BlogPaws 2010 - Product Reviews: Susan Getgood
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  • Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries.Ninety percent or consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.
  • Your pitch or program should add value. Otherwise, you should advertise.What does adding value mean? A personal blogger writes about things he is interested in, generally from the perspective of how they impact him. He’s telling his story, and you need to give him a good reason to include your story in his. That means putting your product or service into his context, not talking at him from yours with a press release, list of features or carefully crafted message point. Here are some ways to do this.Provide access to exclusive information. But make sure it is access that the blogger actually wants. Few bloggers will want an "exciting interview" with your marketing VP. Sorry. But if your brand uses a celebrity spokesperson, some might be interested in an interview or even a meet and greet if there is an appropriate venue. Others might love access to your product managers, a factory tour or an invitation to participate in an advisory board. Offer evaluation products or samples. Pre-release or beta is okay, just be clear on what you are sending and whether you want direct feedback, to improve the product, or are simply sending it so they have a chance to try it out. Remember, bloggers don’t need it to be new, although they do like to be clued in on the new things. Who doesn’t? What bloggers really need is for your pitch to be relevant to their interests. This is a golden opportunity for companies who are able to make their products "new to you" with relevant stories. Word of warning: Do not expect to get the products back. If your budget cannot support sending evaluation product to every blogger you pitch, cut your list back to a number that it can support. If your product is a high priced item, such as a computer or a car, consider ways to offer trial through loaner programs and events. Both Ford and GM have used these tactics very successfully recently to get folks into their vehicles. Computer companies have long sponsored the Internet cafes and email stations at industry conferences for the same reason. [BTW, if you are a computer company, I came up with an idea for you while writing this post. Call me.]Offer products to the blogger that she can give away to her readers. Many personal bloggers use ads to offset the cost of their blogs; giveaways and contests attract readers, which in turn can increase advertising revenues. It’s such a simple way for a company to add value for the blogger while achieving its own goals of promoting the product. Events and junkets. While I often worry that we put too much focus on events and trips, they are a good way to expose bloggers to your products and most importantly, your people. Important: while every blogger relations effort should be considered, and measured, in the context of your marketing and communications strategy, this is particularly critical when it comes to events and junkets. No matter what your budget for the event, no matter how big or small your company, your event is going to consume a lot of resources, both hard dollars and soft costs. You have to have a clear objective and a way to measure it going in, or you will be wasting money. No matter how much the bloggers loved the event. You should also look into sponsoring events or conferences that already attract the blogging population you want to reach. Consider sponsoring the attendance of a few bloggers who might otherwise not be able to afford a key industry conference. But don’t make hollow offers. Make it meaningful; a free registration isn’t much use if the blogger can’t afford the plane fare. Support the charities and causes the community cares about. Many companies do this already in "meatspace." Think about how you can extend your support into your online and social media efforts. But beware of token support or the appearance of carpet bagging. Charitable involvement must be organic to your business or your product; don’t just jump on the latest bandwagon, throw a few dollars at something and expect to reap the rewards of your largesse. Folks can spot a faker. Just look at all the firms that have tried to "go green" with superficial efforts and have ended up more red-faced than anything. Put the blogger at the center, not your product. Feature them on your site. Invite them to be part of an advisory council or product focus group. Actively solicit their opinions and feedback on new products. We did this with the Photographic Memories project during the HP Photo Books launch. A central element of the program was interviews on hp.com with moms about the role of photography in their lives. No question, there was a connection — if photographs are important in our lives, what better way to share them than a Photo Book — but that was not the focus of the interviews.
  • If your pitch doesn’t add enuf value for the blogger, it doesn’t make sense -- add value or advertise.At the same time, I’m not suggesting that companies shouldn’t get value from what the offer. It just has to be balanced
  • RelevanceRelevance is a key ingredient. Without it, it is highly unlikely that you will get even a nibble from a blogger. Do your homework. Make sure that your product or service and pitch match the blogger’s interests. And please don’t assume that the blogger will connect the dots and understand that your pitch is relevant. Tell her why you sent her the pitch, why you thought it was relevant. Otherwise, a blogger just might assume that you got lucky, not that you were smart.RespectDon’t patronize. Nothing irritates more than the arrogance that you, the company, are doing the blogger a favor by telling them (and 1000 of their closest friends) about your "thing." Certainly tell the blogger why YOU are excited about whatever it is, but don’t suggest that they will be as well. Or that their "readers will love it". That’s for the blogger to decide, and that phrase, more than any other, will consign your pitch to the trash heap. Don’t ask the blogger to write. If the pitch was good, you don’t have to ask. There are a few exceptions of course, mostly related to charities and fundraising where you will be forgiven for asking folks to spread the word. But truly, you are much better off if you focus on developing a program or offer that the bloggers will want to share with their friends. Also known as  the readers of their blogs.Brevity & ClarityGet to the point. Quickly. Tell the blogger who you are, why you are writing and why you thought this pitch was relevant. One to two paragraphs at most. Bloggers don’t want a laundry list of features or a lot of marketing-speak and PR puffery. They may be reading your pitch on a mobile device or even a dial-up line, so ditch the attachments. Instead, tell them the WIIFM.What’s in it for me? Answering that question for the blogger is what makes a nearly perfect pitch.
