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BlogOn founder Laura Seaton talks the strengthening ties between bloggers and toys

I have been attending the London Toy Fair for the last six years and over those years I have really noticed a change in the industry and how receptive thy are to working with influencers.

Influencer marketing used to be an afterthought, but now it is being built into marketing plans and budgets, As well as the BlogOn conference and toy awards, I organise blogger outreach for lot of different members of the toy industry and have worked to launch new products into the market co-ordinating blog posts, video reviews, social media posts and twitter parties.

All of this was built into the initial launch plan for these products and coincided with more traditional marketing, Seeing the toy industry embrace influencer marketing in this way is amazing and it is becoming more common.

As more companies realise that in order to reach their target market they will have to add to their current mix, working with influencers can really bring a good return on investment in terms of brand and product awareness. The bigger companies have seen the real advantages of this type of marketing and I expect more smaller, niche companies to follow suit and utilise it to help in their marketing activities.

Of course, there are lots of awards out there and they all have their positive points, but I find that parent bloggers have a unique perspective on toys. As a community we test a lot of products for quality, value for money and if they are fit for purpose.

When we launched last year, we wanted to create a set of awards that would be open for all companies no matter the size of their marketing budget. They are also a great way of showcasing a huge variety of toys in front of this influential community, which helps to raise awareness of the products.

When we launched the awards last year, we were unsure if they would be successful but we have had a lot of support from the toy industry at the events for the five years, so we hoped for the best.

We were amazed to have had over 200 entries in our very first year. We launched last year with just 10 categories but with some guidance from members of the industry, we have expanded to 15 to allow more choice when companies are submitting entries.

We hope to see these awards really grow and in the future we would even like to see some sort of awards ceremony where we could hand the trophies to the winners in person.

To enter the BlogOn Toy Awards please visit the BlogOn website https://blogonuk.com/blogon-toy-awards/

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