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Retailers reaching out to bloggers

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday August 16, 2008 )

There’s an interesting story on Internet Retailer about how some companies are reaching out to bloggers.

One company in particular, Garmin GPS, uses Google Alerts to help keep track on where and how their company is mentioned. In one instance, a popular blogger had mentioned how he’d love a Garmin GPS unit as he continually got lost. The blogger had a good following, so Garmin sent him a GPS; no strings attached. Consquently, the blogger gave them some excellent coverage.

Two lessons here – as mentioned in my article on getting products and services reviewed – a no strings attached approach to providing free samples to a blogger or site owner certainly doesn’t hurt; you just need to be careful in the bloggers you target. Bloggers are genuinely pretty independent folks, not liking to be pushed in any particular direction.

This doesn’t mean to say that bloggers can’t be bought, but given that *they* are the drawcard at times, they need to be careful how they promote companies. It’s one thing for them to run a banner ad on their site, quite another to making a personal recommendation as the wrong sort of recommendation can ruin their reputation and following.

I remember one instance I was involved with where a Fortune 500 company wanted to get coverage on a related niche site and were prepared to pay big bucks, but put pressure on the blogger to remove a certain post, fearing it would reflect on them badly. End result was the blogger told them to go jump and the company missed out on being showcased by what became the industry’s leading blog soon after. I hate to think what their strong-arm tactics cost them, but it was easily millions of dollars in lost sales; purely because they attempted to manipulate editorial content – a big no-no. Sometimes offline marketers just don’t get the online world.

For bloggers, if you’re hankering after a product, it appears it doesn’t hurt to drop a hint in a post – but unless your blog is well followed, don’t expect to have retailers beating a path to your door :).

Just in regards to keeping track of buzz about your company (or even your own blog); while Garmin used Google Alerts, I prefer Serph – less static in the results in my opinion.

By the way – if the team at Garmin do pick up on this post; don’t worry, I’m not fishing for a freebie :). I already have the GPS 60 (known as the “farmer’s GPS”) which I use out in the bush. It’s saved my butt from getting lost on more than one occasion and has been very useful for locating boundaries and marking points of interest on my patch of the outback. I highly recommend it – there ya go, sometimes there is such a thing as a free lunch :).

Read more of the Internet Retailer story

Pick up some more tips on getting your products and services reviewed.


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