μεταcole

3 levels of blogger engagement strategy

Posted in all posts, blogging by coleman yee on October 4, 2009

As part of their marketing and PR strategy, many companies and their PR agencies have been courting bloggers. The basic objective is essentially the same – more publicity for the company or product.

Level 1: what’s in it for us (the company)

Whether it’s more publicity hopefully leading to more sales, or just gaining community goodwill, it’s taken for granted that the company should have something to gain through the blogger engagement.

However, if the company is working on this level alone, it can never be effective in it’s blogger engagement strategy.

It has to move to the next level…

Level 2: what’s in it for the blogger

The savvier companies are strong in this mindset. They fully understand that the blogger must have something to gain before they will engage.

This could be an event with good food and drinks and great company (other interesting bloggers), it could be a product launch where the blogger gets to be the first to try out the product that they’re interested in, or it could be some competition where the blogger has a good chance of winning fabulous prizes.

If the company’s offer is sufficiently valuable to the blogger, then there’s a good chance that the blogger will blog about it.

If this seems a little risky (“what if the blogger doesn’t blog about it?”), you can always get the blogger to agree to blog…

Agreeing to blog

Advertorials or sponsored posts come under this category, where the blogger agrees to blog about the company/product for a payment. A good and reputable blogger will always disclose to their readers if a post is sponsored, so don’t bother asking bloggers to hide the fact.

Competitions or challenges also work, where blogging about the company/product is part of the competition, e.g. the funniest post on this brand of potato chips wins.

Of recent days, we’ve also seen competitions where the contestants are a few selected bloggers agree to take part in it. Examples include the Soyjoy GI Challenge and the Blogathon.

While many of these blogger engagement attempts have been quite interesting and successful, some bloggers, particularly the most reputable ones, tend to be resistant to anything that puts them in a position where they have to agree to blog.

To reach these bloggers, companies have to think about moving on to the next level…

Level 3: what’s in it for the blogger’s readers

What companies need to be thinking a lot harder about is how they can help the blogger give more value to their readers.

Popular bloggers understand implicitly that they must provide value to their readers every time they hit the “post” button – be it informational value (wow I didn’t know that!) or entertainment value (LOL!) etc. They’ve built up their large following only because of the value they’ve been giving to their readers.

Many successful blogger engagement activities actually do give bloggers the opportunity to bring value to their readers, but these are often incidental, e.g. inviting the blogger to an exclusive unveiling of a new phone – the readers benefit by being among the first to learn about the phone.

The easiest and most obvious way to benefit the bloggers’ readers is to give out gifts or prizes through the blogger. The Soyjoy GI Challenge and Blogathon (mentioned earlier) have components of this. The Soyjoy one, for instance, had a challenge where the blogger-contestants’ readers could ask for free Soyjoy bars to be delivered to their workplaces.

Another way is to make it easier for the blogger to blog about the company/product. I’m reminded of this Canon digital camera event for bloggers, where they gave every blogger an SD card to keep. The bloggers could freely test out the cameras, saving the photos they captured in those SD cards (see this short post by Claudia.sg “Finally Someone Got It!“).

I’m sure there are many other ways that companies can think of that will not only benefit themselves, the bloggers, but also the bloggers’ readers.

And that’s really why I’m writing this – I hope this will spur more companies into paying more attention to this aspect of blogger engagement. Do let me know if you have some ideas in this. The wilder the better 🙂

Special thanks to my deep-thinking colleagues at Digital Boomerang who gave me this idea.

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μεταcole Milestone

Posted in all posts, blogging, design, education by coleman yee on February 5, 2007

Last friday was the last day of work for me as an Educational Technologist at the Teaching & Learning Centre of Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and today marks my first day at PebbleRoad as a Design Consultant.
As such, I’ll also be shifting the focus of my blog.

To reflect that, I’ve changed the tagline from “education and everything else” to “design thinking, education, and everything else”.

I’ll still be blogging about education, even though my new role doesn’t deal with it as much, since education is still an area I’m deeply interested in.

As for what “design thinking” is exactly, we’ll just have to wait and see how this blog develops.

Sit tight…

P.S. the About page has been updated a little. Just a little.

Feedback from a Student

Posted in all posts, blogging, life, philosophy, stories, teaching by coleman yee on August 4, 2006

Yesterday, I had my last lesson with a group of students. Since this was my last opportunity to speak to them, I spent quite a bit of effort in preparation for it.

The “closing talk” went really well. Using lots of my own stories and experiences with loads of humor, I had the full attention of the 18-year-olds (including the normally attention-deficient ones) throughout the 150-Powerpoint-slides-in-45-minutes session. (Yes, I really had 150 slides.)

Later that day, one of the girls blogged about it:

today during i n e lesson i was really inspired by coleman’s closing talk. he talked about courage, and having the “just do it” attitude. i feel that i should have that attitude too and not try and think so much. at times im a real thinker and think about the consequences, and factors that would affect my decision. also, he did emphasize that we get only one life, so make it meaningful. yes. i should make my life meaningful and make it my own. i want to re-live life again. yes, i’ve got only 1 life, and i should treasure it and make it really meaningful. he did mention about honesty also. yes, its very important. and i guess when i make decisions, i guess, its not about whether its theoretically right or not, but whether the decision i made is it honest to myself or not. these are lifeskills, and it is essential. coleman’s closing did really inspire me and i’ve really made the decision to make my life meaningful. this life is mine and God is in control. i want to rise up and soar from the situation i am in.

It’s reading things like this from students that makes teaching really meaningful and worth all the effort.