Earlier this year we shared 8 Ways to Determine a Blog’s Value. Here are six tips to drive more influential blogger reviews:
1. Set expectations. You are sending a product sample to a blogger for review. Develop a personal letter that thanks the blogger for his or her interest and explains what you are asking them to do as part of the review process. Be clear and reasonable, and make sure the blogger understands you are a resource if they have questions or concerns about the product or review process.
2. Content is king. In addition to the letter, include as much information as possible about your product. Good bloggers will share key product features and benefits with readers as part of a product review. Make those details easily accessible and you will likely score a longer, more thorough product review.
3. Secure links to your website. Provide bloggers – in your letter and e-mails– with a specific link where readers can find more information about your product, and ask them to include that link as part of the review. Also, think about other ways to drive blog readers to your website. Provide a separate link for bloggers to share that leads to creative ways to use your product, or ask bloggers to direct readers to your website to search for specific information and then post a comment to the blog post about something interesting they learned.
4. Strategize to secure multiple posts. Think beyond the simple blog review post and consider ways to secure ongoing coverage with a particular blogger. Offer a product giveaway to one blog reader; this will often result in a second blog post about your product when the winner is announced. Ask the blogger to write a preview post setting up a problem and letting readers know they plan to try your product as a solution, then write a post about the product itself.
5. Use contests to secure prospect data. Instead of – or in addition to – promoting product giveaways on individual blogs, establish a larger contest that uses blogger product reviews as a vehicle for engaging a larger Internet audience. Ask multiple bloggers to announce a prize that requires consumers to provide contact information on your website. This is a great way to reach potential new customers and secure information for future communication.
6. Ask bloggers to get social. Simply ask bloggers to post a link to their product review on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and ask permission to post links to their reviews through your own social media accounts. Both your product and the blog are exposed to larger audiences this way.
Just yesterday, Amazon launched its first tablet computer – the Kindle Fire. So when a unique situation like Amazon taking on Apple occurs, it’s a great opportunity to evaluate how the new competitor is going to market.
Setting aside the technical aspects of the Kindle Fire and the iPad, and looking solely at the product positioning, here’s what we found.
Positioning: Thinner. Lighter. Faster. FaceTime. Smart Covers. 10-Hour Battery.
Once you pick up iPad 2, it’ll be hard to put down. That’s the idea behind the all-new design. It’s 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter, so it feels even more comfortable in your hands. And it makes surfing the web, checking email, watching movies, and reading books so natural, you might forget there’s incredible technology under your fingers.
• Dual-core A5 chip. It’s fast, times two.
• Superfast graphics. Go gamers go.
• Battery life keeps on going. So you can too.
• Two cameras. And a big hello to FaceTime for iPad.
• iPad Smart Cover. Designed for iPad. And vice versa.
• LED-backlit display. The view is amazing.
• Multi-Touch. Everything’s at your fingertips.
• iOS4. The world’s most advanced mobile operating system.
• Instant on. The fun starts fast.
• Wi-Fi and 3G. Two great ways to stay connected.
• Gyro, accelerometer, and compass. iPad knows your every move.
• AirPlay. Your movie-photo-music stream.
• Video mirroring. What you do is what they see.
• Airprint. Print everything wirelessly.
Price: starting at $499
Positioning: Movies, apps, games, music, reading and more, plus Amazon’s revolutionary, cloud-accelerated web browser
• Stunning color touch screen
• Magazines in rich color
• Beautifully simple and easy to use
• 100,000 movies and TV shows
• Fast, dual-core processor
• Your favorite apps and games
• Ultra-fast web browsing – Amazon Silk
• Millions of books
• Free cloud storage
• Your favorite children’s books
• Easy to hold in one hand
• 17 million songs
• Extra durable display
• Amazon Whispersync
• Free month of Amazon Prime
• Read your documents
This discussion could be flawed from the start. It is possible that the Apple iPad cannot be compared with the Kindle Fire because the iPad is much more focused on functionality and design.
Plus it is highly possible – based on price – Amazon is targeting a completely different sector of the market than Apple. Amazon could be targeting consumers who want more than an e-reader, but not a robust, fancy tablet.
