Harness the Psychology of Persuasion and Develop a Blogger Outreach Strategy

There has been a lot of buzz regarding the importance of blogger outreach. But getting your foot through the door with legitimate bloggers is not a task for the faint of heart; it should not be automated, and it takes time, resources, and persistence. Is blogger outreach worth the effort? You bet it is.

Why does blogger outreach matter?

As is the case with all forms of content marketing, it can be difficult to get buy-in from colleagues. Blogger outreach, like webinars, white papers, blogging, and other content strategies, is time intensive–results do not happen overnight. After all, bloggers are humans too, and developing genuine relationships takes time.

Yet, making the time to build these relationships within the blogosphere is well worth the effort.  Ignoring the ever-increasing role that bloggers play in marketing, is turning your back on the opportunity to build social proof for your product or service. Our job as marketers is to persuade our target audiences that our products are the best. Yet, how can we convince anyone we rock when we are the only ones saying so? Saying you rock isn’t cool; bloggers saying you rock, to an extremely engaged and qualified niche, is.

A crash course in the Principle of Social Proof

What is the first thing you do when evaluating a product or service? Perhaps you ask a friend if they have tried it? Or perhaps you search for testimonials and reviews? When I was asked by my manager to research Search Engine Optimization conferences I could attend as part of my professional development, the first thing I did was head over to the SEOMoz Community and search “SEO Conferences.” This community of extremely helpful “marketing geeks” was the most trustworthy place I could turn to. The recommendations on this forum felt authentic because they were organic and real conversations from objective individuals.

My need to seek out third-party validation before selecting an SEO conference is the tenant of social proof at play. Social proof, one of the six principles of persuasion as identified by Robert B. Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, “suggests that we tend to look to others to decide what to do, especially when we are uncertain about the correct behavior.” When in doubt, paying attention to what other people are saying and doing can have a powerful influence on us, especially if we perceive them to have a lot in common with us.

Having bloggers who are respected and influential within your industry endorse your company provides social proof that your product is the real deal. In fact, getting just one blogger to link back to your corporate site can provide SEO value for years to come. If you would like to get started with your blogger outreach strategy, I would recommend checking out  8 Tips for Blogger Outreach by the crew @Distilled. In time, you should be well on your way to building a network of bloggers who will be able to spread the good word about your products and services.

Customer Support: The Emotional Roller Coaster

giant_dipperAnswering customer support emails all day can be no joke. If the last few years in community and customer happiness roles have taught me one thing, it is that you cannot please everybody. Even when you try and walk them patiently through issues, even when you answer emails at 11PM on your own time; some are never satisfied. There are days when being called stupid and asking to “talk to someone else who knows what they are doing” can hurt. There arethose days when I reply to difficult people (that’s putting it nicely) in a smart tone, thinking they won’t be able to catch my snarkiness. Then I regret it when they do…

There are the racists too; I am so glad I don’t have to deal with that but really, no one should. It’s disturbing to read and hear the things some people say. I hated it even more when it would happen to my mom. She is Peruvian and spent over twenty years working at a call center. Occasionally, callers would think she was in India or the Middle East, even though she was working out of the Bay Area (not that it really matters) and they would throw insults at her. She would play along with it and have some fun pretending to be based out of wherever the caller thought. Back then, I thought she was a tad crazy for making up fake stories about her life and where she lived (why wasn’t she setting them straight?!) but now I understand. I could probably learn a thing or two from the “brush it of and enjoy yourself” spirit. One insult can disintegrate my entire day.

When I think about the future and wonder if I want to be doing something like helping customers five years from now, my answer is yes. I love community building; I love creating enthusiastic brand loyalists and taking every chance to really “wow” someone. Odds are that any company out there is going to have a small sample of customers that make you cringe. I can relate customer support to that terribly exciting relationship that had its high-highs, and low-lows, and I still think I can change some people by delighting them with helpful replies, empathy, and transparency. And if not, I’ll try to have a little fun with it and stop taking it so personally.

Paradise Less Traveled – Roatan, Honduras

Just under two months ago, I went on an amazing adventure to Central America for my first time. Long story short: I went to Vegas, came up on some blackjack, and over night, had unexpected funds to go on a trip! And so did my boyfriend after playing poker all night. This never happens but I’ll welcome a surprise like this any day.

