As bloggers, we are often faced with finding as much information about services and products as we can to create a perfect post. I do my fair share of review posts, but it never fails to amaze me when companies and startups miss the subtle details in their marketing efforts to deliver the information bloggers need to write about them there and then.
Many of this is common sense stuff, but here are some of the mistakes I’ve personally seen even large, well funded organisations miss. Here are some of the reasons people maybe aren’t blogging about your business, or at the very least why you may be missing out on some exposure.
Seems like a no brainer, but nothing compliments a blog post quite like video. It increases engagement with your readers, lengthens the time on your website, and overall helps to explain concepts quicker and with more ease than plain old text.
Bloggers love video.
In many cases, all it takes to explain exactly what it is your company is all about can be delivered with a well shot professionally edited video.
Combine that with the fact that YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, and you have to ask yourself why you are relying on others producing bedroom video walkthroughs of your product or service. In many cases, bloggers are being forced to use or create these because you haven’t bothered spending the wonga on a professional one.
Get out there, hire a professional video team, and let the people who want to talk about you use all mediums they can to promote your company for you in a more professional, more engaging way. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get some coverage as a product of your efforts in the first place. There are plenty of examples out there where the video itself became a viral hit on its original execution and delivery alone.
Real Time Contact
If I want to write about you, chances are, I’m doing it right now. I’m not however going to wait around for you to get back to me, or provide me with hi resolutions photos of your product, or indeed wait for you to try and influence my conclusion. Generally speaking – the web moves too quickly for that, especially if you happen to be breaking news.
Providing a way to contact you in real time via social media channels such as Twitter, or even providing something as simple as a Skype chat handle on your contact page is never a bad idea, as it lets me get straight to the point, and address any concerns before the publish button gets pressed.
Being active on these channels is better again.
Good companies that are worth writing about are going to have a real time presence on the web, so make sure you do too. The more available you are to discuss your features, your brand or any aspect of your business with a blogger the better.
Private betas are generally introduced for one reason in the startup world today. We are launching early, deal with it. Really private Alpha on all counts. (Bugs the shit out of me too).
The other reason, or why its private rather than public is to create suspense. Tease and reveal if you will. Provide access to only a select few bloggers and everyone else will signup for access when you launch. Right?
If all you are providing is a website address with a “signup for launch” form – you are doing it wrong. I’m probably not going to wait in line with everyone else waiting for an invite, and for a launch to be exclusive to major / massive bloggers. Sure, getting picked up by the big guys makes a difference, but 99% of companies ain’t gonna get picked up by Techcrunch.
In any case it’s easy to make your launch a bit more sustainable than that. Curate and separate your bloggers from your average users on signup, and drip them out your invites is going to result in more prolonged coverage rather than a peak and subsequent dip in traffic. Build buzz from the ground up – as this comment on hacker news so aptly puts – the lower tier writers of today are the big cheeses of tomorrow.
Give me What I need
Generally speaking I love it when I find the following information on a website when I’m researching material.
An about page – summarising the information quickly about the product or service in question
A mission statement – sell me the dream, is it worthy of coverage?
A press page – show me who else has deemed it worthy to write about and when > am I first off the press? Are you linking to the people that give you coverage?
A screenshot page – especially if you are only allowing some folks access, the rest of us would like to see what the fuss is about. Making me hunt around the web for a screenshot of your product from another blogger? Not clever.
A video – I’m going to want to give my readers something more engaging if I can get it. Well designed online presentations work well here too. Mobile apps for different platforms often miss a trick here – not everyone has an iPhone / iPad to try it out!
A staff page – No blogger one wants a standard info@ or support@ email address to send correspondence to. Getting access to the marketing team or a key person for supporting information makes a huge difference.
Twitter / Facebook – Let me find out how your are communicating with others. Are there hashtags worth following to see what others are saying about you?
These aren’t an absolute prerequisite for getting coverage, but certainly make life easier as a blogger if they are freely available from the getgo, and the easier you make it, the more link love you will receive as a result. Last but not least – it never hurts to reach out and say thanks, and build the foundation of a future relationship with that writer. Who knows, maybe they’ll even cover you again in the future.