Blogs, Bribes and Blasphemy: BlogWorld & New Media Expo


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A presentation on Engaging Influencers in a Changing World, presented by Arik Hanson and Greg Swan at BlogWorld & New Media Expo's Social Media Business Summit on November 4, 2011.

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  • ARIK Arik is the principal of ACH Communications, a firm devoted to driving digital relevance for brand big and small online. Arik is also a nationally recognized PR/social media blogger at Communications Conversations. His content is syndicated on sites such as PR Daily,, MinnPost and Social Media Examiner. Arik is also the co-founder of Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO) and the Minnesota Blogger Conference and leads the Social Media Business Summit at BlogWorld each year. He’s also a frequent speaker at events and colleges around Minneapolis/St. Paul.
  • GREG Greg is VP of Digital Strategy at Weber Shandwick, leads social media strategy for the U.S. Army account and has worked on State Farm, Coca-Cola and Chevrolet. Started a group for Christians and churches interested in social media called Social Media Shepherds Started music blog Perfect Porridge more than 7 years ago, developed into a nationally following, receiving 1,000 pitches/week
  • ARIK: Through technology, the world has gotten smaller and more connected. We’ve also discovered that people, cultures and tastes are more different than we ever imagined. It’s about being human, being creative and pushing the envelope. Today’s marketing is about relationships. Relationships matter more than ever—with customers, analysts, employees, stockholders and yes, influencers We’re closer to these constituencies than ever before—we have the ability to talk with them, get real-time feedback and collaborate with them on a daily basis—no matter where they are in the world.
  • GREG: Historically, broad reach and influencers are leaders in community, politicians, etc. Social revolution has given the common man the ability to influence a wide network. Now we can laser target influencers through social. Greg is a good example of this. Not official music journalist but is being treated as an influencer by marketing. Rather than focus on one newspaper, TV news program or influencer, we need to think longterm. And measurement has evolved (there’s a panel about that down the hallway) Long tail – focus on sub-tier individuals/media outlets to reach more people than one broad outreach to mass media. Reach out to the right people rather than all the people. B&C List rather than just the A List. We also measure marketing in a completely different way. Nielsen media impression to click throughs to Retweets and FB likes. We’re achieving a higher level of measurement. There’s a panel on that going on down the hallway right now.
  • ARIK
  • ARIK It may seem like conservative business has no reason to get in bed with crazy online influencers, but it can be done!
  • ARIK: Everyone is an influencer on certain things but everyone is not an influencer on everything. The larger the audience doesn’t necessarily equal a larger influence. Offline+online, not offline OR online People can influence behaviors/perceptions in different ways online—and on different platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. So influencer does not equal blogger What does an influencer look like?
  • GREG: If I have a specific product, service, message to share, how do I determine influencers for my campaign? Is it measurable? Who do we know I could already tap? That over-active commenter on FB? The customer who RT’s every one of our promotional tweets? The glowing testimonial? Tools are good but shouldn’t dictate strategy
  • GREG: Once you’ve identified a potential influencer… Just as you would scope out a potential soulmate, consider how you approach them. Be human. Introductory outreach (e-mail/phone/in-person)
  • ARIK: First step: Assessment/Audit Look carefully at some key specifics Think about if/how they align with your brand What’s their general tone? Biting or more supportive? How does it align with your core values/beliefs? Reach, of course Add it all up…
  • GREG: As you think about your approach to influencers, it’s important to weigh reach, results and ultimate value. For example, you could send generic invitations or pitches en masse to garner results, but at what level of impact?
  • ARIK *Most of you will use the free tools—some exclusively *My favories: Blogrolls *Klout—not the answer, but a definite ingredient * BlogDash/GroupHigh good paid alternatives GREG: YouCast is a cool community tool that lets you track which influencers are using your assets in their posts
  • GREG In this emerging world, there is an increasingly blurred line between what’s ethical, legal and what’s too new to even know.
  • GREG – Taken straight from
  • ARIK: Good rule of thumb: What would Grand-ma-ma think?
  • ARIK: Take a look at each corner: Which is the ideal state? Which is your brand most comfortable with? Plenty of paid posts out there—are they credible? Does it matter? Again, what’s the ideal state?
  • Arik and Greg’s Top 10 Tweetable Tips for Engaging with Influencers
  • GREG: First up: Personalize your program. Personalize your approach.
  • GREG: The no-BCC-putting-everyone’s address in the To: line. Seriously? How am I supposed to feel special and connected here? The reason you want to engage with an influencer is because of their special reach.
