I had the pleasure to be a part of a Social Media Panel as a part of Cincinnati PRSA Media Day. The panel included Jory Des Jardins, Co-Founder, President of Strategic Alliances, BlogHer; Jon Cronin, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy, DeVries and Michelle Lentz, Blogger, Write Technology.
First, I want to that the PRSA for inviting me to speak – it was a fabulous event with great speakers, engaged participants, and a great location. The team did a fantastic job with this event.
I wanted to share a few of the key insights that we discussed on the panel.
How to work with bloggers
- Build relationships vs. trying mass outreach. Bloggers respond best to personal outreach and plans that are really customized to meet their needs.
- Work with a small select group. Rather than trying to reach every blogger in your space, choose a small select group of bloggers to work with. This will allow you to create a powerful, customized plan with a small and passionate group.
- Soft-sells work better. Most people won’t care about your product or brand and trying to directly engage them probably won’t work. Instead play off of something that bloggers are passionate about that is related to your product. GM works with the BlogHer network and provides cars for attendees to test-drive. No questions asked, no sales pitch – just take the car for a spin. This has resulted in a clear brand equity increase for GM as well as numerous mentions.
- Know the audience. You really have to know your audience. For example, Campbells Soup wanted to work with food bloggers who are notoriously picky about the quality level of the products they use. Rather than specifically talk about soup, Campbell’s included their products in food that was sampled. The response was terrific as bloggers were shocked that Campbell’s products were a key ingredient in dishes they sampled.
- Bloggers will love you if you facilitate their activities. Rather than trying to push your product at bloggers, try to facilitate their activities. Host parties or help them connect. Verizon did this after PRSA Media Day where they hosted a blogger party that showcased their new phones and they let bloggers borrow them for a few days (for free!!!).
What is “The Next Big Thing”?
While admittedly, none of us are psychic or have a crystal ball, we all shared some perspective on trends to watch in the next few years.
- Location – Knowledge of location will make a huge impact on the digital space. Whether it is facilitating social interactions, marketing, search or anything, location will play a big role and is a powerful concept.
- Social Connections – Building social connections online will continue to be a big trend and importantly, helping sort through the issues (management, privacy, etc) will be important.
- Mobile – Mobile is a key facilitator of both of the trends mentioned above. While the iphone may be over-hyped the emergence of always-on internet and the power of location will clearly have a large impact going forward.