Thank You For Being A Friend ala Golden Girls

Thank you for being a friend What started out as thanking other bloggers and websites for sending a link SuperAff’s way, has progressed to something I look forward to getting a little creative and having a little fun with.

A big thank you to everyone who has linked here, including these bloggers who linked to SuperAff in a blog post last month:

Not only did Monetize at Merged.ca include a link to SuperAff during his most traffic pounding moments, he also got the word out about the pdf file for Google’s pizza sauce recipe spam I uploaded on SuperAff. You don’t see that happen too often in our corner of the blogosphere, especially from someone you’ve never spoken to (at least AFAIK). A very Generous fellow indeed :). Thank you Merged.ca!

V7N Search Marketing News Blog was nice enough to send some link love, no one can resist pizza sauce recipe spam, yum yum!

5 Star Affiliate Marketing Blog was kind to me again, another generous blogger.

Also a hearty thank you to MarketingSherpa for including SuperAff in the Affiliate Marketing category of its 2006 Readers Choice Awards. The thrill really is from being included :).

Forum Goodness:

Thanks to Digital Point Forums users for the mention!

More thanks to the following bloggers:

Jangro.com
Building My Empire
Roy of Superior Art Creations
Threadwatch

The personal entertainment I enjoyed last month was watching the download stats for the Google’s Pizza Sauce Recipe Scandal. Last month there were over 1,200 downloads of the pdf and this month it’s already a couple hundred.

Question: Any advice on how I should work the pizza sauce recipe SERPs traffic that’s trickling in now? 😆

Please check the above blogs and sites out if you haven’t already–plenty of great stuff!

Investors, Blogging & A Tinfoil Hat

Theoretical Situation:

  • Johnny Blogger has $100,000 invested in Google Stock
  • He has a very popular blog, well respected and enjoys a wide readership in the tens of thousands
  • He frequently hypes Google and its products

Question:

Do you expect bloggers to clearly announce their financial interests in companies they are blogging about?

The highly touted Bloggers Creed of Transparency:

The ethic of transparency: We believe that our public deserves to know about us and our perspective to better judge what we say.

Is that valued in today’s blogosphere? Is it something to insist on?

I’ve been wondering about this since there were questions that Digg was being used to manipulate stock and how easy it would be for investors of any public company to set the blogosphere on fire, and keep it on fire, about their golden ticket if they wanted to.

The mainstream media that so many bloggers love to trash, mock, taunt and hate–is quite transparent when it comes to affiliated financial interests/conflicts like this.

Do you expect that same transparency from your favorite bloggers?

More Reading:

Wikipedia: Media Manipulation
Wikipedia: Media Bias
Wikipedia: Media Accountability

Propaganda is a specific type of message presentation directly aimed at influencing the opinions of people, rather than impartially providing information.

Choosing Bloggers To Approach For Buzz Marketing

You realize that bloggers can kick start the buzz about your company or product into high gear. You recognize the importance of offering a good WIIFM to those bloggers.

But which bloggers do you approach? You realize not all bloggers are equal. Some ideas, but certainly not an exhaustive list…

First decide what your target market is, which readers do you want to be introduced to your product? You want a readership targeted to your product so compile a list of blogs that fit.

Since I’m probably one of the most jaded online readers you’ll find, I’ll tell you who I don’t listen to in the online world. I think no matter who the reader is, these apply to everyone on some level.

The blogger promotes every new product that comes out or a good portion of their blog posts are about products to buy

Fair or not–their message registers at a flat zero to me.

The blogger promoted a big scheme or crap product that fell flat, and pushed it hard even after the fall

Message to me: They can be bought at my expense.

They promote products, sell sell sell all the day long, but have yet to point to well known free or less costly tools and resources that are also helpful

They’re not interested in helping me, like they present it, they’re interested in their pocket books. Again at my expense.

Are they Slim Shady, blogging about & promoting shady things?

No explanation necessary.

Bloggers who aren’t selective in what they promote can tune out their readers. And in some cases, may even attach a ‘smell’ factor to your product. It’s like flashing banner ads or popups–annoying and you ignore them or block them–but you may still visit that site.

Sometimes a blogger can make a poor choice in promoting something, but if it’s consistent it does send a bad message.

Good Traffic Stats

This is a tricky one. You can check out the blog’s traffic levels at Alexa.com. However, you can’t trust the number shown. Where is that traffic coming from? Manual traffic exchanges? Hidden Iframes on autosurfs or popups? Incentivized advertising?

Or is there a forum or directory attached to the domain where the eyeballs really are? If there’s more than a blog on that domain–ask for the traffic breakdown of the domain between the blog and the forum/directory, not just the overall traffic stats. You may find most or a good chunk of the traffic is not on the blog.

Check out the subscriptions for that blog at Bloglines.com. Watch the counts on each feed since many blogs offer more than one feed choice: example for SuperAff. Compare the subscription counts to other blogs in that niche.

Do a search on Technorati for the domain, see what the link numbers are comparable to others in its niche and check out the Technorati rank, example: SuperAff on Technorati.

Get a feel for the bloggers you are thinking about approaching. Dig through some old posts. See what else they’ve promoted. Is that blogger’s relationship to his/her readers preferable to another? Watch the tone of the conversations. Would that blogger’s readers be open to a product introduction or promo from that blogger?

Traffic is an important factor when considering which bloggers to approach, but it’s not the whole story. You also want to work with bloggers that have established some level of trust and respect with their readers.

Approaching A Blogger To Introduce Your Product

I receive many notes through the contact form here on SuperAff asking me to introduce their product, their service, their blog, their podcast, their affiliate program, their ebook, yada yada yada and yada again.

