As a blogger, I don’t get pitched all that often. After all, I’m not a trendy food blogger/influencer.
However, I did receive two somewhat interesting and relevant “pitches” in the last month. They were both local events that I would at least consider attending. They were both at least mildly intriguing (to be clear, neither of those events was SMB 100, which is pictured below).
However both completely missed the boat when it comes to one key component of influencer outreach: They failed to address the “WIIFM” question.
In both cases, I’m quite certain I got the canned pitch that was most likely sent to hundreds of people.
But, both actually had legit chances to personalize and address the all-important WIIFM question.
The first event is actually a big-time local event. But, it’s not really something that impacts me all that much. However, the person who was featured at this event attended the same college as me. We know each other a bit. And, as many fellow #Warrior know, I support my Warriors 100 percent. So, the WIIFM angle in that pitch should have been quite simple: Come support your classmate and fellow Warrior. Nothing more really needed to be said.
The second event was a bit more low-key, but actually more interesting to me than the first one. However, it still didn’t address the WIIFM question. In fact, the pitch addressed more of the “what’s in this for your readers” than “what’s in it for me”. And this is a mistake I believe PR people often make–confusing bloggers and influencers for journalists.
Because the “what’s in it for your readers” angle is one almost every journalist would care about. No question. But, a blogger or influencer? Sure, they care about their readers. What blogger wouldn’t? But, let’s face it, readers aren’t always their primary concern. Bloggers and influencers are out for themselves, really. And in the case above, I found myself asking that same question: “What’s in it for me?” Or, really, more accurately, “Why should I attend?”
I think THAT’S the question we must all answer as we put these influencer programs together. Don’t start with “who’s on our list?” Start with “why would these people even consider attending?” And, really think about the potential answers to that question. In my experience, that’s been one of the keys to successful influencer outreach.
We did just that with an influencer project I worked on with the Minnesota Pork Board (via broadhead) a couple years ago. When we were crafting the “ask”, we thought long and hard about the WIIFM question. And, the answer to that question was pretty compelling: A free dinner out at one of the Twin Cities best restaurants (on a patio, in the middle of summer, no less). Keep in mind, we weren’t necessarily targeting big-time influencers–but instead, regular “urban foodies” who were active on social media. These people don’t get pitched that often, so a free dinner out at a fantastic Minneapolis restaurant in the throws of summer bliss sounds pretty good. We answered the WIIFM question, and almost across the board, the answer from our influencers was “yes, I’d love to attend.”
Influencer marketing has definitely evolved into more of a pay-for-play program in the last couple years. But, the WIIFM question still lives at the heart of this discipline. Always make sure you answer that simple question. Always.