Bloggers can yield a great amount of influence with their readers. If you are looking to do Online PR, you have to learn to pitch Bloggers correctly. Just like journalists, they are constantly bombarded by requests. Yours has to stand out – for all the right reasons.

# 1: Select Your Bloggers Carefully & Then Reach Out

Which blogs are actually reaching the audience you want to reach? Don’t look for the biggest blogs. Look for the ones that reach your audience. If you want to reach moms, you probably want to go after mommy Bloggers. If you want to reach early adopters of technology, you want to go after technology Bloggers and also generic Bloggers.

How do you know that a blog has a lot of influence/readership? There are three clearly defined characteristics of an influential blog:

  • Check the page rank. Solid blogs generally have a higher Google page rank. Anything 4 and above can be seen as favorable
  • Check for comments and responses left by others. An active blog will have regular comments
  • Check for how many times they post. Generally, a Blogger who posts three or four times a week is more in touch with their community than someone who posts once a week
  • Also check for the tone of the posts, sometimes a positive post can be written with little sarcastic, this might leave many thoughts in the reader’s mind, be careful to look at that aspect
  • Research on where all, a particular blog is been referred, most of the times influential Blogs are referred on other Blogs, this will also gain insights of the reliability and genuineness of an influential Blog, not just referred on Social platforms
  • Never rely on the number of visits, as it can tweaked. Best thing is to look at the number of posts and number of years a Blogger has been writing
  • Have a check on the Blogs if there is an opening of Ad placements on the Blog, those Blogs can be too commercial and cannot be guaranteed of genuine reviews on a particular product
  • There are few Blog who just links to other Blogs, should not be considered

Tip # 2: Provide Common Ground- And Be Convincing

How do you convince Bloggers to write about you? You must make an effort to customize your emails to these Bloggers. Capture their interest first, and then work on building a relationship. Remember – they don’t have to care about you or your product. You have an obligation to show them how it can benefit them and their readers.

Tip # 3: Giving Them Control, Make Them Feel Valued as Bloggers

According to a recent survey, it was found that majority of the Bloggers believed that it’s fine to write about products and services, given that they are free to write about it the way they want to. Give Bloggers that freedom. You can also give them something that they can give away to their readers. The easiest way to draw in large ‘crowds’ of readers is by offering a prizes, Goodies to a reader or a bunch of readers who will win in a contest. As for the mechanics of the contest, leave that to the blogger. The blogger probably knows his or her readers better than you. Entrust the prize and let the blogger create the buzz as they see fit.

On a final note, remember that it takes time and patience. When we pitch bloggers for clients, sometimes it takes pitching a 100 bloggers to get 10 positive responses. And, that’s okay. You want to find the ones that your message resonates with in a positive manner.

Cost of Inactivity

June 5, 2009

I would like to thank to one of my online friend – ISABELLE who has been actively discussing with me on this matter, The Best part of our discussion was coming up with a  new perspective to look at “Cost of Inactivity” rather than analyzing it through ROI, Cost per click etc etc.

Inactivity has been an important concern in the Social Media World especially in the Indian Markets. Social Media has been very successful in other countries. India has still yet to taste the response of Social Media. Yes there are many companies who have started using Social Media as one the mediums to engage people. But they are not completely in it. The current perception of the Indian market is still restricted to contests, Campaigns to engage users and not discussions, brainstorming and other Crowd sourcing activities. Indian brands are still skeptical to act transparent to the actual people and still looking at different ways to control these mediums in either restricting themselves on tools or content.

But Social Media is more than just sharing a company’s information, their operations, their expansion plans, service etc. Social Media is also, giving an opportunity to the people to participate in one’s brand conversations, such as brand enhancements and many more. It need not have to be specific to the brand but a relative activity of the brand. Ultimately what people look for is an opportunity to converse with people on different possible discussions, express their views, frustrations, ideas etc. where they would like make some value additions. The Best example of is the Idea Campaign, it does have an emotional connect as well as involve people in the brand’s Initiatives.

There is one more reason why Brands in India are not very keen in involving real people in their activities, as the fear of conversations going against them. But, its worth taking a risk.

It needs a long term strategy to develop good relationships with the real people. An ideal social media strategy should span across between 3 to 6 months. Social Media strategies are little time consuming, but in this case we are building a communication support to backup our promotional activities. It just like somebody approaching you with a product which has no history and future. Everyone needs some supporting, not just appearing it on Hoardings, Electronic media, but also adding some personalized touch to it.

