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6 steps to effective blogger outreach + insects

IMG_0026 is a telephone service for entrepreneurs. They recently changed their name from — and it's become a classic case study in well-done rebranding and high-quality blogger outreach. What they did:

1. Chocolate grasshoppers: They mailed a buzzworthy gift to bloggers — a bag of ready-to-eat chocolate covered insects. 99% of the time, us bloggers get a lame generic email. We need to write something every single day — give us something worth writing about and we'll do it.

2. Substance for a story: A blogger needs more than a gimmick to build a big story. Grasshopper created a decent video to add depth to the blog posts.

3. Professional outreach: Jonathan Kay, their Ambassador of Buzz, sent a well-crafted email to me after I received the candy bugs. He knew that I usually run an inspirational post on Sundays and suggested their video. It was the opposite of the usual, "Hi I love your blog" generic spam we usually get from PR people.

4. Start with the big bloggers: Jenn Van Grove at Mashable had covered the story before I heard about it, and Jonathan linked to her posts. That gave me a reason to think it was a real story worth paying attention to. (I assume grasshoppers don't fit in her vegan diet.)

5. Give facts: Mashable provided nice data to back up the campaign:

  • 4,911% traffic increase from April to May
  • 144,843 video views with 162 comments
  • 1,500 tweets
  • 120 blog posts in one month
  • Tweets from Guy Kawasaki, Kevin Rose, and Jason Calacanis
  • 7 national TV mentions

6. Have fun!

The lesson: A blogger outreach campaign isn't sending emails to bloggers. You need to have a real reason for them to talk about you. You need to get to know them. You need a quality story. (Hmmm… sounds just like traditional media relations works, too!)

P.S. Here's a sample of the amazing coverage:

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  1. Maria Reyes-McDavis July 22, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    This is such a great example of really getting out of the ordinary to give something for bloggers to talk about… when you give us something, we’ll run with it… smart campaign :-) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Twitter Fail July 22, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    I saw people eating the grasshoppers, but didn’t see anyone actually mentioning the company, so I’m wondering how that helped increase their traffic.
    BTW: Grasshoppers aren’t vegetarian, so I won’t be trying them. Darn the luck.

  3. christopher carfi July 22, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

    meh. i actually thought they were trying too hard and was turned off by the gimmickry. i got the bugs in the mail, got the followup “ambassador of buzz” outreach and then…nothing.
    still feels like a transactional campaign, not a relationship, to me…happy to be proven wrong, however…

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