Taylor Donlan (hire him), employee number one at Abraham Harrison LLC, emeritus, started our hallowed tradition of ensuring our clients provided us with a worthwhile gift to our bloggers, be it embargoed news, exclusive content, newsworthiness, humor, a perfect fit, or even a $2 off coupon in the case of Snuggle Creme — and if you’re honest, is it entertaining?
When all is said and done, earned media blogger PR doesn’t cut it unless bloggers are willing to take up the cause and blog about our clients. We’re not a paid placement company like some and we can’t make anyone do anything, especially bloggers who are the epitome of cat herding. They need to choose us, we can’t just tap them.
When we have a kick-off meeting about a new client, we always carefully consider whether what the client has to offer is compelling enough to actually earn coverage online — and they oftentimes don’t make the grade.
In fact, we recently went through this ourselves and we discovered that this needed to become a collaborative litmus test: Dan didn’t think the US Investment in Africa Study had any legs because it was academic but Mark and I knew there were lots of other Foreign Affair wonks like us in the blogosphere; Mark and I didn’t think bloggers would want to blog about Snuggle Fabric softener, but Dan knew he had a star on his hands and the metrics proved true: more earned media blog posts and tweets ever in our history, to date!
In fact, we have done a lot of thinking about this:
Why am I on about this this morning? Well, my friend Sally Falkow did it again in the form of her latest blog post Online Success is About Telling Stories:
Every business is now a publisher, said Vaynerchuk. The right content is the key to engagement. But you have to figure out what content will fill a need for your audience. It’s about providing information, being useful and being entertaining.
It’s vital to be listening to your audience and responding with content that makes sense and offers value. The major shift in media consumption, and the low barrier to entry for publishing online, make it possible for anyone and everyone to create content.
Success online is about telling stories and producing great content. The right content creates engagement. Engagement creates loyal followers and customers.
In order to be compelling enough to attract bloggers to blog about you or your clients, you must be appealing, you must be attractive, and you must be willing and able to tell your story, share your process, and tease out your narrative.
Our favorite clients thinks about this quite a lot — the best clients to work with generally already get “entertaining:” advertising agencies and content companies.
At the end of the day, if we are handed a nothing burger by our client, it is off to the drawing board to develop the story, to explore a narrative, to ask the right questions and prospect the right bloggers and self-selected interest groups.
Sometimes, even with the best narrative ever and the most generous gifts, you wind up with a nothing burger with nothing sauce and you sit back and scratch your head. What we have discovered over time is that these sorts of failures often have to do with targeting, messaging, or oftentimes both.
This happened to us recently as well. Perfect gift, great story, excellent narrative, the whole nine yards; however, we were reaching out to Central and South America in Spanish and Portuguese. Well, Latin America hated our messaging for cultural reasons. In many Spanish-speaking countries, young, successful, wealthy entrepreneurs are considered villians instead of being heroes, a very American view.
We didn’t need to change our gift, we just needed to change our angle of attack which came down to our messaging, our pitch, and a couple-few adjustments to our Social Media News Release and that did the trick! It was cultural!