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A Day in My Shoes

Shaun and I have spent a few cycles coming up with a plan for promoting RealRank to the general blogosphere. I think we have some pretty solid concepts but I can't help but wonder if one of you has a brilliant little gem just waiting to be heard. Think you can out market us? Let's here it! If you had $20k to spend on a marketing effort in December what would you do with it?

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Jay Dwivedi said...

Let us take a step back and review what PPP was about. Briefly, at a relatively low cost, advertisers could accomplish two goals: SEO and buzz/traffic. With Google's punishment of paid links, the SEO component is dead. Both bloggers and advertisers are (at least for the time being) scared of using paid links.

So what can Izea do now?

Izea is still a highly cost-effective platform to create buzz that is also in compliant with Google's and blogosphere's guidelines regarding nofollow tags and prominent disclosures (so that both bloggers and advertisers are not punished). With the current profile of bloggers in the community, it is obvious that IZEA cannot guarantee much traffic to advertisers and there are more cost-effective ways to get traffic.

However, as BIOTENE and Feeze It gel opportunities have shown, IZEA community can do a great job of creating a lot of buzz.

How to spend your marketing dollars?

On customer education alone regarding the value of buzz marketing. This is the message that you must communicate:

1. Buzz creates a viral effect. And we all know what viral marketing can do.

2. Explain the value proposition of IZEA - it is the only company that provides excess to over 50,000 serious bloggers and can help create buzz literally overnight for the right price.

3. Advertisers need to do a better job with helping bloggers create buzz. For instance, provide very specific writing material (something juicy, not just a review of a website), send out product samples (some ways to check out the target as an insider - I mean do advertisers really expect mommy bloggers to sign up on a dating website and then blog about it, as a few required), provide marketing collateral (pictures, videos, etc.), and finally, a blogger-exclusive offer (10% off to anyone who signs up from this click).

4. Buzz marketing is not done on the cheap. If an advertisers expect a blogger to rave about something in 300 words, put several links, embed a whole bunch of media, and get paid $10 bucks, they are better off flipping hamburgers. You get what you pay.

Nov 27, 2007 3:01:28 PM

jonrez said...

ahh... very well said Jay Dwivedi!!! excellent ideas!

Nov 27, 2007 3:55:52 PM

mistipurple said...

We can all (okay, I am speaking for myself) do a buzz for free. If you have 80,000 over posties, that alone will set the forest on fire. Imagine all of us in our respective countries writing about RealRank overnight. Why I said I don't mind doing it for free is because it is something I can do to help IZEA, which has in turn been putting bread on my table for breakfast every morning. And, because 80,000 x $5 will cost you $400,000. That's way more than your budget of $20k. And that's something I can do within my means to give IZEA for Christmas. After all, charity starts at home, and IZEA is my home now. Merry Christmas, Ted and Team!

Nov 27, 2007 4:44:30 PM

MyGoodFinds said...

Wow! That's alot of money! See, I was able to generate traffic and buzz for my humble blog. 3 months ago my Alexa was a pathetic 8,600,877 now it's 261,187 . That's 250% change with just a budget less than $100. Well, it helps that I know my way around registering domains and setting up aliases and other stuff related to it. ;)

I ran a contest for a free domain and hosting for 5 years, the results were fantastic: I got to enjoy 73K daily rank.
http://mygoodfinds.org/2007/11/01/winner-of-the-trick-or-treat-contest/

I am running another promotion now and the prize is $25 Starbucks card or cash but the results aren't as remarkable.

So contests are the way to go. People love voting in contests(how else does American Idol thrive) and prizes. December is a great month to do such contests because people want quick and easy money for the Holidays.

The best way is to offer opportunities for posties to talk about a contest from Izea with fantastic prizes. Of course make the prizes good enough to make it worth while for the voters and contestants.

I would also hand pick high profile bloggers from all over the world and offer an advertising opportunity. You can even ask them to put a no-follow tag, people will click and check out ways to get prizes.