  • ARIK Outreach example from Tom Martin as part of his Talking with Tom blog This example—a short note to Steve Garfield asking him to be a interviewee—two paragraphs
  • ARIK Another example from Tom This one via LinkedIn private message Again, three paragraphs
  • I’ve been in LA for 3 days. Only one publicist acknowledged that.
  • ARIK
  • ARIK Jason Falls “how to pitch me” page “ It should be brief—if you write more than a paragraph, you’ve gone too far.”
  • GREG Although some may see this as Twitter spam, I think it’s a great way to get my attention given the state of my e-mail inbox.
  • GREG Remember that long tail, long-burn approach
  • GREG
  • GREG
  • ARIK For HAPPO instead of focusing on “A listers” for PR bloggers like Shankman and Solis, we reached out to more of the mushy middle—people we thought would have more time and interest in REALLY being engaged as HAPPO champs
  • The Hanes Comfort Crew is a network of dynamic and prominent social media influencers who converse with Hanes about clothing, comfort and community (of the online variety). Hanes kicked off the Hanes Comfort Crew program with a 5-day trip to Walt Disney World so that members of the Crew could get to know each other and could experience some of the newest Hanes Comfort offerings. Hanes will be providing members of the Hanes Comfort Crew with samples of clothing for them and their families from time to time in order to get their candid feedback and comments. Hanes requests of all Hanes Comfort Crew members that any discussion of a Hanes product on a website, blog or other forum reflect the Crew member's honest opinions, belief or experience with the Hanes product and that Crew members identify themselves as such in those discussions. Hanes does not control the statements and representations made by members of the Hanes Comfort Crew. --
  • ARIK
  • ARIK As part of one client campaign, we pitched Sarah Evans for a product review (paid). She loved the product and even wound up meeting the brand team at a local event. But, one thing we’ve always had in mind with her was her abilty to serve as a credible media-trained spokesperson for the brand.
  • ARIK Another blogger we reached out to for Sleep Number was starting a new magazine at the time—yet another opportunity for this blogger to talk about the product and her experience.
  • GREG Pepsi came to Weber Shandwick in 2009 to manage communications and outreach around their groundbreaking new Pepsi Refresh Project, in which Pepsi gave away more than $20 million in 2010 to fund good ideas, big and small, that refresh the world. Our team was tasked with building awareness around the PRP, driving participation in the program and generating online conversation. We worked in tandem with multiple agency partners, and drove participation in the program through local media efforts, digital engagement and working with grantees, bottlers and the PRP Ambassadors. Leading up to the launch of the project, our team conducted outreach to bloggers and online influencers to drive individuals and organizations to submit ideas at Our outreach resulted in 1,000 submissions in just 72 hours. Each submission window since launch has reached its cap within 24 hours. On launch day, we hosted a live-streamed brainstorm with spokespersons Kevin Bacon and Demi Moore to drive idea submissions. We oversaw Pepsi’s presence at SXSW 2010, where Pepsi hosted a $50,000 spot grant challenge between digital influencers, and organized flash panel discussions with leading bloggers and conducted media outreach to showcase Pepsi’s digital activation at the conference. Transparency was a key to the program’s success, and we recognized the need to keep the line of conversation open to the Pepsi community. Six months into the program, we invited the best minds in the online philanthropy and social good space and nonprofit leaders to join Pepsi representatives for a discussion on the program, key successes, challenges and Pepsi’s responses to those challenges. Our team worked with Pepsi to incorporate the insights shared at this session into the remaining months of 2010 as well as in developing the 2011 program. The program has effectively changed the way brands talk to consumers, leveraging the power of digital and cause-marketing platforms, moving away from traditional marketing methods.  T o date, our team and PRP partners have garnered 3.2 billion earned media impressions. We have seen more than 240,000 Tweets about the program, tripled Pepsi’s Facebook ‘likes’ to more than 3 million, and more than 76 million votes have been cast at
  • GREG Add value.
