Why Marketing to Moms and Valentine’s day at the Elementary School have so much in common… I know Valentine’s Day is over but hopefully you will get the relevance.
Here’s how I see it. And I’m going to be talking in analogies. Try to follow along…
Each Valentine Box is Different
Every year we help the kids make their Valentine box – or if you are lucky they make it in school and you just pay for some of the embellishments. The decorations reflect the children and their personalities. Some are the plain box with one “I <3 You” sticker placed awkwardly over the mail hole – while others are covered with so many trinkets and stickers you can’t see the paper it’s covered in.
Hers’s where you have to start thinking – that analogy refers to THE BLOG. You’ll see where I’m going soon.
Sending Cards to Your Class
We buy the box of Dora cards at the Super Walmart. The kids sign them, address them – one for every kid in the class, all the same – the only difference is that the girls might get the Dora cards but the boys get the cards with Diego – which were the cool ones btw.
You love putting your cards in the pretty boxes. You might :: sigh ::: at having to put the cards in the BORING boxes, but hey you need to reach everyone, so you do it anyway.
Yes everyone gets a card. And sometimes you’ll find there’s a kid who wants to spread the love (desperate or a total suckup?) and makes 100 Valentines and hands them out to everyone at lunch too. Even the kids he doesn’t know.
So it is with traditional PR pitches.
Everyone on the list gets the same email pitch, some with minor variations – “hey I was reading your blog – 3rd post from the top and like blue too – so we should totally work together.”
Um… let’s get back to the analogies…
Receiving the Valentines
At school on Valentine’s Day you are on the receiving end of the Valentines (ANALOGY ALERT – YOU ARE THE BLOGGER NOW). You open the box (this is called an INBOX) and it is filled with 29 cards, each pretty much the same, but you notice some have lollipops attached to them and you go for those first.
The plain Dora card with the name scribbled at the bottom gets overlooked, and even so… the name was scribbled in a way that makes it hard to tell who it’s even from. Srsly? you haz candy, you can’t be bothered trying to figure out the other cards…
You go through all the ones with the lollipops. But even those are only as good as the flavor and size of the lollipop – and once the lollipop is gone, it’s the same old Valentine everyone else sent – destined to sit in the box until you throw them away. You might keep the one from your best friend or the girl you have a crush on. You might not. And in the end, all you did was run around telling all your friends that Johnny’s card rocked because it had a lollipop attached. Tomorrow you and Johnny and everyone else in the class forget the holiday altogether and move on.
Ah yes, pitches – I am going somewhere with this, I promise!
…of course as bloggers we prefer the pitch with the lollipop attached. Who doesn’t like a little sweetness? But are you – as PR – making an impression with that lollipop? Or in the end does the blogger even remember which email was yours and what brand of candy it was? Probably not…after all those lollipops are a dime a dozen.
How PR Can Woo The Blogger:
You know how that one guy in class always bypassed the school rules and bought the girl he liked the BIG HALLMARK VALENTINE that said gushy stuff? He handpicked that one at the Super Walmart for the one girl he wanted to impress…I mean hit on… *keepin it real*. He had to get up the nerve to approach her and say “HAI”… He had to hand it to her personally because it was too big to fit in the box with the other lamo lollipopless Valentines.
If that wasn’t enough he asked her to play on the swings during recess. He gave her a flower. He wrote the girl’s name on his notebook. He might not be the girl’s type, but he tried and gets an A for that. In the end the girl will decide if she wants to go steady or will blow him 0ff. But he’s made an impression either way.
I’m 49, and I can still remember that HUGE RED HEART SHAPED CARD from Danny K. It irritated me at the time because I didn’t LIKE him like him – But at my age to remember a sappy Valentine from back when I was 6 years old? That’s something… and it didn’t even have a lollipop. It had something else attached to it….
It Takes Me A While To Get To My Point…
Connections are made and kept when relationships are offered. Whether or not the feelings are mutual – “Does she even like the product or company?” “Is it even a fit for her?” – well you have to wait and see. But you won’t form a relationship with a lollipopless Dora card mass sent to everyone in the class. It’s obvious. And chances are Dora cards weren’t intended to strike up a relationship, but were sent to fulfill an obligation.
As parent bloggers we can be handed content for our site, but really we don’t need content. We most likely started our blog to share OUR content. Your lollipopless Dora card is not what we are looking for when we want to work with Brands. We want to feel special. We want to feel appreciated. We want the Brand to like us more than a plain old Dora card.
“But we can’t afford to buy and hand out 29 personalized Hallmark HUGE cards and swing with everyone on the playground!”
The question is can you afford not to? Do you want to spend your time mass mailing everyone in the lunchroom and getting nowhere or do you want to take the time to narrow your focus and form a real relationship? I so appreciate PR asking me what types of pitches I want to receive. Do I want Dora or am I holding out for the box of chocolate? To PR – introduce yourself, make a connection. You will be on your way to forming a relationship, and before you know it you are holding hands and sharing a malted. And soon you find that blogger is telling everyone that love is in the air.
That is all. And I hope I didn’t confuse you. I might have confused myself at points… In general PR seem to get it, but by the looks of my OVERFLOWING INBOX there are a lot who don’t.
So tell me, as a blogger, what are you looking for in a Valentine?