Finally, the Kindle Fire is much more focused on movies, apps, games, music, and reading. This is likely not a product positioning strategy, but based more on a revenue stream.
According to a Marketplace report “Sarah Rotman Epps, a tech analyst with Forrester Research, says Amazon may be selling the Fire at a loss. That’s because the online retailer wants the Fire is to function mainly as a virtual shopping cart.” A shopping cart for books, music, TV shows, movies, magazines and the kitchen sink!
If you guessed that a secret is NEVER a secret, you are correct.
As a young boy, my dad once advised me that if I didn’t want people to know my business, I should keep my mouth shut. That was pre-Internet, pre-social
media, pre-Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame, pre-reality TV, pre-it is better to be seen and not heard days.
Whether you are a business fat cat, a hot celebrity or a regular Joe, the same rule applies: nothing is private anymore. This is a fact, not an opinion. Nothing is off the record, nothing is just between us, nothing is on the down-low. Welcome to 1984.
It isn’t right, and it most definitely isn’t good, but it is what it is. The last hope for privacy is to keep your mouth shut and your hands still (as in no email or text or posting on Facebook or Twitter or your blog or LinkedIn or YouTube).
My dad said “Silence is Golden.” I had no idea.
Once upon a time, people who couldn’t keep a secret were called gossips and busybodies and loudmouths and stool pigeons. Now they are called everyone.
The entire planet has become the new Tower of Babel (Babble?). I think Glen Campbell said it best: “Everybody’s talkin’ bout me, I don’t hear a word their sayin’, only the echoes of my mind.”
Nothing is secret, very little is sacred and the more attention you can get, the better.
Evolution is a very fickle process. Is it possible to die from TMI?
Pitching a new or existing product, company spokesperson or useful tips are all successful ways to secure media coverage for your brand year-round.
But there is one strategy you can use to secure immediate media attention-it just requires vigilance and a bit of strategic thinking. You can successfully secure widely read and relevant media coverage by piggybacking your company’s story with a breaking news event. Below is a step-by-step approach for taking advantage of timely current events to secure immediate visibility.
1. Lay the groundwork. Start by setting up news monitoring alerts for key terms that impact your business, industry or customers. Monitor these incoming news alerts daily. When a big event occurs, you will know about it immediately.
2. Target the right media. Now that you know what they are writing about, find out who is writing it. When it comes to national and impactful news, reporters often write follow up stories expanding their initial coverage of an event or news item. Add these reporters to your media list, and be sure to develop a very targeted and personalized introduction as to why you are pitching your story to them specifically.
Secondarily, find out what beat these reporters typically cover and use that information to identify media at other publications that will likely be interested in your story. For example, if environment reporters are covering the breaking news story at a few key outlets, make sure environment reporters from all relevant outlets are on your media list.
3. Provide a new spin. Do not follow up on a breaking news item pitching the same exact story; you will be a day late and a dollar short. The key here is to find a new angle to the story that will entice reporters to develop a follow up story. Examples include: pitch a potential solution to the new problem, play devil’s advocate by warning of hidden dangers, provide insight on how the news item impacts a certain group of people or vital segment of industry, showcase the positive outcomes of a negative situation or vice versa, etc.
4. Provide an expert. Once you decide on your approach, position a company spokesperson as an expert who can speak to media on this topic as part of your pitch. Ensure they are knowledgeable and entertaining. Media will be on the lookout for interesting sound bites and inspirational – or controversial – statements and insight surrounding the situation.
5. Make the connection to your brand. Ensure your pitch provides a direct connection for media as to why your brand or product is an essential part of this story. Perhaps your product provides a necessary solution, or maybe your company has done business in the impacted industry for years. Or your company experienced something similar before, and you understand how consumers will react. Just be sure to clearly state the connection to validate why your company is a good resource for a follow up story.
6. Conduct follow up. Media will have already covered the breaking news item by the time your pitch reaches them. It is key to conduct media follow up calls. Your goal is to help media understand why this new angle, expert or product is a critical component of the evolving story. Ultimately, if you can secure coverage for your brand related directly to timely, breaking news, it will be more relevant and interesting to consumers already engaged in the story.