Brands still look at one big Idea, than looking at simple strategies to support it. And this kind of practice is dangerous for a brand image. Moreover, just being listed on all popular social media services, will not be considered as being active on it. One has to talk to people, ask their reviews, involve them in the brand’s survey processes and also involve them in possible brainstorming processes. This will certainly place any brand to a customer’s expectation and also building brand loyalty. People wants their concern to be considered. So far we have been hiding and running away from their concerns, and naturally that leads a Brand Disaster in the coming future. Moreover, being active is so important as there is immense competition around the brands itself. Lets understand one thing, being inactive is far more expensive than being active. Here are some important aspects to look at it:

  1. Misunderstanding towards a Brand
  2. Loosing valuable customers without knowing
  3. Negative Influence
  4. Misinterpretation of the customers  expectation and hence ending up in a loose out
  5. Advantage for the competitors
  6. Negative conversations going out of control damaging the Brand Reputation
  7. Very difficult to convince and provide possible justification on a claim or an incident
  8. Loosing out good opportunities to connect with consumers directly and also understanding their expectations
  9. Spending lot of money on the research companies, with assumptive survey reports
  10. Unwanted Redirection of Valuable Conversations

Looking at so many possible disadvantages, Is Being Inactive Worth a try ?

Recently, I did a close comparison between proprietary tools  and Social Tools available. Now this might sound little confusing. Let me clear this fact. Proprietary tools means having your own site and having your own social features available on your site such as Hindustan Lever having Blogging, Video sharing and community features on their site. In this way they think they can grab the same amount of users to their website, just like all other popular tools available such as Facebook, Orkut, You tube, WordPress, Blogger etc.  The logic behind this is great, but it does not work at all. Many clients featuring all these possibilities on their site anticipate tremendous traffic to their site. But this is not the fact at all. It never works like that.   The clear difference is Proprietor y presence does not have the general identity which other social tools have. Its like knowing a company’s website and knowing yahoo.com. Yahoo is considered to be a landmark, anything published on it has a global reach. So the presence can be considered as a landmark. It also depends what kind of approach Yahoo had towards users and what they offered. Most of the people are glued to this presence.

Recently, I had a chat with one of my client who thinks that they had provided all necessary social platforms on their site and does not feel the need of using other popular social media presence to add more traffic to their site.  Well I don’t see any clear reason to why one should not use other Social Media platforms. In fact, my recommendation would be not spending any money building Social features on an individual company site and use other popular social platforms to drive the traffic to the site. Users want to meet up at a common place. There are 1000’s of places where people discuss and meet online. Yes.. But a website is compulsory….. there cannot be any replacement to it.

A simple example :

Knowing a destination like Gateway of India and knowing an address of a Corporate office, are two different things.  Even if a corporate office has everything as Gateway of India has, people will still go for Gateway of India, because everybody knows about it from ages. It is a Landmark !

Similarly, it is just not advisable to maintain proprietary tools and expect tons of traffic to their site. One must have a clear and a strong presence on general online presence, because they are already established and people have accepted it, because the motive behind is to just connect people and not promote an individual business. Whereas, a proprietary online presence is focused to only promote and talk about specific business. Though a proprietary presence may have tons of traffic, but there is no credibility of the traffic. Most of the traffic is driven through Google Ads, Search Engine techniques and it is been rated on the statistics. Nowadays, statistics is not just everything. One cannot decide the credibility of the information through number of page visits. What about credibility of information, how can statistics define a particular visitor of the site is willing to know about a company’s business or their communications. But all this is possible at the available Social Tools. They are designed and developed only to know about this particular intention of a user.

Online statistics can been a good beginning to rate a website ROI, but in the long run, it fades out and the traffic depends on the quality of information and not just quantity of information

One more example:

A contestant dancing in his room and a contestant dancing on a stage has a clear and logical answer to the above disucssion. No one would go to his room and watch him, until he or she comes on a global platform.

Did we ever realize that we are far far,  far superior than Google.  I realized this, in one of our discussions with my friends & colleagues.  As usual, we were discussing about a brand and how can we leverage multiple platforms in promotion.  Let me start with Google and  its search logic. Whenever we key in any query in the search bar. It gives you many specific results and it also gives you related results. If you click these related results, we can see more related results on it, and this route map continues.

I found this logic very much similar to our brain and the way we think. I also realized that this is the exact logic we should use it for any brand when it comes in implementing any digital program for them as the platforms are endless. So far, i have observed many people fail to think this way when it comes in implementing online marketing tactics, related to social media and the new evolved online technologies.