Do I mind? Not at all – I encourage it and anyone’s free to contact me for whatever reason. I’m terrible at responding in a timely fashion, but I’m trying.

Did you notice though what stands out in the paragraph above? Their. Can you do this for me. My product. Promote me.

There’s no: You. No Us. Just Them.

What’s so surprising to me about this is that these are Marketers that aren’t addressing the fundamental: WIIFM factor (What’s In It For Me). And if the odd one does, it’s not a genuine WIIFM at all like a trackback link or a link on one of their deeply buried links pages. hmmm.

Give The Blogger A Worthwhile WIIFM

Good Afternoon Terry,

We’re launching a new software product ABC that we believe is very useful for webmasters. Would you mind trying it out, you can download your free copy here: [insert link]. Please let us know what you think.

We believe your readers would find our software very useful and make their webmaster lives much more productive and profitable.

If you decide to introduce our product on SuperAff, we’d like to offer coupon code: SuperAff093 for your readers to use and receive 10% off their order.

Thank you for your time and feel free to contact me at [email address] if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

New Webmaster Product Company

Amazingly, I receive these kinds of requests regularly:

Hi Terry,

I’ve just launched PretendTitleEbookReport and I think your blog readers would really learn a lot from it.

Would you mind blogging about it? I do offer a 50% affiliate commission through Clickbank so you’d earn money from the sales.

Thanks!
SuperGuru

A couple problems with this one.

First of all, I don’t do a whole lot of affiliate marketing on this here affiliate marketing blog. Shocker I know, but I don’t. I leave that for the other bloggers and guru marketers. So the incentive of an affiliate program doesn’t interest me.

Second, I’d have to purchase the product to write a decent review about it. Or at least an honest review. How many bloggers are going to run out and buy your product so they can blog about it?

How could the approach have been better?

Hi Terry,

I’ve just launched PretendTitleEbookReport and I think your blog readers would really learn a lot from it and appreciate knowing about it.

Would you mind reading it? Here’s the download link for your free copy: [link here]. Please let me know what you think.

Also if you publish a review on SuperAff, I’ll include a clickable link to SuperAff with your testimonial on my testimonials page found here: [link here]

Thanks and I’d love your feedback!
SuperGuru

What did it cost SuperGuru to approach a blogger in that manner?

Nothing. You could approach several dozen bloggers, give away a product, create a tonne of buzz, and fill your testimonial page all at the same time. All for the cost of download bandwidth or if it’s a physical product–s&h and product creation costs. Cheap buzz for sure.

Blogger is happy. You’re happy. People are talking about you. I truly am stumped that marketers aren’t chasing down this avenue and instead are actually approaching bloggers to do product and site promos for them with no genuine WIIFM. Stumped beyond belief.

How do you get a blogger’s attention? Get taken seriously? Stand above the crowd?

Simple–Offer something that’s mutually beneficial. That could be an ad buy for a post, free product, a reciprocal blog post, a legitimate return link on a trafficked page…plenty of ways. Get creative.

ETA: This post was written last week and since then paid to post has appeared, and IMO that could be a great option too.

And: I still haven’t been approached with a wad of cash to post the above. In other words: The opinions above are truly that: my opinions. No money strings attached in any way. Just in case anyone was wondering :P.

Grassroots Marketing & Paying Bloggers To Post

I just finished reading the book Startup Nation (not an aff link) and although a lot of the book offers plenty of good info online marketers can use (yes buy it), this part struck a chord with me:

How to Create Demand for Your Brand
(page 178)

Razor Scooters, all the rage in the late 1990s, became popular through a concerted grassroots campaign led by Razor’s founder, Carlton Calvin.

“We never spent a single dollar on traditional advertising. It was all grassroots marketing and word of mouth that drove the demand,” Carlton said proudly on StartupNation Radio. He got his scooters in the hands of the “cool kids” whenever he could. Excited about their new toy, the kids would immediately head outside to the sidewalks. With the Razor logo emblazoned on the scooters, wide-eyed kids looking on cried out, “I want one of those!” And demand spiked instantly. By strategically giving scooters to “influencers” in various communities, Carlton has sold five million Razor Scooters in just a few short years.

When I read that I thought of blogs and approaching bloggers to introduce your products or websites to their readers. Have the kids (bloggers) that have some attention (eyeballs) sit and have a chat and show off your products and websites.

I wrote this post last week but have had to come in and rewrite since there’s a lot of talk right now about paid blog posts. I’ve read opinions and discussions that are both pro and con, and I think some bloggers business models may be threatened by it–but overall I think it can be a great move forward if it’s done properly.

I see every blogger that’s making a dime directly or indirectly from blogging as ‘blogging for money’. If you removed adsense, removed affiliate relationships, removed sidebar and banner advertising, removed building business opportunities and networking relationships or establishing reputations/careers, there aren’t a whole bunch of bloggers getting paid in some manner to post.

I don’t see a whole lot of bloggers writing blog posts without some sort of incentive (both direct and indirect cash) involved in some way.

Paid to post is simply another option. It’s product placement (products used within main content) rather than commercials (sidebar/text/banner advertising). If not overdone and obnoxious, this can serve both the advertisers and the bloggers well.

I think it’s an exciting thing for an advertiser, and I’m more drawn to that aspect of paid blogging rather than as a blogger. Good times. And if a blogger insists on personal transparency regarding paid posts, she’d be miles ahead of many of the A, B and C-list bloggers who shill miles a minute undercover (wink wink).

SuperAff Transparency: I was not offered nor did I receive any payment nor had any knowingly loosely tied monetary gain by posting the above and no one I know owns or is part of or is a competitor to any external link within this post ;).

Good times indeed.