September 15, 2011

Why are you so afraid of engaging bloggers?

Tips for how your agency or firm should do outreach the right way

http://milkandcuddles.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Rosie_The_Blogger.jpgChris AbrahamUnlike a few years ago, today everyone at least pays lip service to reaching out to bloggers, the same way that PR people have always reached out to mainstream media. That’s what my company, Abraham-Harrison, does and lots of other companies try to do it, too. But I am still surprised that many companies don’t do blogger outreach, even today. My conclusion is that what is holding them back is fear. Simply put, blogger outreach is scary.

And it’s not a completely irrational fear. It is true that bloggers are unpredictable and we all know, thanks to posts by the Consumerist and the Bad Pitch Blog, that one false move and you’re public mincemeat. Publicly shamed, drawn, quartered and, finally, drummed out of the corps.

We all know this, except that it isn’t so. The biggest faux pas that most agencies commit when they test the waters with blogger outreach has less to do with the natural meanness of the bloggers  and more to do with the behavior of the agencies. In many cases, the bad experiences that many agencies blame on the rudeness of the blogger is square on the agency’s shoulders.

It is a case of the abuser blaming the victim, the blogger.

In truth, the blogger often has no context for a PR outreach, has never been part of the publicity machine, and often doesn’t know what’s expected, what proper and improper behavior is, and most often is just behaving naturally and not part of some insidious cabal aimed at defaming you or your brand or your personal reputation. Continue reading

July 20, 2011

Fire for effect when you can’t get a bead

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c6/Neunpf%C3%BCnder.jpg/300px-Neunpf%C3%BCnder.jpgChris AbrahamI‘ve run a social media marketing agency since Autumn 2006 so Abraham Harrison is almost five years old. In that time, we’ve learned quite a lot.

One of my biggest learnings is that you can’t always get a direct bead on your demographic target — and that’s OK. We’ve worked for a broad spectrum in these five years, from health care and pharma to huge radio astronomy projects; from global nonprofits to very specific public affairs campaigns. Social media marketing and blogger outreach and activation can be effective for everything, though it isn’t always clear how. B2B seems to be the least confident that social can help them but I believe we have really sorted it out: What I’ve learned is that if you cannot target your dream customer directly, you can target everyone around him.

I call this “fire for effect,” which is a term taken from artillery for when you don’t quite know where your target is or your target is well-guarded or sheltered. So what you do instead is you fire downrange, doing your best to either step your shells closer and closer to the true target or to just use the shock and awe of incoming high explosive shrapnel shells going off everywhere else, distracting and engaging powerfully but indirectly. Continue reading

February 18, 2011

Taking 50 million as seriously as one WSJ reporter

Chris AbrahamI must admit right away that I am a disciple of the seminal book on the Internet revolution and what it means for business, The Cluetrain Manifesto.

The main premise of the manifesto is that markets are conversations and that no matter how ardent and impassioned the man at the lectern may be, the audience now has the power, through the Internet, to compare notes real-time, to heckle and critique without being shushed.

When this was written, there was neither Twitter nor Facebook—and the blog was still in its infancy.

I have been collecting all sort of quotes that I have been wanting to address and believe that I can write 95 posts just based on the Cluetrain’s 95 Theses, but for today I will just focus on number 83: We want you to take 50 million of us as seriously as you take one reporter from The Wall Street Journal.

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August 12, 2010

Easily turn your blog into an ebook

anthologizeChris AbrahamMy friend Effie Kapsalis helped make something very, very cool. Something brilliant, actually. Something you need to check out: Anthologize.

A brilliant idea is defined by how hard you slap yourself in the forehead, saying, “gee, that’s awesome — but so obvious, why didn’t I think of that?” Anthologize is that simple, elegant, “it never occurred to me” idea that I have been waiting for forever: a WYSIWYG way of drag-and-dropping together a linear narrative out of what is often an amalgam of reverse-chronological, jumbled-together, blog posts. Export it into an online, web-accessible “book” or even a proper ebook in the PDF, ePUB or TEI formats that can be exported and popped into your favorite ebook reader like the Amazon Kindle or Sony eReader.

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November 23, 2009

OutLoud: A new way to distribute your content

outbrainAyelet NoffLast week Eytan Galai, brother of Yaron Galai (founder of Quigo, which was sold to AOL) came to our offices to show us all the latest that’s been happening with Outbrain. For those who don’t know, Outbrain has recently launched its revenue program OutLoud.

For $10 a month, you can submit an interesting article to OutLoud. Outbrain will then take the articles you submitted — ranging from journalism and blog entries to press releases for which you want to get more visibility — and recommend them on relevant pages across thousands of sites using their content recommendation engine, ranging from USA Today, Slate, Fox and Tribune to Golf.com and the SportingNews.
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