A few months ago, I wrote a post called the Secret Sauce for the Perfect Pitch. In that post, I outlined a recipe for a good pitch to bloggers.
Central to the recipe was “adding value:”
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.
I also listed some ways to add value:
- Provide access to exclusive information.
- Offer evaluation products or samples.
- Offer products to the blogger that she can give away to her readers.
- Events and junkets.
- Support the charities and causes the community cares about.
- Put the blogger at the center, not your product.
Now, this is just a list of tactics. Some may work for you, others may not. We need to develop a program that balances the value to the company and the blogger.
Just as in the commercial equation, where we make a purchase decision based on whether the value of the product merits the exchange of our currency — is it worth it? — we need a balanced value exchange when we reach out to bloggers. This is true for any social media program aimed at a community, including both blogger relations and programs for a defined online community or social network, whether run by a company or independent.
If the value tips too far to the company, it will seem like it is just asking for free publicity without compensation or consideration. The blogger says no. Run an ad. If the value tips too far to the blogger, it’s probably not cost effective for the company. A non-starter.
So we need to add value and balance value.
The key is in our mutual values. What is important to the company, to the blogger, and where do they intersect? That’s where we find the “thing” around which we can build a blogger relations program. I suggest using mind-mapping to find the intersect.
I’ve been working on a model (illustration below) that focuses on finding the shared emotions. What do both the blogger and the company care about? It’s not simply the features of the product, as much as the company might wish it so. Those may be enough to trigger a purchase decision, but not a decision to cover the product or service on the blog.
So here are some key ingredients for your perfect pitch:
- What are our shared values? What do we both care about?
- How can I use this knowledge to create a program that adds value for the blogger or community? Which of the secret sauce ingredients make the most sense for us?
- Is the value balanced? Are we both getting enough from the deal? If not, how do I fix it?
In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how to apply this model. And to make the point, I’ll use some pretty generic products. Maybe cotton swabs….