Blogger Outreach: Happening Slowly But Surely

Over the last two weeks I’ve been reading about Sheylara’s Xbox gaming preview and then heard about it on the Tech65 podcast today, and last night I read about the HP Mini-note PC blogger preview from Michael, Vanessa, Bernard and Estee (among many others).

My first thoughts? “Damn I need to buy an Xbox 360 just to play The Force Unleashed”, and “Damn that HP Mini-note PC would be sweet to carry while I travel”.

More serious thoughts: I think it’s great that companies like Microsoft and HP would reach out to our local bloggers in the blogosphere. And on top of that, I think it’s great that they didn’t just throw out a wide net and see who gets caught in it, but they really made an effort to engage in targeted outreach to reach the people who would be excited about their products.

Today I also met up with people from The Digital Movement for an informal discussion with a couple of execs from Google to talk a little about feedback and collaboration.

I think this is definitely signaling change in Singapore. No longer are these big companies thinking: We will just produce the product and people will just buy them. They recognise that there is a conversation taking place whether they like it or not, whether they want to take part in it or not.

And frankly, I feel they ignore this conversation at their peril.

I’m sure there are people who’re going to say “Well, how many of these bloggers who saw the HP Mini-note PC will actually buy it? Or how many people who read a blog entry on it will buy it? What’s my conversion rate?” in other words: How is this going to affect my bottom line?

I think from a very practical point of view, that has to be a consideration. But is it the only consideration? So many management case studies point to hotels who give employees a certain amount of money to make right customer complaints as a way of generating goodwill. Is this truly any different?

If the result of this blogger outreach means that the next time someone is searching for the HP Mini-note PC as part of research about whether or not to buy it, and the top few results on Google are these pages and reviews and feedback from the bloggers who attended the outreach, I think the cost of holding that blogger outreach has paid for itself.

I have a lot of other thoughts on the whole blogger outreach strategy and who it works for and stuff like that, but I’d really like to hear your thoughts on the issue. So… comment away!

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8 Responses to “Blogger Outreach: Happening Slowly But Surely”

  1. Sheylara Says:

    Actually, I would be very interested to look at official statistics showing the extent of success from these blogger outreach programs. Are companies experiencing significant increases in sales after trying out this new media?

  2. Kevin Says:

    For starters, you might be interested to read Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers (2006). It’ll help you elaborate your ideas. 🙂

  3. Daryl Tay Says:

    Wow you’re fast tonight, Sheylara! That’s a very interesting question. Measurement is a huge issue with social/new media and I think that’s what a lot of companies are struggling with: “What’s my ROI?”. I don’t have an answer as to what the exact metrics should be, but I think the social media world as a whole is slowly beginning to figure it out, and it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.

    But hey, if reading about The Force Unleashed can get me so psyched to buy an Xbox 360 JUST to play it, I’d say it’s a pretty good start!

  4. Daryl Tay Says:

    Kevin thanks for dropping by! Yeah that’s actually the “textbook” for our social media class in school. I know the thoughts in this post are kinda haphazard in a “throw everything at the wall” kind of way, the last two weeks have been SO invigorating for me that there’s so much to throw out!

  5. Precious Says:

    You may or may not experience an increase in sales. But you will definitely experience an increase in brand awareness.

    Sales is affected by many factors. I once did an ad campaign for a client, and the client complained that their sales didn’t increase at all. In fact, it went down.

    Guess what? We tried calling the phone number provided to buy the product but couldn’t get through the line.

    The HP Mini is not out in the market yet, so I’m sure they didn’t experience any increase in sales. But awareness is there which is one of the many factors that affect sales.

  6. Daryl Tay Says:

    Precious, that is HILARIOUS. Spot on point about brand awareness. That does go back to measurement and intangibles. Hopefully that will change specifically with respect to new media soon.

  7. Wayne Says:

    Hey Daryl,

    Great to see you that day. The entire blogger outreach is one thing that companies are definitely taking into great consideration now. So much such that they are actually separately managed from the traditional media. However if you notice, this is currently constrained to B2C businesses and most of them are still the technology products.

    I believe in the potential of viral marketing and definitely would preach the use of blogger outreach and the use of other Social Media tools, and let’s hope that it advances beyond the current circle. Now that traditional companies are slowly learning about it, I guess it’ll be soon that enterprises do take it seriously.

    Wayne

  8. Daryl Tay Says:

    Hey Wayne. Good points. The “other thoughts” about the whole blogger outreach that I had included the 2 points that they seem to be tech products (consoles, handphones, PCs) as well as B2C businesses and one more point – that they tend to favour the companies with deeper pockets. Generalising statement at the moment, but I’m thinking typically smaller companies can’t afford a thousand dollars maybe to hold such an outreach programme, which again goes back to cost, measurement and ROI. Almost chicken and egg.

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