Need help launching a reactive publicity and media relations campaign? Contact me at kayleigh (at) sweeneypr (dot) com or 440.333.0001 ext. 105.
Working in the consumer products industry nothing really surprises me. However, when I saw the product, “Bye Bye Monster”, I was completely baffled. Really… a product that gets kids to believe there are no more monsters under their bed?
Are your kids afraid of monsters? Do monsters keep them (and you) up at night? 73% of all children ages 4-12 struggle from some form of nighttime fear. Many of those children are convinced that a monster is in their room. ByeByeShop.com has the solution for kids afraid of monsters. Why let your kids spend one more night being afraid of monsters? Let us help you calm their fears and make those monsters disappear!
My first reaction was… is this real? And as parents are we feeding into our children’s fear and making them believe that a simple spray will solve all the world’s problems?
However, the more I thought about it the more I really liked this product. In fact, this is the type of product marketing professionals love to get their hands on. The product lends itself to creativity. And it’s pitching made easy… telling bloggers and media you have a solution for monsters under the bed will at least get your message heard.
After all, our parents lied to us about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and thunderstorms. So certainly a little “Bye Bye Monster” couldn’t hurt our youth.
Seen any interesting, crazy or bizarre consumer products recently? Share you experience in the comments section.
PSAs are not just for non-profit organizations. According to Ray Salo who pioneered the concept of “co-sponsored” PSAs, deregulation during the Regan administration provided a key opportunity for for-profit organizations to “co-sponsor” PSAs. For the last 10 years, Salo Productions has been developing co-sponsored PSAs that allow for-profit brands to increase awareness by acting as a credible source for the public on a key topic.
Intrigued by this marketing strategy, we sat down with Ray to evaluate how CPG companies can benefit from “co-sponsored” PSAs.
Q: What is a “co-sponsored” PSA?
A: A for-profit brand can partner with a non-profit and develop and distribute a PSA. For example, a search engine company co-sponsored a PSA with Web Wise Kids to promote Internet safety for children. The Internet safety PSA achieved more than 4,000 confirmed telecasts across the country.
This model is really a win-win-win. The non-profit gets a free ride. The for-profit organization builds brand and the TV or radio station receives good quality content they can share with viewers/listeners.
Q: What was the most successful “co-sponsored” PSA you produced/distributed?
A: “Two Causes of Asthma”, created for the Asthma & Allergy Foundation and a pharmaceutical company, is a great example of how successful “co-sponsored” PSAs can be.
The PSA aired on CNBC, MSNBC and the USA Network during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. This PSA was aired 60,346 times, reached 131 million viewers and achieved $663,000 of airtime. The total cost of the PSA development and distribution was less than $45,000.
Q: How do you track results of the PSAs (how often it is played, what markets, audience reach, etc.)?
A: There are two methods we use to track the results. First, we use Neilson Sigma electronic tracking. This allows us to verify what station uses the PSA, how many times it is aired and when it is aired.
The second form of tracking is through BRCs (broadcast report cards). We ask the individual stations to complete and send us back a report of how many times they used the PSA. Surprisingly, the stations are very responsive to this.
Also, companies and non-profits can track website traffic based on when the PSA aired.
Q: What is one major misconception that exists about PSAs?
A: Besides the fact that people think PSAs can only be developed by non-profits, another major misconception is that PSAs air when no one is watching TV, or listening to the radio. In fact, 80% of PSAs are telecast from the time Good Morning America starts to the end of David Letterman, with morning, mid-morning, mid-day and early evening use. Only 20% occur “late night” from 1 a.m to 5 a.m.
Q: What is the typical time line of when a station receives a PSA to when it is aired? Also, how long will stations typically air a PSA?
A: It typically takes about a week from when a station receives a PSA to when it will begin airing. Also, on average PSAs will air for about 6 months, with the majority (about 75%) of telecasts occuring in the first 3 months. The remaining 25% of telecasts air the following 3 months.