  • Your pitch or program should add value. Otherwise, you should advertise.What does adding value mean? A personal blogger writes about things he is interested in, generally from the perspective of how they impact him. He’s telling his story, and you need to give him a good reason to include your story in his. That means putting your product or service into his context, not talking at him from yours with a press release, list of features or carefully crafted message point. Here are some ways to do this.Provide access to exclusive information. But make sure it is access that the blogger actually wants. Few bloggers will want an "exciting interview" with your marketing VP. Sorry. But if your brand uses a celebrity spokesperson, some might be interested in an interview or even a meet and greet if there is an appropriate venue. Others might love access to your product managers, a factory tour or an invitation to participate in an advisory board. Offer evaluation products or samples. Pre-release or beta is okay, just be clear on what you are sending and whether you want direct feedback, to improve the product, or are simply sending it so they have a chance to try it out. Remember, bloggers don’t need it to be new, although they do like to be clued in on the new things. Who doesn’t? What bloggers really need is for your pitch to be relevant to their interests. This is a golden opportunity for companies who are able to make their products "new to you" with relevant stories. Word of warning: Do not expect to get the products back. If your budget cannot support sending evaluation product to every blogger you pitch, cut your list back to a number that it can support. If your product is a high priced item, such as a computer or a car, consider ways to offer trial through loaner programs and events. Both Ford and GM have used these tactics very successfully recently to get folks into their vehicles. Computer companies have long sponsored the Internet cafes and email stations at industry conferences for the same reason. [BTW, if you are a computer company, I came up with an idea for you while writing this post. Call me.]Offer products to the blogger that she can give away to her readers. Many personal bloggers use ads to offset the cost of their blogs; giveaways and contests attract readers, which in turn can increase advertising revenues. It’s such a simple way for a company to add value for the blogger while achieving its own goals of promoting the product. Events and junkets. While I often worry that we put too much focus on events and trips, they are a good way to expose bloggers to your products and most importantly, your people. Important: while every blogger relations effort should be considered, and measured, in the context of your marketing and communications strategy, this is particularly critical when it comes to events and junkets. No matter what your budget for the event, no matter how big or small your company, your event is going to consume a lot of resources, both hard dollars and soft costs. You have to have a clear objective and a way to measure it going in, or you will be wasting money. No matter how much the bloggers loved the event. You should also look into sponsoring events or conferences that already attract the blogging population you want to reach. Consider sponsoring the attendance of a few bloggers who might otherwise not be able to afford a key industry conference. But don’t make hollow offers. Make it meaningful; a free registration isn’t much use if the blogger can’t afford the plane fare. Support the charities and causes the community cares about. Many companies do this already in "meatspace." Think about how you can extend your support into your online and social media efforts. But beware of token support or the appearance of carpet bagging. Charitable involvement must be organic to your business or your product; don’t just jump on the latest bandwagon, throw a few dollars at something and expect to reap the rewards of your largesse. Folks can spot a faker. Just look at all the firms that have tried to "go green" with superficial efforts and have ended up more red-faced than anything. Put the blogger at the center, not your product. Feature them on your site. Invite them to be part of an advisory council or product focus group. Actively solicit their opinions and feedback on new products. We did this with the Photographic Memories project during the HP Photo Books launch. A central element of the program was interviews on hp.com with moms about the role of photography in their lives. No question, there was a connection — if photographs are important in our lives, what better way to share them than a Photo Book — but that was not the focus of the interviews.
  • Disclosure is both a best practice and a requirement.
  • What sort of content they can expect to find on your blog
  • Then what you do
  • 86 page document 5 examples specific to bloggingDisclosure is a best practice but it is also becoming a requirement.
