How NOT to use the Internet

I was talking with a local beverage maker today and she told me that she was in the midst of bottling last year’s production.

That caught my interest, as it would make an interesting story about a recent startup that appears to be making headway.

I asked if anyone was writing about their operation and she said that they had been talking to some people, but hadn’t made any decisions yet.

I asked if she would be willing to have me write an article about their operation with a few pictures of what was happening.

She said, "Not now, we are really slammed. Perhaps we could do something after the bottling is over."

Now, this is a company that spends a great deal of effort on promotion and maybe she thought I was offering to write a press release for her.

I didn’t have time to explain that an independently written article on the internet is worth ten press releases and is an incredibly cost effective way of getting the word out about a company and its products.

I am sure this company advertises in Southern Living and Virginia Living to attract the attention of affluent customers with cultivated tastes. Perhaps the owner doesn’t realize that an increasing number of prospects use Google and Yahoo to find products.

A mention of your company or product on the Internet stays live for years, while your ad in Southern Living is good for a few months at most. A Google search is more likely to show a mention of your company in a weblog than to show your website itself!

Weblog mentions rank higher in Google than all but the most heavily publicized websites.

If you have a product or service that is unusual or newsworthy, let your local bloggers know about it and invite them to experience it and write about it. You may be surprised at how many will take you up on your invitation.

This does not mean sending them press releases. I get those every day and they are rarely worth writing about as they are manufactured news. Bloggers write about things that interest them or provoke their ire.

Most bloggers write with passion about the topics that interest them. Readers follow certain bloggers because they write about things these readers find relevant. If you find that a blogger wants to write about you, I would suggest that you let them take a shot at it. All you need to do is to make sure they get all of the important data right, and you can do that by being prepared and having background material for them to take with them.

After all, bloggers are not reporters. They are independent publishers who will spend as much time on a story as they wish. They have no column inch restrictions and they will usually accept comments on their story after it appears.

If you feel they left something important out, you are free to make things right in the comments.

In short, if a blogger offers to write about you, take up the offer!

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