Q: Can you target geographic regions with PSAs?
A: Absolutely. If you want to hit specific markets, then we simply focus on distributing the PSA to those markets.
Q: How has the success of PSAs been impacted by the current economic conditions? How will the 2012 political race, at a time when more advertising occurs, affect the success of PSAs?
A. Typically when companies are spending less on advertising, PSA use is up because stations still have to fill that time. PSA use is up about 20% from when the Great Recession started in 2008.
While more advertising tends to occur during key political races, like the presidential race in 2012, I really do not anticipate that PSA use will drop more than 5%. This is not a significant enough drop to really affect any marketers’ decisions to not use PSAs as a marketing strategy.
The only time I advise clients to not distribute PSAs is from November 1 to December 31, unless their message ties in during the holidays.
Tom Hanks has nothing on me. Yeah, he was cast away on a deserted island for four years, but did he lose his iPhone? Did he survive a week without checking his email at every convenient moment? Did he suffer the inability to check baseball scores or the ESPN Fantasy Scoreboard? Did he know what it was like to not use a TV Guide app and have to actually flip through the channels to find a program? Did he go to his favorite coffee shop (Starbucks) unable to check in on Foursquare? Did he experience the anxiety of not being able to text friends and associates whenever the spirit moved him? Did he have a clue what it was like to be shunned by the mobile Facebook and Twitter communities? Did he stare into the eye of a QR Code knowing he could not scan and download?
No, Tom Hanks (aka, Chuck Noland, the FedEx systems engineer) had it easy. After all, I was one of those guys – one of those early adopters – who managed to secure the earliest version of the iPhone… the iPhone classic. And despite the crappy AT&T coverage and the grindingly slow speed at which it operated, it became a part of me. And I became a part of it.
So imagine the emotional pain of losing my right appendage.
Turns out it wasn’t that big a deal. Within the first 24 hours, I was back to my old routines (pre-iPhone). Within a couple days I was actually happy to be freed up to talk with people and avoid all the junk mail and conversations that were eating up my day. I even managed to spend the last two days in Atlanta on business without missing a beat. Suddenly my iPhone was a whyPhone, as in “why did I let it become such an important part of my life?”
By the time you read this, I will have survived seven days – a full week – without my soulmate. I will also be activating my new iPhone 4.
What can I say. Just because I don’t need it, doesn’t mean I don’t want it.
You have not had any media training but suddenly a key media outlet is on the phone or at your office requesting an interview. Use the guidelines below to get you through an unexpected opportunity in a pinch.
1. Be professional at all times. Interviews are not conversations. Remember that reporters represent the public and will sometimes ask hard or even deliberately leading questions to elicit an emotional or sensational response from you. Be professional at all times; do not slip into a conversational mode.
2. Set the agenda on what you want to get across in an interview. Select a few key points and be certain to cover them regardless of what specific questions the reporter may ask.
3. Steer the interview in any direction you choose. If you are good at it, you can use a reporter’s questions to springboard to the area you want covered. This is legitimate technique for conveying your key messages.
4. Reporters are not necessarily experts. More often they are generalists. Don’t assume they will know anything, yet alone everything about your area of expertise. Provide them with good, concise background material prior to or after an interview.
5. Reporters come in all personality types. Don’t put them all in any one category – “friends” or “out to get a sensational story.” And don’t assume that the same reporter will always have the same approach.
6. There is no such thing as “off the record.” If you don’t want something to appear in print or on the air, do NOT say it.
7. Control your emotions. Before and during interviews: breathe deeply…take time to gather your thoughts…be serious when appropriate and animated when appropriate.
8. Do not answer a question that you don’t know how to answer. Tell the reporter you will get back to him/her as soon as possible. Call back as soon as possible with the requested information.
9. Tell the truth. If you don’t, your credibility is ruined. If you cannot absolutely divulge information, say so, and state why. Do NOT say “no comment”; it will appear that you are not being honest or withholding information.
10. When interviewing for a live TV segment, dress appropriately at all times. Your overall appearance reflects upon you and upon your business.