  • Joanne hand off to either Liz or Kristen

BlogPaws 2010 - Product Reviews: Susan Getgood BlogPaws 2010 - Product Reviews: Susan Getgood Presentation Transcript

  • Brands, Bloggers and Best Practices
    Susan Getgood
    GetGood Strategic Marketing &Blog With Integrity
  • Why Brands Want to Work with You
    Why You Want to Work with Brands
    Best Practices for Product Reviews
    Copyright 2010
  • Why Brands Want to Work With You
    Copyright 2010
  • Customers Are Online
    51% of Americans are moderate to heavy users of information technology (Pew)
    50% US Internet users read blogs, 12% write them (eMarketer)
    68% US adults visit social media sites, 33% to research products (MarketTools)
    Copyright 2010
  • Trusting Each Other
    Nielsen consumer survey
    Copyright 2010
  • Why you want to work with brands
    Copyright 2010
  • Brands May Offer You: 
    Access to exclusive information
    Evaluation products or samples for review
    Products to give away to readers
    Events and junkets
    Support for the charities and causes you care about
    Consulting/advertorial opportunities
    Copyright 2010
  • What’s In It For You
    Reputation as an influential expert
    Increased readership
    Business and employment opportunities
    Increased advertising revenue
    Content for your blog
    Copyright 2010
  • The Balancing Act
    The value to both parties – blogger and company – has to be equal.
    A fair exchange
    Copyright 2010
  • Best practices for companies
    Copyright 2010
  • Micro  Macro
    The best programs are tightly targeted to a smaller number of bloggers
    Scale comes from the network effect, not the volume of the outreach
    The opposite – “spray & pray” – less effective
    Not as relevant
    Not special
    Copyright 2010
  • Social Media Secret Sauce
    Relevance
    Respect
    Brevity
    Clarity
    Add Value
    Copyright 2010
  • The (not so) Secret Ingredients
    Put the blogger at the center, not your product
    Create an emotional connection
    Find the mutual value
    Copyright 2010
  • Disclosure: A best practice for bloggers
    Copyright 2010
    • I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.”
    From the Blog With Integrity pledge
    Copyright 2010
  • My disclosure
    I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on the Internet or at blogging conferences.
    This material is based on my analysis of the FTC guidelines and review of public materials, including news reports and the Blog with Integrity Webinar with Mary Engle of the FTC, November 10, 2009
    Copyright 2010
  • Disclosure
    Why disclosure is important
    What we should disclose
    How bloggers can protect themselves
    Copyright 2010
  • Why Disclosure is Important
    Maintaining an honest and authentic relationship with your readers
    Letting PR and marketers know how they might work with you
    Complying with FTC guidelines on commercial endorsement & testimonials (truth in advertising laws)
    Copyright 2010
  • What Should You Disclose?
  • What You Write: Blog Content
    Editorial
    Your original thoughts and ideas
    No compensation
    Advertorial
    Your thoughts and ideas
    Guided by a sponsor who is compensating you in some way
    Advertising
    Message entirely controlled by paid sponsor
    Copyright 2010
  • What You Do: Relationships/Policies
    Material relationships
    “I am now being sponsored by brand X”
    “I participate in the [ ] blog network”
    Policies and business practices
    Reviews:
    “I review the following type of products […], and keep/return/give away the product at the conclusion of the review”
    Compensation:
    “I do/do not accept compensation for reviews”
    Giveaways:
    “I do/do not do giveaways and contests”
    Copyright 2010
  • What You Do: Relationships/Policies
    Affiliate relationships
    “Purchase through this link and help support me”
    Sponsored posts/tweets
    “I would like to recommend my sponsor, X”
    Opinion, especially for efficacy claims
    “This reflects my own personal experience”
    Copyright 2010
  • FTC Guidelines on Endorsements & Testimonials
    Went into effect 12/1/09
    Require disclosure of relationship or compensation
    Impose liability for false statements on both company and endorser
    Relevant to blogging if you:
    Are compensated with cash
    Are compensated with free product
    Have a material interest in outcome or business
    Copyright 2010
  • Disclosure: Get it Right
  • Ways to Disclose
    Blanket site policy
    Statement or disclaimer within post
    Statement or disclaimer before/after post
    Category or Tag on post, ieSponsored
    Easily identifiable hashtag, ie #spon
    Copyright 2010
  • Bloggers Must:
    Disclose compensated relationships such as:
    Product reviews
    Paid posts or tweets
    Post about a free trip or other benefit
    Affiliate links
    Consulting or employment
    Follow their stated policies. Failure to do so could be considered “deceptive business practice.”
    Copyright 2010
  • Contact
    Susan Getgood
    GetGood Strategic Marketing Inc.
    978-562-5979
    Email: sgetgood@getgood.com
    Web: www.getgood.com
    Twitter: @sgetgood
    Marketing Roadmaps blog: http://getgood.com/roadmaps
    Copyright 2010