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September 29, 2005

Bribes for Blog Posts? Interesting Offer, Poor Execution

Received an email late last night from IAEM.  They're offering a chance to win an iPod Nano.  But not for registering to attend the event.

Rather, the offer is for participating in IAEM's blog.  Here's the copy:


Blogging for Expo! Expo!

Register to participate in the Expo! Weblog by 15 October and you will be eligible to win an iPod nano!

See today's post from IAEM's Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chris Brown.

Here are a few points and tips for getting the most out of Expo! Weblog.

  • Expo! Weblog is updated daily (Monday - Friday), offering a different focus each day. On Monday, we highlight speakers from the event; Tuesday looks at specific sessions in more depth; Wednesday is the day to meet sponsors; Thursday is an "anything goes" day; and Friday is reserved for our SMART Series, which is designed to help you get the most out of attending, exhibiting or acting as a vendor.

  • We would love to hear from you! If you would like to make a comment, just click on the comment link and post your remarks. You will be asked to briefly register, and then you will be able to submit your comment. It will usually appear in a day or so.

  • If you would like to know when Expo! Weblog is updated without having to come to the site, you can subscribe to our RSS feed (see the orange XML tag in the right hand navigation bar). RSS is all the rage and it is really easy to use (in fact, it stands for "Really Simple Syndication!"). Or, if you would like to learn how this process works, check out this tutorial.

What are you waiting for -- begin your Expo! Weblog experience today!


Let's put aside for a moment the fact that it should be unnecessary to bribe your community to participate in your blog.  There's a bigger problem with this offer:  It's not clear what to do.

Given the position and context of the first sentence "See today's post from Chris Brown", I initially thought following the link would explain the offer further, and perhaps encourage blog participation.  No such luck.  In fact, Chris doesn't even mention the blog, so there's no relevance to the offer.

You won't find it in the first bullet, either, which talks about what the blog is at a level of detail that's unnecessary at this point.  They could have done this toward the bottom of the email, or even just put in a link.

You have read down to the second bullet to find out more.  And even then it's not really clear, since the iPod Nano isn't referenced:

If you would like to make a comment, just click on the comment link and post your remarks. You will be asked to briefly register, and then you will be able to submit your comment. It will usually appear in a day or so.

While I've never seen a "bribe for blog post" tactic used before, I would have guessed this would be how they would do the entries, by capturing the email address when you go to comment.  But I've been blogging for three years and that's intuitive to me.

However, I don't think this offer is intuitive to those unfamiliar with blogging. 

If I'm making this offer, here's what I'd say instead:

- win the Nano by offering feedback to blog posts
- here's how you can win it
- go comment right now, here's how
- here's why we believe your comment feedback is important
- here's a message from your chairman, Chris Brown on how IAEM will use your input
- go comment right now, here's how
- here's what you can do with your Nano
- hey, did you know we're doing a session on blogs so you can learn how to do this for your event?  (and I'd say that even if I weren't moderating that session)
- go comment right now, dammit!

Instead, we get this:

- you can win a Nano
- here's Chris Brown on the IAEM strategic plan
- here's what our blog is about
- here's how you make comments
- here's how you get RSS feeds

It's confusing, undirected, and ultimately, not effective.

Marketers know that if you're going to make an offer for a drawing like this one, your entire message should be about that drawing and getting people excited about winning whatever the prize is and doing whatever the desired action is you want them to take.  It's all about them, not you. 

Don't muddle it up your offer with stuff that's not relevant to the task at hand.  Stick to the excitement about winning, toss in a few benefits.  Skip the features and ego.  Your results will be much better.

That said, to date there have been no comments left on the IAEM blog.  (It's also nine weeks out from the event, so who's really thinking about it at this point?)  Therefore, ANY post you leave gives you pretty good odds on winning the portable media device. 

Hell, I wouldn't mind winning the thing myself.  I wonder if there's only one post, will that person win?

07:51 AM in Trade Shows | Permalink


But it's better alliteration ;-)

Regardless, I'm still in disagreement on whether incentivizing comments is appropriate.

I posted a long comment to Ted on Expophile on what I'd have done to increase blog readership. Ted disagreed with me too. We'll see.

Posted by: RichW | Sep 30, 2005 10:45:20 AM

Rich, I think it is a bit strong to call it bribery. As Sue points out, we offered an iPod Shuffle on the XtremeASAE Blog and I thought it was a pretty good giveaway. I agree that it shouldn't be necessary to give stuff away to get people to comment. Still, many people are reluctant to comment because they don't want to look uninformed or stupid, or they aren't fully comfortable with the technology. If offering them something worth winning helps them engage, I'm okay with it.

Posted by: Jeff De Cagna | Sep 29, 2005 11:52:26 PM

Yup, ASAE also was giving a way an iPod (Shuffle, in their case). I found myself actually NOT commenting on stuff I'd like to comment on so it didn't look like I was just trying to win something (though I guess I wouldn't have minded). This is the first I've heard of the IAEM blog--you'd think they'd have sent a press release to us journalist types so we (esp. me, the blog hyper extraordinaire) would pass the word along.

But anyway, yeah, this is not a stellar piece of marketing. And I had to really look to find the link to the blog on the show site, and when I found it, it reads: Expo! Expo! Weblog. Oops, forgot to put in the link. Doh!

Posted by: Sue Pelletier | Sep 29, 2005 2:54:03 PM

I also would like to point at that when you get to the bottom of the mystery (only possible if you really, really want that iPod) and register for blog-posting abilities, it's broken. When you register on the blog, it is stated very clearly that a password will be coming soon to your Inbox. That was over three hours ago. Oy.

Posted by: singlesorceress | Sep 29, 2005 2:15:08 PM

Rich... One of those XXL T's is comin' yer way, dude. You deserve it.

Posted by: Jeffrey D Brown | Sep 29, 2005 12:58:36 PM

I have one of those old yellow TSB "Spill the Beans" tees from way back. It's shrunk to the point where it's less a tee and more like a halter top (and since we've met, I'm confident you have a hideous mental image right now).

Anyway, since I have already posted over at your joint before your offer, I think I deserve some new swag.

Posted by: RichW | Sep 29, 2005 12:41:23 PM

Actually Rich, I'll just comment over here for the moment. It's more fun. Didn't somebody else offer a bribe to comment? Did ASAE or someone like that? It's a chronic problem.

Well then... I feel a prize drawing coming on over on Tradeshow BluesBlog. Let's see... we have some caps left over and a few t-shirts in XXL and MED.

Posted by: Jeffrey D Brown | Sep 29, 2005 10:57:08 AM

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