I've seen alot of magazines who are doing contests for their advertisers. I've seen Disney giving a Chrysler. Honda giving Odysseys. Contests are exciting for potential clients because they get a chance to get a piece of the advertising pie.

Nov 27, 2007 5:36:14 PM

Stentorized said...

yah i second the motion of mistipurple.
one way or another we are all part of this
and we could be benefited from this effort
...we need to have Real Rank in exchange of our lost p.r.
so let us make a buzz about Real Rank for free.

Nov 27, 2007 5:42:31 PM

Qtpies7~ said...

I don't mind promoting it for free on both of my blogs. I love the contest idea. With $20,000 you can offer major prizes, 4 $5k prizes, or more less valuable prizes, but still huge. I would be willing to bet that many advertisers will be willing to put up some prizes, too, which will bring them some more advertising, better than even paying for it would do.
Everyone who blogs about it and leaves a comment at a designated site will be entered for prizes.

Nov 27, 2007 6:46:53 PM

Qtpies7~ said...

Oh, and if everyone is able to enter who blogs it, you will get a lot more people than just the posties.

Nov 27, 2007 6:47:47 PM

David Mackey said...

I like StumbleUpon as a method of advertising. I also think there is a need for real value proposition in RealRank for those outside PPP. I'm not convinced of its real value at this point. PageRank isn't about an arbitrary number, its reflective of authority within Google's search results, authority to hand out respect to other websites. RealRank can't offer or replace that.

Nov 27, 2007 6:56:11 PM

techie said...

I'd be really interested in a discussion about why RealRank should go to the rest of the blogosphere and if it's even worth the effort. I don't have enough cycles right now to really think about it, but I think that's the more important question here.

Otherwise, just send me the $20k and you'll be at the same point. Yes, here in Vegas we like to have people drop money in our laps and get no return. For some reason people keep on doing it though.

Nov 27, 2007 7:32:16 PM

Richard said...

Maybe it's just me but I think some of the folks misunderstand what you are getting at with RealRank, at least initially.

If you want sites other than posties you need to give them some perceived added value. Look at Mybloglog for instance. The stats stuff is great but they really didn't take off until we were able to add really cool widgets that load quickly as well as stats and a feeling of community.

Just being a great replacement or addition to PageRank or Alexa scores is OK, but the normal blogger doesn't give a hoot. I blogged for four years before I even realized I had one. Granted it was decent, and I even kept most of it during the last drop, but until I got interested in making money via blogging back in January I had never even heard of it.

Whatever widget(s) you have for RealRank (and they need to be ready BEFORE the launch) need to look COOL and bloggers need to have a choice. Community/friends based widgets as well as simple old stats. If it's in the sidebar of your favorite blogger it's more likely that you will want one too.

Perhaps combine a RealRank widget with one from the Bloggers Choice Awards for 2008. There were more than quite a few blogs involved that have nothing to do with PPP and if they start using RealRank as well that would be a bit of a head start.

MyGoodFinds' idea of giving big name bloggers and advertising opportunity has merit but having a review written and having someone actually use it because they think it's cool are two entirely separate things.

Nov 27, 2007 7:45:17 PM

MyGoodFinds said...

StumbleUpon has been good to me but I think it's just a matter of time until they are bought by Google.

"techie said...
I'd be really interested in a discussion about why RealRank should go to the rest of the blogosphere and if it's even worth the effort. I don't have enough cycles right now to really think about it, but I think that's the more important question here."

To put it bluntly, if Izea can't sell the idea of RealRank to the rest of the world, it's dead because how can you convince advertisers(where money comes from) to use your bloggers if in the eyes of the rest of the world your network is worthless?

The advertising strategy of running contests is old school concept that still works until today.