We put our funds together and booked a spontaneous trip to Roatan, Honduras. To be honest, I had never considered going to Honduras; it just hadn’t come onto my radar as a travel destination, even though I love traveling roads less traveled. I didn’t even know where Roatan was until I saw it on a list of cheap flights from SFO. Imagine my surprise, when I searched the place on Google and saw pictures of paradise. Once you envision yourself in paradise, it’s really had to settle for anything less. Even though Roatan was a tad pricier than going to some other popular travel destinations in the U.S. (the original plan), I did the math and estimated that we’d more than make up for that with the savings on hotel and food, and the thought process was right on.

Before we actually got to be sitting on this lovely beach called Little French Bay shown above, a funny story happened. My boyfriend Zach and I actually booked our flights back to back on the same laptop, separately but together. It turns out that we weren’t too carful about making sure we had the same flights, or even dates. Epic fail. Let’s just say Zach missed his flight by around 24 hours, and just a few hours before my flight, I was panicked, crying, thinking our first adventure abroad together would never happen. After some excuses, but mostly after some fees, we made it work and we were able to both embark on this journey.

Roatan is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands, in the Caribbean. The island is split into a few different neighborhoods, including West End (fun, has bars, and affordable), West Bay (good place for beach time), Sandy Bay (think honeymoon status, too expensive, a little resort-y), and Coxen Hole (the city, the airport, the hustle and bustle).

While I didn’t come to Roatan for the nightlife scene, West End seemed like a place within our budget, but still in a good location. It was just about a ten minute “water taxi,” at $2 USD /head, to get to any of the surrounding, and nicer beaches. That is not to say West End’s beach wasn’t amazing too. It definitely holds its own.

While half of me wanted to go crazy and splurge on a nice hotel, I did the opposite and picked the number one budget hotel in Roatan, according to my friend TripAdvisor.  The place was called the Seagrape Plantation and it cost us about $65/night. If you get the chance to stay there, ask for a bungalow, which does not come with TV like the regular rooms, but DOES come with a hammock and ocean side views for the same price. Sounds like a win! The Seagrape Plantation was really lovely and clean, the staff was nice, and I would stay there again! It even has its own dive shop, if you’re into that. Just look at the views from our hotel.

Even if you are not  into diving (I am a total newbie too), Roatan is an affordable place to try and completely majestic, as it’s home to the second largest reef in the world. I had gone scuba diving once in my life, when I was around 15 years old. I knew I HAD to try it again but I didn’t realize how much my anxiety has grown in adulthood. Not only did I almost have an anxiety in the training session (I was so scared of breathing underwater), but I was also ridiculously terrible at clearing my goggles and kept coming up to the surface each time. Part of me thought I really wasn’t going to cut in underwater for 45 minutes, but the beauty around me kept me occupied and I was really proud of myself in the end. Diving is something I hope to get into in the future and it really is a whole new world.

Aside from the couple of hours we spent scuba diving, we mostly lounged around on the beach trying the local food and sipping on cocktails that we’d never heard of but now miss dearly. We even tried our hand at zip-lining. Watching the Word Cup in Honduras, during the Honduras game was also an experience. Honduras didn’t stand a chance at advancing but it was seriously fun to watch with locals and other foreigners alike.

One of the highlights for me was going to this little beach called Little French Bay. It turned out to be the windiest and coldest day of our trip, so I was nervous about things not going as I had planned out in my perfect world, but it was secluded enough that I felt like I had rented the whole place out for myself. Plus, the fact that the Caribbean water was really warm made it even more enjoyable.

Escape from Alcatraz

San Francisco has been absolutely gorgeous this winter but of course the fog and rain decided to creep in on the one day my family from Peru was here visiting. I was glad to see some rain come in but the timing was classic.  Peruvians aren’t used to rain so it was a toughie! You should have seen my mom out on the ferry posing for a picture with me, rain blowing in her face. I guilt-tripped her into going out there by saying I was dreaming of a gorgeous picture of us against a San Francisco backdrop. Of course, she is sick now so I hope I’m not fully at fault for that one!

We roughed the mist and wind and set off for a day trip to Alcatraz. I hadn’t been to Alcatraz since a school field trip circa 4th grade and it’s always fun to do tourist things in your own city.

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