  • GREG To Promote American’s fleet renewal storyline and its partnership with Boeing, American airlines : Coordinated trip to Boeing's factory in Renton, Wash., culminating in a delivery flight onboard a brand new 737-800 with Boeing Sky Interior Invited bloggers and traditional media to attend Invited non-employee customer advocates from AA’s Facebook community Results: 30 blog posts, over 2 million potential impressions on Twitter, and 39 consumer and media mentions on Facebook, totaling nearly 27,000 impressions
  • ARIK *Compelling ask for PEN Ready Project? Here’s a free camera—come create content with us. *Gave cameras to hundreds of influencers—asked to post to uniquel Tumblr blog *Influencers creating content on behalf of the brand, essentially
  • ARIK Instagram: An amazing 23 images tagged #penready, shared by PEN Ready photographers @stevenmoore and @chrysti make the Instagram popular page 1,122 likes per image shot with the PEN E-PM1. Total likes of their PEN shots week of Oct. 17: 15,116
  • GREG
  • GREG Actually not a bad pitch. Has some background, some pull quotes, a media page with download link and an mp3 I can post. But, they sent me my own pull quote
  • ARIK
  • ARIK Diet Coke Fashion Week example: Engaged fashion bloggers Susan Bubble, Pelayo Diaz and Bryan Boy Served as spokespeople on MSM interviews, helped promote via personal blogs But also curated content for Diet Coke Billboard Fashion show in Times Square
  • ARIK Again, PEN Project asked bloggers to join hundreds of other influencers and create photo content for Olympus’ new Tumblr blog Knew CC was a photog geek—ask was relevant, meaningful and compelling CC quote: Both cameras have shown me that Olympus is a serious contender in the photography market. While I knew their name from the glory days of film, I had never considered them in today’s world. How wrong I was and how excited I am to keep on shooting with both of them.
  • GREG: Here’s one where a musician knew I’d written about Creed scaring away wolves and wrote up his 7 ways a nickelback CD could help you survive a plane crash.
  • Raise your hand if you like Nickelback. (plays song to prove they’re horrible)
  • Anyway, I took this musician’s pitch, edited it up a bit and posted it with full attribution
  • And below the fold, I even posted one of his songs, a video to his kickstarter page where he is raising money for his debut album and suggested readers give money. This was my highest read post last month.
  • GREG Once you’ve got an influencer on-board, keep them engaged. For Army, we frequently send updates to our influencers or see them at conferences and just say hello or ask to grab dinner.
  • GREG Here’s an example from last week where I posted about a band, and the publicist immediately replied back about another band offering tickets and to post a track.
  • ARIK
  • Sponsored, paid or review posts always a viable option. Great example here from Marvin Windows—great content, but clearly (and disclaimed) a pay-for-play Design Milk has huge “reach” and directly with Marvin’s target audience: 410k Twitter followers, 45K Likes, 40K uniques in Sept (according to
  • Another sponsored post from Marvin This one for the popular Inhabit blog—92K likes, 49K followers, 244K uniques in Sept Sponsored series of posts from Marvin Tips post—useful content 154 likes, 213 RTs and 538 Stumbles
  • ARIK: All these tips are great, but if you don’t measure, evaluate and adjust you’ll never move forward Learn from your victories—and, more importantly, your mistakes
  • GREG: In summary, as the marketing landscape continues to change brands and influencers will surely continue to walk hand in hand. As long as marketers remember to 1) Be Human and 2) Treat influencers as they would like to treated, success is only a blog post away.
  • GREG
  • Blogs, Bribes and Blasphemy: BlogWorld & New Media Expo

    1. 1. Blogs, Bribes and Blasphemy: Engaging Influencers in a Changing World @arikhanson | @gregswan
    2. 2. With You Today (that’s him!) @arikhanson #bwela #mnblogconf
    3. 3. With You Today @gregswan @webershandwick @smshepherds @perfectporridge (that’s him!)
    4. 4. How has the marketing world changed? (flickr CC: calamity_photography) (flickr CC: spikeyhelen)
    5. 5. How has Marketing World Changed? <ul><li>Social revolution </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on influencers </li></ul><ul><li>Long tail strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics </li></ul>
    6. 6. Influencer Matchmaking 101
    7. 7. (flickr CC: Night-thing
    8. 8. Who is an Influencer? <ul><li>Everyone – in certain circles </li></ul><ul><li>Offline vs. Online </li></ul><ul><li>“ Influencer” does not equal “Blogger” </li></ul><ul><li>Attributes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Has an opinion – that people respect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can impact perception, sales, behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can spark/quell a crisis </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Choosing Your Influencer <ul><li>How can an influencer help me achieve my business/marketing objective? </li></ul><ul><li>Is my brand prepared to hear/address genuine criticism? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is already an advocate for my brand? </li></ul><ul><li>Tools or lists should not drive thought process </li></ul>
    10. 10. Road to Romance <ul><li>Flirting </li></ul><ul><li>Dating Period </li></ul><ul><li>First Date </li></ul><ul><li>Second Date </li></ul><ul><li>First Base… </li></ul><ul><li>Man-to-man talk with Dad </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(background check) </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Personality > Looks <ul><li>Assessment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online and offline audit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they care about our brand? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tone (snarky/salesy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential reach (friends/fans/followers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For Influencer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>For Brand </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Illustrating Influence Less Time Low Impact High Impact More Time
    13. 13. Influencer Services
    14. 14. Is this Legal? Is this Ethical? (flickr CC: sully_aka__wstera2)
    15. 15. Is this Legal? <ul><li>Bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Bloggers or other word-of-mouth marketers” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Material Connections’ (payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Receiving cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(note: Greg and Arik are not legal counsel) </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. What would Grandma think?