Qtpies7~ thought of inviting advertisers donate prizes would augment the budget. Shoemoney did it last month and he received sponsorships so he didn't have to spend a single penny but he got traffic and RSS subscribers and his sponsors received good exposure. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

I say that the advertising money be used in different strategies and not only on the contests alone. It's putting your eggs in different baskets. The advertising campaign should have a multiple prong approach and not only rely on one. Tapping International high profile bloggers with good readership is just another.

Nov 27, 2007 9:17:39 PM

Melissa Markham said...

Personally, I am more than happy to blog about this for free...give us some parameters and links that would be helpful and let us go to it. If you want to sweeten the kitty, then add contests. For those who like to do videos (not me), have a contest for the most original video regarding real rank. Have another contest for those who are more into just using words. I understand thaf for advertisers to feel comfortable about Real Rank, they may want to have a bigger sampling than just those of us blogging away here and if RealRank gets big enough, then others like ReveiwMe and PayU2Blog might make use of it too. So what if the idea was created by the competition. If it gives the most accurate information, then go for it. To be the best way to determine how popular a site is by how many visit it each day. After all, links can go dead as was mentioned earlier. People may really like your stuff, but not link up. Not all RSS feeds are accurate or easy to get the information on, so Real Rank is ahead of the pack by using what really matters. If I have 80 visitors a day on average, that means there are over 2000 people visiting my blog every month. That's a lot of people for advertisers to reach out to.

Nov 27, 2007 9:28:15 PM

Archit T said...

WOW! Now that is a very nice idea you've got there Jay! Hats Off to you!

Nov 27, 2007 11:20:01 PM

Tim said...

$20K for one month is like throwing a dozen lawyers off a cliff - it's a nice start. ;-)

Izea is trying to unseat a de facto monopoloy in the "metrics-indicating-authority" world, so it must first establish legitimacy for RealRank. I don't mean to minimize some of the above suggestions, but contests and self-serving opps aren't going to bring legitimacy in the wider blogosphere for this particular idea.

Tools that add value would be a good start. The PR button in the google toolbar was a tool that enabled advertisers to quickly determine a site's authority. PR is a blunt metric that often seems disconnected from actual SERPs, but it was there and available. Adding it to the FF toolbar for PPP would be good.

The idea of sidebar widgets is a good one I saw above. I'm not a programmer so I don't know the logistics, but giving developers the ability to create "Check your RR" sites would be good, too.

In parallel, I would do a focus group, but not with us; invite top search industry watchers, show them how RR works completely disengaged from PPP/Socialspack, allow them to challenge the algorithm, and make adjustments accordingly. With regard to convincing advertisers not already associated with PPP that RR is a legitimate metric, 2000 paid blog posts by people like me will mean nothing compared with one unpaid endorsement by bloggers like Danny Sullivan or Michael Gray. If key search bloggers buy off on it, RR will filter into the general blogosphere naturally, and can then be promoted in the standard way.

While RR has been under development for a while, the unfortunate timing of coming AFTER the Googlesmack makes it look like a knee-jerk reaction, and this tears away from its legitimacy. Key bloggers (Sharks!) need to be convinced that a lot of thought and manpower went into it's development and the rollout was simply bumped up thanks to Google.

Nov 28, 2007 10:44:03 AM

MyGoodFinds said...

This is great brainstorming. I also question myself why I even bother to spend my time thinking of ways to market Izea's RealRank. I can walk away right now $1,900(less taxes) richer and cut my losses(devalued PR 4 to a 0). Why would I even try fighting with a giant company?

I am yapping about this not only for my personal benefit as a postie but for all the other small time bloggers who rely on the advertising money from their blogs to augment their family income. I was touched by different blogger's situations and how their earnings from PPP helped them cope with the rising cost of living. I can’t just sit here and say nothing just because my livelihood doesn’t depend on it.

I believe in RealRank it's just about convincing other people that it works. I have been promoting RealRank for free in my blog ever since it came out. If Ted and the Izea team decides to do something for December for promotions, I'll give my pro bono blogging services as well.

Nov 28, 2007 12:45:01 PM

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