Sunday, March 23, 2008

A very odd pitch to bloggers

I've been working with a fine panel of influential bloggers on a panel they'll be presenting at both BlogHer Business and the Women Who Tech Telesummit entitled "Improve This Pitch."

I got a really quite strange pitch from a local PR person that I've done some work with/for, and who generally seems pretty savvy about the social media space. I'm on his media list and if I so desired I could be getting access, purely because I (not too regularly) blog about local theatre, to a host of events for which he does the PR.

This one, though, has me shaking my head and dying to know how it turns out.

So, they're hosting a party at a local San Francisco tourist attraction and inviting bloggers. Bloggers who sign up will get a special tour of the attraction and a party, complete with food and drink. So far, so cool, despite a slight over-reliance on puns and "clever" language in the pitch.

But here's the catch: Before you show up for the party you have to have already written about this attraction. Sure, that could have happened organically, but if it hasn't, you can feel free to write about it now, so you have something published about it before the party.

They use the language "set up a blog about xxx" before the date of the party. I'm pretty sure they must mean blog post, because surely they don't expect someone to create an entire blog solely about this tourist attraction just to go to a party. What would be the point of that or even the benefit of having a bunch of abandoned one-post blogs created?

The night of the party, they plan to have laptops with internet access set up, so attendees can record their "thoughts, images and videos" in real-time.

The pitch then continues with lots and lots and lots of facts and information about the attraction.

I am really curious if they'll get a ton of bloggers signing up for this. I am really curious if any of them will really want to blog from the party via the laptops provided. I am wondering if a post simply saying, "Hey, i got invited to a party at xxx" will count, or if they expect you to incorporate the copious information they provided.

I mean, if it works, I guess it's a great idea for any kind of similar attraction that wants to, perhaps, broaden its audience. But it does require the bloggers to jump through some hoops, and I'm not sure how many will say "how high."

What do you think?


Unfortunately Regularly Scheduled Programming

Seems like all too often the topic of gender diversity on conference speaking rosters arises. This time it's Google getting some heat. I found out via Susan Mernit, who in true bloggy fashion found out from someone else, that an upcoming Google developer event has a 37 to 1 ratio. That is 37 men speakers and 1 woman.

Susan's point is not only that there surely is a better ratio than that out in the real world, given that even folks that cite fewer women than men in the field as an excuse don't claim that the percentage is 2%. Her point is also that developers need to care about who they're developing for, and the simple truth is that women comprise the majority of Internet users (at least in the U.S.)

Susan has a commenter who wants to hear nothing of gender or race...that it doesn't matter to him and he wishes everyone was the same. That's awesome for you. I often hear even women say I don't think of myself as a woman developer or woman fill-in-the-blank. That's also awesome for you.

But I can assure you that, while you may not think of yourself as a woman xxx...just about everyone else does.

Instead of trying to swim upstream on it, I believe we need to emphasize Susan's point: your users, your audience, your customers...they want to see a reflection of themselves when they look at your company.

Because when they don't they see fearful visions of pink browsers dancing in their head.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

BlogHer discount for FWE & E event this Tuesday

BlogHer Lena West is speaking at the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs & Executives Social Networking Half-Day Conference, this Tuesday March 25th at Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

She has very kindly secured a discount just for BlogHers (or, really, anyone reading my blog.)

Use the code BLOG325 when registering here, and you can get $50 off the regular price. (That's 20% off.)

Why would you want to go? Well, besides Ms. Lena, the other speakers include Gina Bianchini from Ning and Robin Wolaner from TeeBeeDee (also speaking at BlogHer Business. And quite a few others.

So, if you're local and you're interested, check it out and get your discount!

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Lisa Stone at Harvard illustrating the very reason marketers have job security!

Last week BlogHer partner Lisa Stone spoke at Harvard University as part of the Berkman Center's 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Her subject: How Candidates and Companies Help...and Hurt...Themselves with Women Online

Lisa posted the transcript here, and Steve Garfield kindly posted video he took (over his cell phone no less) here.

And I blogged about some of the disparate reaction here.

We've seen this week alone how a slight to just a couple of bloggers can turn into an Internet brouhaha. So why even try? Oh, for a host of reasons. Because women are the target consumer for just about every product out there. They control something like $.85 of every household dollar spent. They talk to one another...and share their experiences, positive and negative, with products, services, just about everything.

Personally, I would think marketers would be thrilled at the opportunity that social media and marketing to women participating in social media provides. In a world where building relationships and customizing approaches is becoming so very granular, human beings are going to be ever more important to the process. Talk about job security!