    17. 17. Illustrating Engagement High Control Low Credibility Paid Content, No Disclosure High Credibility Low Control Paid Content, Full Disclosure Organic Relationship, Full Disclosure Organic Relationship, No Disclosure
    18. 18. 10 Tips for Engaging With Online Influencers
    19. 19. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul>
    20. 24. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul>
    21. 25. 2. Be Brief. Be Very Brief
    22. 26. 2. Be Brief. Be Very Brief
    23. 27. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the &quot;A listers&quot; </li></ul>
    24. 29. Bloggers @ BlogWorld & New Media Expo Lee Odden jumps with the Army Golden Knights Medgadget @ Brooke Army Medical Center Larry Henry @ Army 10 th Anniversary NHRA Race Foodie Matt Armendariz @ Army’s Culinary Arts Competition @CK_Lunchbox Goes to Airborne School Medical Student @ American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress David Banks @ Combat Situations Unit Military Spouse Blogger @ Army Commander’s Conference Eric Jude Cortes @ Army Reserve Pre-Deployment Training @bookieboo Does Basic Training at Fort Benning
    25. 30. 3. Don’t focus on A-listers
    26. 32. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the &quot;A listers“ </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget about offline activities </li></ul>
    27. 33. 4. Don’t forget about offline activities
    28. 34. 4. Don’t forget about offline activities
    29. 36. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the “A listers” </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget about offline activities </li></ul><ul><li>Make your ask compelling </li></ul>
    30. 38. 5. Make Your Ask Compelling
    31. 39. 5. Make Your Ask Compelling <ul><li>Outreach via Instagram </li></ul><ul><li>23 images tagged #penready from @stevenmoore & @chysti on Popular tab </li></ul><ul><li>Total likes week of Oct. 17: 15,116 </li></ul>
    32. 40. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the “A listers” </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget about offline activities </li></ul><ul><li>Make your ask compelling </li></ul><ul><li>Lead with them - not you </li></ul>
    33. 41. 6. Lead with them - not you
    34. 42. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the “A listers” </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget about offline activities </li></ul><ul><li>Make your ask compelling </li></ul><ul><li>Lead with them - not you </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate - don't preach </li></ul>
    35. 43. 7. Collaborate—don’t preach
    36. 44. 7. Collaborate—don’t preach
    37. 46. Nickelback Over Nickelback “Someday” and “How You Remind Me”
    38. 49. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the “A listers” </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget about offline activities </li></ul><ul><li>Make your ask compelling </li></ul><ul><li>Lead with them - not you </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate - don't preach </li></ul><ul><li>Always have a follow-up ask </li></ul>
    39. 50. 8. Always have a follow-up ask <ul><li>After confirming coverage: ALSO, want to give away tickets? Share a track with readers? </li></ul>
    40. 51. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the “A listers” </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget about offline activities </li></ul><ul><li>Make your ask compelling </li></ul><ul><li>Lead with them - not you </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate - don't preach </li></ul><ul><li>Always have a follow-up ask </li></ul><ul><li>Disclose paid relationships </li></ul>
    41. 52. 9. Disclose paid relationships
    42. 53. 9. Disclose paid relationships
    43. 54. Influencer Engagement Tips <ul><li>Personalize/individualize </li></ul><ul><li>Be brief. Very brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don't solely focus on the “A listers” </li></ul><ul><li>Don't forget about offline activities </li></ul><ul><li>Make your ask compelling </li></ul><ul><li>Lead with them - not you </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate - don't preach </li></ul><ul><li>Always have a follow-up ask </li></ul><ul><li>Disclose paid relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Measure, Evaluate, Adjust </li></ul>
    44. 55. In summary <ul><li>Influencer engagement </li></ul>(flickr CC: thompsonchan)
    45. 56. (flickr cc: robras) Questions?