Don’t Ask, Just Share

Photo cred: Keith Allison
Photo cred: Keith Allison

If Kobe gets open for a shot, should he yell “Pass me the ball!”? No…he needs to make the ball handler aware of the opportunity so that he can decide what to do.  As lame as that sounded, same goes for reaching out to a blogger.

Chances are the blogger knows that you’re pitching them before they even open the email.  Bloggers are used to receiving pitches and the experienced ones know exactly what they expect in a good pitch.  Ultimately they know that you’re emailing them because you’d like them to write a post about your company or product. One thing bloggers definitely don’t like is being told what to blog about.

Depending on the situation, it might be good to come right out and just ask the blogger to write a post; but sometimes it’s best not to ask for anything at all.  If you’ve done your job correctly, you’re pitching this blogger because you already know that their readers would be interested in whatever it is you’re pitching.  If this is true, the blogger will want to write a post about it regardless of whether or not you ask them to.  Describe your product and explain how it might be valuable to their audience.  If they don’t want to write an entire post about it, they may be interested in sharing it within another post or sharing it elsewhere.  There are a number of opportunities.

If you describe your product and then end the email asking them to write a post about it, they may just decide it’s not worthy of a post and move on.  You’re only focusing on one option.  They’ll be much more receptive to an email that aims to do nothing more than share information about a valuable product, and that doesn’t push them to do anything.  Bloggers love to share and if it really is valuable, the request isn’t necessary…they WILL share. (Just like if Kobe is open, they WILL pass)

Do you agree?

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Blog For Your Audience, Not Your Product

Photo cred: Felipe Trucco
Photo cred: Felipe Trucco

Should all businesses start a blog? Will they all benefit from starting a blog? This has been a big question that many businesses are asking as social media develops into a relevant business tool. There are a range of views on this matter, as this question fueled a great discussion on this week’s #blogchat. Here are my thoughts on the issue…

Whether or not you should start a blog has less to do with your product, and more to do with your customers and your audience. During #blogchat, someone described a company that sells pools as a company that shouldn’t blog…because who wants to read a blog about pools right? This person was basing their decision on the product without looking at the big picture.

You have to figure out what is valuable to your audience. For the pool company, they could start a blog about anything pertaining to pools that will help their audience and provide value. Blog about pool deck designs, cool new pool toys and tools, how to throw pool parties, pool care tips etc. You don’t have to blog about your product and what you have to offer; in fact you’re better off not blogging all about your product.

Take my blog as an example. I am looking for a job and so my product is myself. If I blogged only about myself, and what I have to offer companies, I would have absolutely no readers. I blog about things that (I think) are valuable to my audience. By doing this, I prove my knowledge in the industry, create awareness of my product, build trust with my customers, and ultimately sell my product (get a job)…hopefully.

A great example of a company creating a community around their product’s “big picture” is Dell.  They have a few different blogs that provide info for small businesses, education, and other areas of their audience’s interest.  Many of the topics that Dell discusses have very little to do with their products.  After providing content of value however, their customers are more receptive when Dell also posts information about the company and it’s products.

Look at the big picture, blog for your audience.

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