Sure, it's change. Change is scary. Fear can be paralyzing. But it's also a new challenge, and don't our brains and our spirits just die without those?

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Please take the BlogHer survey

Twice a year BlogHer does a survey to figure out who is reading the blogs in our advertising network. This helps us understand what topics you all are writing and reading about, and what kinds of activities, information and yes, ads, you enjoy (and don't enjoy) online.

The survey is about 15 minutes long, but it's all about you and what you love to do online, so I found it was pretty easy and fun to take.

Another interesting thing we're doing this time around is having a survey company conduct the same survey with a recruited sample that represents the general U.S. women's population. So not only will we get an update on data about the folks who visit the blogs in our network, but we'll also get to compare their responses to "regular folk" who may not be quite a web/tech savvy as the blog-reading population. I'm personally pretty excited to see the data.

So, please take the survey, pretty please?

Oh, and we will be drawing three random winner from the folks who compelte the survey and choose to enter, and those winners will be able to get a free pass to the BlogHer event of their choice. So, there's a carrot right there.

Thanks, and now we'll be back to our (somewhat) regularly scheduled programming.


// posted by ElisaC @ 12:26 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Me. Another Interview. On

I don't know what's in the water, but I've been on a "get interviewed about BlogHer" roll.

The latest is an interview on's Weblog section.

It's sort of the kitchen sink of what we're up to at BlogHer, so a good summary.

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// posted by ElisaC @ 2:20 PM 2 comments

Me. Another podcast. On Green Blogging. And marketing to green bloggers.

This time I chatted with Lisa Orrell from Chickonomics on her marketing-focused podcast: Marketing Matters with M7.

The subject is green blogging, and marketing to green bloggers. But I think my advice to marketers who want to reach out to green bloggers is really pretty universal.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. To me there are four steps to effective blogger relations:

1. Start by reading blogs. Stop caring about the "A List" or any list of famous blogs...start building your own A List...30-40 blogs that are absolutely relevant to what you do, and who seem to care about the kind of things you do.

2. Spend some time getting to know your A-List. Read them regularly. Figure out their attitude toward being approached by companies. Figure out their individual ethical approach. Not only to dealing with companies, but, given green bloggers are a particularly ethos-driven bunch, in general, because, using myself as an might discover from reading hip & zen that I'm totally open to being approached with marketing pitches, but if you read me even a little while you'd discover I'm a vegan, and you wouldn't pitch me for an organic beef product.

3. Be honest about who you are: Never never never pretend to be a fanboy or fangirl, rather than an actual representative of the product. If you have a green initiative, then I hope you're proud of it and proud to be honest about your identity and your offering.

4. Don't think of it as what the bloggers can do for you and your initiative...think about what's in it for the bloggers and their readers

Those tips were included, by the way, in a recent Best Practices Tip Sheet from the Society for New Communications Research, of which I'm a founding advisory fellow.

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// posted by ElisaC @ 8:44 AM 0 comments

Friday, March 07, 2008

Me. On The Lab with Leo LaPorte

My S.O. was impressed. And he doesn't get impressed by much in my world.

But here I am on Episode #153 of the Lab with Leo LaPorte. Here's the description of the segment: How the web’s number one guide to blogging by women was grown from the ground up.

And here's where you can download the video.

I still have to figure out how to download the BitTorrent client, so I can download the video. So I haven't watched it yet. If any of you are way ahead of me, let me know how it is. It turned out to be way shorter than I was expecting, so it ended up being mostly a history lesson about BlogHer's beginnings. Which is OK, but I had other fun stories I was planning to tell. Ah well, I wouldn't mind going to Vancouver any old time, hint hint hint.

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// posted by ElisaC @ 6:24 PM 0 comments

Me. On Podcast. At TechRepublic.

Talking to awesome tech blogger Sonja Thompson.

Listen to it here.

Learn everything you'd ever want to know about BlogHer's conference plans in 2008.

(Or at least everything I know right now, given we haven't announced any programming for the summer conference yet. I just drop egregious hints about cool keynote speakers.)

Thanks Sonja!

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// posted by ElisaC @ 7:44 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This Month's Silicon Veggie

Is a real-live restaurant review, and one in downtown San Jose. So, my non-local readers, it may not hold much appeal for you.

i will say this: the review talks about service, and how even a non-veg*n restaurant can make a loyal, return customer out of me if they treat me with respect...and give me reliable information.

Those principles of customer service hold true in just about ever industry, right?

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// posted by ElisaC @ 3:23 PM 0 comments

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