Ideas on Social media and other digital marketing tactics are endless.  It depends on how far you can connect each idea and come out with a new sub-idea. But, it also depends how far you can implement those ideas. Lot of people call it as Brain mapping. But, yes it is actually brain mapping, which helps you to realize the endless ideas and implementations towards any Digital Marketing Program. A simple illustration is been illustrated on this perception, the image actually depicts a process on a patient, but the logic remains same to our context.

brain-map-social-media-map, influential map

I think nowadays, I am breathing  Search Engine Marketing & Social Media Marketing, as it is connecting me or rather i am getting connected at every step and every moment of my life.  As i was mentioning about a discussion with my colleagues on a brand, we went on connecting every parameter of the brand and further went on connecting platforms to be used to promote the desired brand.

Initially when it came to me, of course, i had lot of things in my mind, but further i went on realizing many more connecting ideas to it, which very much worked as Brain Mapping. Many people say that it might be a brain storming process, but most of the brain storming session involve only debates and arguments.  Good, I attended one of the Brain Mapping workshops in the past. But frankly I literally got bored of it and even thought why would i think that way. But yes now it gave me a great platform to think that way. Thanks to that Brain mapping workshop which I attended.  Google exactly follows this logic. I think the owner of the Google was a Brain Mapping Guru 🙂 sounds funny right! No not at all. This is a very important aspect to any successful foundation, technology and identity.

influential-brain-mapping, influential marketing, Network Marketing

Did any one realize how brain mapping works, its exactly resembles our popular concepts of Social Networks and the great influential marketing. Where each of your thought is influenced by another thought. I have even added a picture so that it can be related easily.

Every thought is connected to another. Similarly there is no reason why the logic behind Social Media is not exactly like a thought of a  human.

I sometimes do realize that we are seeing something we have already seen before, but at that time we never liked it as we always felt that it was not made for us.  I am talking about Simple Network marketing. I still remember when my friends use to call me for some interesting seminars and that use to turn out to be Amway or Quantum. I always use to runaway from these schemes of Network marketing such you become a member and then you bring 10 friends in the circle and it goes on like that. Of course,  it was one of the first concepts of Network Marketing.

chain-marketing-distribution-networking-network-marketing

We are still in the similar circle. We see so many Social Networking Sites evolving day by day getting more and more flexibility and user convenient features to add more value for interactions and conversations.

I have a very bad habit of relating every knowledge related thing to real life examples. I think that’s the way i perceive and understand it best.  As a Digital Marketing Professional i think its very important that one should always start relate these technical platforms with real life examples, because that’s how they are evolved.  All the technologies what we see in our day to day life are evolved from a human’s perspective. We want it to work that way to help in our daily needs.

Everything we see now is all evolved from our thoughts. J Just like Shivsena Shakha (Shivsena branches) having their individual networks across the state, to spread the message easily. Sorry, for Shivsena, as it is one always on our Mumbaikars mind. Just like a company having their chain of Distributors, Retailers and stockists. They do help selling the product at their individual networks.

influential-marketing, Network Marketing, Chain Marketing, Social Networking, Marketing Techniques, Marketing Logic, Marketing information, how to market a product online

Similarly every single human will have his own network, like me having my friends and my friends having their own friends and the chain goes on. Such a long influential network.  We have never thought like this before.

All that matters is every individual in the web network. Thanks for all these Networking Platforms which helps an individual to raise his voice, opinion across the web and also out of the web. Many times I end up debating with my friends, clients and my colleagues. We always update new figures of users who are active online. Every year we keep updating it. But we are just not talking about people who are online.

For Eg:

Say out of 100 people only 35 people are online, but one forgets that these 35 people who get influenced on web influence other remaining 75 people who are not present online, so one cannot say that Digital Marketing or online network marketing cannot drive the marketing campaigning completely. Though it might not affect the rest 75 completely but it surely affects at least 40 people out of 75.

Well its difficult sometimes to trace the people outside the internet world to find out the effect of  our marketing campaign but its so simple to understand and there is a clear logic to it.

Its just a paperless platform we are using nothing else.

Website or a Blog

January 11, 2009

This had always been a debate through out my experience in Online Marketing & Social Media Marketing. Lot of people are still amused in differentiating a Blog and a Website.

I come across  many people who always keep asking me what is a Blog, certainly they know about a website. I keep telling them, it’s just another website which is available on a shareable domain name such as yourname.wordpress.com, myname.blogspot.com.

Well to justify it. There is absolutely no difference in a website and a Blog. Both are web pages built for certain needs. The only difference is that a website can be customized in any form and then can be uploaded. But whereas, a Blog is a predefined template and can use only the defined features in it.

