Pitches That Won’t Work


My inbox is filling up with marketers and publicists who want to get The Mommy Bloggers to talk about their stuff.

Since everyone knows that The Mommy Bloggers are a homogenous group I thought I’d give you a list of pitches that will never work for me. I’m pretty sure they work for everyone else otherwise I wouldn’t get a dozen of these every hour.

  • I won’t post a photo of a celebrity wearing your clothing. I don’t care about celebrities. I care about bloggers.
  • I won’t bring my children to your event. They are not bloggers.
  • I don’t really talk about what I wear until after I’ve purchased it so sending me high resolution photos isn’t really a great idea.
  • I don’t keep clothes that people send me, so sending me samples is also not a great idea.
  • My husband doesn’t smoke cigars or wear ties
  • My dog doesn’t wear clothes.
  • I can’t talk about the gifts I’ve bought for anyone because they read my blog. So you can skip all the gift guides. I did one once, it was a lot of work.
  • I won’t tell you what we’re planning to wear for Halloween, but that’s just because no one cares
  • I don’t really want to work hard, so if your pitch looks like work then it won’t get read.
  • Your new app may be great, but since the only app I’ve ever written about is iFart. It is the only app worth  writing about.
  • Do not add me to constant contact, icontact or any other mass email list. There is no reason for me to  care about the same content everyone else is getting.
  • If you didn’t come from my womb don’t call me Mom, Mommy or Mami. I’m not your mother, I’m Mrs. Gottlieb, address your emails appropriately.
  • I don’t talk about TV shows so you can probably skip those, I’m basically a pop culture disaster.
  • If you’re having a contest you can buy an ad but word of mouth on something with a huge budget? Only an idiot would pick up that flaming baton

Pitches that do work

Empire Avenue: The Social Media Stockmarket


If we’re connected on Facebook you’ve likely noticed that I have been enjoying Empire Avenue. Empire Avenue is a fantasy stock market for social media. It offers me an opportunity to turn work into a game. Since I’ve added Empire Avenue activities to my feed quite a few of you have asked me for more details about it.

I went ahead and bought some stock in their COO and CFO Robert Kallir and asked him if he’d grant me an interview. Taking into account the explosive growth of Empire Avenue I sent over ten questions, hoping he’d answer three. Being a mensch Kallir went ahead and answered them all.

ME:  I discovered Empire Avenue about three weeks ago. When did it launch?

ROBERT KALLIR: Empire Avenue launched in February 2010 as a friends and family beta and was opened to the public at the end of July 2010

ME:  Empire Avenue is modeled after the stock markets, do you envision a time where there are margins and short sales?

ROBERT KALLIR: Not at this time, we used a Stock Market system that is no longer in use called the Market Maker system. We think the real stock market is fairly complex and hard to understand. In our system, every night we give you a share price based on your social media activity, engagement and interaction as well as your share sales. Further buys the next day increases, sells conversely decrease. Pretty simple, mass market system!

ME: Have you seen some of the emails that social media thought leaders are sending to their shareholders? What do you think of them?

ROBERT KALLIR: We love seeing the system being used. We know that there is a game quality to it and that people will use it in all sorts of different ways. We have seen some incredibly high quality messages and communications. This kind of use makes us feel pretty good when the quality is high and makes people consider the online networks they create and the deep value inside of them!

ME: Is there an EA user that’s particularly entertaining?

ROBERT KALLIR: What? I’m not enough? Seriously we try not to promote any one individual as a company.

ME: What does the average person gain from participating at EA?

ROBERT KALLIR: We think the platform is actually ideally suited to the average person. Let’s look at it in three ways:

a. It’s a game: Have a bit of fun in doing what you already do online everywhere just now we give you achievements, luxury items, virtual currency…

b. If you play the game and try to raise your share price, you will become better at Social Networks. Play with the advisors, get engagement, get interaction on your networks and try to “game” the system because if you do it you will create a valuable network and learn about social media networking.

c. If you play the game to increase wealth you will actually invest and connect with some new and wonderful people across 150 countries. That’s kind of cool!

The rest of the interview is at Teh User and if y’all wanted to buy some stock in me, my ticker symbol is JESSG.






Why Your Small Business Should NOT Engage Bloggers


Today I had not one, but three, three emails from friends and relatives who were all asking the same questions.

Which bloggers should I approach?
How should I approach them?

My answer to them in short form is, “You shouldn’t.” Bloggers are wonderful, small business owners are fabulous, but if you’re in the business of making sweet potato fries, my suggestion to you is that you make the best sweet potato fries you know how to make, and talk about it on your own site. In the first person. The folks at Label Daddy have done a great job of this, and you could certainly use them as an example of “how to”.

I almost always respond to these emails with, “I would caution you from reaching out directly to bloggers, but I would recommend ___, ____ or ____ to help you reach your goals. I like to recommend three different people (or agencies), in part because if things go south I’ve recommended a FEW, not just one. I also like to recommend three because I’ve worked so many amazing teams that I really do think my friends and family can benefit from more than just one of them.

If you absolutely insist on DIY blogger outreach do NOT blame me when it explodes in your lap.

