but we don’t look after advertising. Our focus is the blogger using their voice to talk about the brands. This can be in the form of sponsored posts once or twice a week.
“The second way is content creation where the blogger creates content for the brand channel,” she says.
Hair Romance blogger Christina creates regular content for the Schwarzkopf website and Murphy says her posts are designed to attract the everyday woman.
“The idea wasn’t for it to be all fancy schmancy, instead she tries out styles on her own hair,” she says.
Hair Romance posts step-by-step tutorials showing readers how to construct the hair styles themselves. Murphy says this has resulted in a 200% increase in traffic to Schwarzkopf’s website.
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