For new entrepreneurs, Authors, celebrities a Blog is the most ideal tool for online communication. Many clients who are authors, Celebrities do ask me for a website. But I always suggest them for a Blog. It gives all features such as uploading content, Images, Video and many more. Blogs can also be hosted on a defined domain, for further customization to make it look like exactly a website. In fact it is an easy way of launching your online Identity within minutes. Online Search Engine Optimization, formatting of the content, renaming of the images, assigning right kind of keywords, linking, interlinking etc, almost everything is possible. You can even add multiple pages to your Blog to make it look like a website. So what else one does want?

In such a competitive online world, everyone feels that an online identity is must, hence small entrepreneurs can really use this concept to spread their business across the digital space in minutes. Because the new upcoming companies will surely not have the kind of content and topics as seen in the website. Many people are still not convinced with the html page driven website or a Blog, they still feel that a flash based website is more interactive and attractive. But this is not the case any more, nowadays people look for unique and informational content. They no more feel the impact. If one observes, most of the popular sites available online are all HTML, CSS driven sites. Certainly it can attract many search engines effectively, hence also gaining a popular ranking in it. Well creating a Blog is certainly very cost effective and can be done in minutes, without worrying about time, creativity, content. This is has been the most popular concept available online.

I always think that we see it the way we perceive it. But sometimes we should see the logical aspect of it. In India, many people do think that a Blog and a website are two different things. But, it is absolutely not. I hope that all our young and upcoming entrepreneurs do realize this aspect and would identify their ready made online presence available for free. Imagine if this happens, we would achieve a breakthrough in internet communication in India, which is still lacking at times. It is certainly a very cost effective and a convenient tool to use.

But when do we start realizing?

Awareness Drives Sales

January 9, 2009

awareness-drives-sales-digital-communications-digital-marketing-online-awareness-social-media1Recently I had to speak to one client regarding a digital promotion of a book.
As usual, I was pitching will all kinds of explanations, how digital can help you… what kind of tool we will be using to build awareness across the digital space. After all these conversations, the client says “I want 2 lac copies of my book to be sold” Give me an assurity that you can sell 2 lac copies of my book through digital Communications.

I was pretty much surprised with this reaction from the client.

I even took it positively and asked the client that when he is planning to launch the book, “he said – well roughly in 15 days”. I smiled and I said that Digital Communications needs at least 1 month to do the foundation work. In such as short period there is an expectation of selling 2 lac copies. Well I guess nobody knows about this book and about the Author. So It is going be little difficult but we will surely take it as a challenge. But the client kept on insisting about the sale of 2 lac copies. Now this was one of my conversations with one of my clients, which did not turn out to be my client, as he wants to sell only 2 lac copies of the book and make money out of it.

There is a clear and simple logic towards any marketing activity,

“Awareness Drives Sales” – Every marketer knows that without awareness there cannot be any sale towards any product or any service. Similarly in digital Communications nothing can be sold or nothing be absorbed without giving proper information about it. Consumers who are connected to you online are very curious to know each and everything you communicate, and perceive it accordingly. This is the most difficult phase for any marketer at the same time yet challenging, because consumers will have different thoughts and different approach to anything they absorb, naturally comments, reviews & questions will be asked by them and sometimes it is difficult to answer by any marketer, in such a case one needs to be connected with them from the beginning so that one knows about them and how they interact and what is their thought process accordingly they questions, comments can be answered and justified.

Every single step should be planned so that we don’t miss out any kind of communication with the consumer. Similar to any traditional marketing activity a proper profiling, proper communication needs to be established between the seller and consumer. This is only possible if there is any home work done at the sellers end. One should understand that though the digital communications helps any one to reach their consumers directly, but a consumer would not interact with you directly on what you want to offer. In order to achieve that, one needs to be present in all possible ways and build an awareness program initially. Let people know “who you are”, “What is your passion”, “what is your background”, “what is your objective in reaching the consumers directly”. Let people in the web space know about your thoughts about what you feel and about what you think towards your profession, product, service etc. This way initially you will be known to people and then that identity will help you to interact with your consumers. If one tries to offer a product, service etc directly, then there will be no difference between a seller who sells their products without building relationships with the consumers. In this case he will be able to sell his products only once to the consumers… And this would be a bad business practice.

Lot of people doesn’t think about how awareness can drive sales to their company or product. If one observes carefully, only awareness drives sales and nothing else. In short, no sensible marketer will assure a fixed number of sales to any product. But the awareness program needs to be built strategically so that on every step we communicate right kind of information about a product. and also can maintain a record of what is been communicated, so that in later stages we can even review what is been communicated to avoid misunderstandings. In digital Communications, none can sell or talk about their service, product directly until a strong relationship is been established.

And that’s the beauty of Digital Communications. Infact using Digital Communications means connecting your consumers directly without any mediators between. So that gives the answer to all queries in Digital Marketing