Who to contact: Bloggers who want to be contacted probably have an “about me” page. If you hear a blogger’s name crop up over and over again in multiple circles you might want to think about contacting them, however, nothing is guaranteed. Once you have identified a blogger that is of interest to you, it’s time to make sure they are relevant to the discussion you want to have. Quantcast, Alexa and Compete will give you some data about bloggers. Recently I heard that larger firms are using comscore only, very few bloggers are currently found on comscore.

When you plugin the bloggers URL to any of these services you may or may not get results. If a blogger is hosted on a wordpress.com or blogspot.com site, it is virtually impossible more difficult to get data regarding their readership. You may have to ask the blogger to self report, or you can ask them to give you access to their stats.

For a blogger like myself, who is self hosted, it’s relatively simple to get demographics and data. If you go to Quantcast you’ll see that my audience likes politics, science, parenting, fashion, home & gardening, auto news & info, science and technology, babies and books quite a bit more than your typical internet user.

For example my readers are 1.7 times more likely than the typical internet user to visit categories and sites that relate to science, nature, parenting, fashion and cosmetics. If you were looking to buy advertising here I’m pretty sure a line of organic skincare would be a good match, right?

Further, check out my demographics. Y’all are old, educated and rich. Blogger outreach should take the audience into consideration, not just the writer. I’m writing to men and to women, I’m also writing to people who have been college and to grad school. There’s no need to dumb down a message here.

Similar information can be found at Alexa and Compete. Most of it is somewhat reliable, but I must stress the somewhat. Quantcast counts approximately a third of my traffic, as does Compete, Alexa has been more reliable at times, but everything seems to be an approximation.

With the amorphous nature of web reporting how would a sweet potato fry maker know who to target? Without being a part of this wacky little word, it’s very complicated for a small business to dive in.

I always suggest using twitter as a place to listen. If you are listening to what people are saying about you, and about your industry, you just might be able to have a conversation with them that is meaningful.

Understand that bloggers are not marketers. Few bloggers will have passion for your sweet potato fries, and of the three that do, only one will have reach that is relevant to your market.

Do you have a plan to deal with a blogger who does not like your product? Do you have a plan for the blogger who sees your pitch as spam? What is it that you expect to get from your relationship with a blogger? If you think that blog posts can directly translate into sales, forget it.

My question for you, small business owner, is: do you want to spend your days trying to find the blogger who cares about sweet potato fries, or do you want to spend some time making great fries?

I’ll continue my practice of connecting great people.

Three Ways To Make Your Twitter Party Not Suck


Previously I wrote that Twitter Parties Are Stupid. Well, they don’t have to, and if you don’t think of them as a sales tool I suspect they’re just fine. Here are three ways to make your Twitter Party not suck.

1. Don’t have one. If you don’t have a twitter party it won’t suck. Plan some time to discuss a topic, or learn something new. If my only party invitation for the week is to a twitter party, I just might off myself.

2. If you must have a twitter party, allow the brand to host. I adore Jyl and #gno twitter parties are the only reason anyone would ever try one. Jyl saw a need, filled a void and then invited brands to join in. Why isn’t the brand at the party? If you’re crayola and you want Jyl’s audience (and trust me they do) why wouldn’t you be there? With every sponsored event I’ve been to in real life, a brand representative has been present. Is your twitter party hostess your brand representative? You’re doing what has the potential to be a very personal event, be there. Be personal, it’s social media, be social.

3. Do something with the hashtag. Hashtag.org is a fantastic place for marketers. It is not a destination for shoppers. I get that y’all want to show that you got something to “trend” but twitter is not a place where content lives on. Twitter is the phone company, once it’s said it’s out there and can be morphed, but it certainly isn’t crawled by the search engines (well Bing does have one cool thing..) so why would you work so hard to get everyone to say a brand name only to have it disappear with a *poof*. If you want a hashtag to have legs, add it other places. Have the participants post their favorite tweets on their own sites the following day, do something, make it last. Yes, I do have the answer to this problem, but I can’t give you everything for free, can I?

If you don’t know what a Twitter Party is, consider yourself lucky. Basically there’s a host(ess) and a topic and a brand. They pick a set period of time and everyone talks about the topic and the brand for an hour or gawd forbid two. Do not let anyone try and convince you it’s part of a larger marketing plan, it is not. Marketers did not come up with this, they just pay off unsuspecting women with small bits of cash so they’ll continue their unpaid evangelism.

Mom – This IS What I Do


Every phone call starts the same way.

“Jessica, my friends ask me what you’re up to and I don’t know what to say.”

“Tell them I’m a blogger.” I respond.

“But how do you make money as a blogger?” She asks.

And then I sigh, really loud, because if I had to spend several hours explaining to my mother just how a blogger makes money then I’d have to charge her a consulting fee. Because I think we all know that every douchebag with minimal knowledge of HTML and CSS (can’t sell shit) is a social medial consultant.

Here’s what I do for a living.

  • I take care of my kids and my husband
  • I play tennis and go to lunch
  • I tell you my stories on Whrrl
  • I blog about my family and sometimes overshare
  • I use twitter
  • I’m launching an ad network, soon I hope
  • I’ve got an app waiting for approval in the iPhone store
  • I’m going on Dr. Phil to tell you moms don’t suck

How do you make a living doing this? You didn’t really expect to get all my secrets, did you?

Need something else to read? My interview is live with Social Media Club LA.