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Third Tuesday May 2008 – Darren Barefoot’s talk May 21, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, local events, Third Tuesday, Vancouver.

I said that I was possibly going to live-blog Darren Barefoot‘s talk, but truth be told, I did not get wi-fi in the area of the restaurant where I was, so I couldn’t do it. Innocently, I believed that even without wi-fi, WordPress.com was going to save my notes from Darren’s talk on “Getting the Attention of Influencers” on my hard drive. WRONG. I lost half of my notes thanks to not knowing that WordPress.com does not save the text, and instead posts it online to their main server. Therefore, I lost about half of my notes. That did not start the night on the right foot.

I did have a great time, and had a chance to do some socializing with a number of people, some of whom read my blog and some who follow me on Twitter. I was very clear on a previous post that, if you wanted to recognize me, all you needed to do was find me wearing a badge with my name and my blog’s URL (which I did wear). Very nicely, I got a chance to meet several Twitter friends (in person, for the first time), several Twitter followers and blog readers. I am glad you approached me, because (as you may have noticed) I pride myself in being approachable and easy to talk to.

I announced on Twitter that I was going to make a fashion statement and show up in jeans and tshirt and found out that a lot of other fellow bloggers and participants did the same. I love dressing up, don’t get me wrong, but today I wasn’t feeling all that 100% fashionable so I just went for the relaxed, “Raul’s pressure is off” kind of look. Ok, enough about me, let’s go back to Darren’s talk.


First, the overall summary. On the plus side, Darren has a LOT of insight into the world of Web 2.0, social media, pitching and marketing. On the minus side, Darren speaks way too fast, even for my 105 words per minute skills. He is an extremely articulate speaker, but I think that in trying to cram all the content into a short talk and THEN really engage with the public (which I have to say, was a phenomenal strategy and I have to give him about 250 brownie points for that), he said a LOT in a very short period of time and I might need him to read this recap and point me to my own errors while trying to capture all of his ideas.

Darren is able to accomplish something that not every speaker can do: he engages with the audience. He opens the floor to questions, tries to seek input, allows for commentary. All of these strategies make him a very solid, engaging speaker. He does not claim to be THE source of all knowledge on the blogosphere. On the contrary, he’s always open to hearing ideas and thoughts. That ought to score him, as I indicated, 250 brownie points.

Now, on to the summary. Rebecca provided an outstanding live-blog (even though we didn’t have wi-fi, but she somehow managed to upload it) AND she also gave out door prizes. WOWZA! I didn’t win but hey such is life. I suggest that you check my Flickr account for photos, as I don’t think I’ll post all of the photos on this Third Tuesday recap. Thanks again so much to Tanya and Monica for organizing and to Century for hosting us. We took over the whole restaurant and the staff were SIMPLY OUTSTANDING. As in, totally awesome. I have to come back to Century and say thanks again, simply because they were absolutely superb in my opinion.


These are my notes – sorry if they’re a tad disorganized. Wasn’t really able to capture all of Darren’s great talk, but some of it is reflected here

Darren talked about a project for a wiki-based internet solutions firm. They do not-so-exciting stuff.

Five Premises To Take Into Account When Thinking of Pitching Bloggers

1. Everyone is busy. The only exception is “email doesn’t work”
2. People respond to originality. If you save time to your target, they tend to value that.
3. Marketing means = thing you are marketing. How to conceive these campaigns. The closer your marketing campaign is in concept to the thing you’re marketing then the better fit you have.

One-page comic strips – the Brother printer campaign (check Rebecca’s liveblog for an example). Sending that was closer to the idea of printing things than just an email. Simple but incredibly useful.

4. We care most about ourselves. People are most interested in themselves. “Made to Stick” – marketing book – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Self-rationalization – self-interest.
5. Funny beats unfunny every time. This is really hard. Things that you think are funny other people may not think that way. Funny and humorous is a key aspect of the campaign.

We do research, we come up with an idea, we use it, we follow up with them, then we measure the results, we set the objectives.

More business through their website.
More people through their website.
* This strategy keeps us accountable – if the line is flat, we have clearly not done our job

We spend a lot of time doing research. We have a created a database of influencers online. The research goes back into the big bucket of research. We would just pitch the 50 top bloggers who write about the topic. We also have to consider popularity. If you’re talking about vases, and the top 40 bloggers don’t write about this, then there’s definitely no buy-in.

The only podcast we ever done – targeted to quality assurance managers in software companies.

During our research – constant compromise between finding blogs with a big enough audience. We tend to compromise – some very on topic, some less on topic but more popular.

We enter these data into our spreadsheet
– Bloggers A, B, C. (tiered hierarchy of bloggers)

We may not have the resources to do a fancy thing for top 50 but we do for some of them. Our clients *really* love this.



Wikified intranet solutions – for the vast majority of people, kind of boring-ish. We need an original idea to engage with these people. This is always the problem. People are incredibly busy. Your trying to distract them and engage them in an original way – in this case, blog about your intranet software.

Darren and Julie did two unusual things.
* Following the “The thing you’re marketing should equal the thing you’re marketing” – made a “made up” company.
– The intranet was made of tubes. We made fun of this. WeMakeTubes.com
– We wrote a few funny stories about the company.
– The operations team moving to Chile.
– These were funny enough
– Labor intensive, valuable thing – profiles on the side – as if the bloggers who we were targeting were employees – they gave them really funny names “The Tube Janitor” Robert Scoble. 50 of these profiles, photos, RSS feed.

– To create content for each employee profile, we went to their blogs. Each blog (wiki) looked like an elementary interview. We built this little micro-site with content from each of these bloggers’ content.

EXAMPLE – Robert – we would ask him a fake question – this was VERY labor intensive, but we became really familiar with the bloggers we were trying to target.
– The name of the company – TubeTastic.com

We set a bunch of social media resources sites
– all the media they needed if a blogger wanted to write about the company,
– Flickr photostream
– Stream of videos
– Magnolia, de.liciou.s
– Blogroll – of all the bloggers
Elevate your pitch. One paragraph description of what they need. Then we put photos of the logo, screen shots of this TubeTastic internet site, some photos of badges on Flicker. Videos on Vimeo, we started using Twitter.

We like to get them as involved as we can (the bloggers and the company). They got to Twitter tips and engaged in the community. We created this whole set of resources around TubeTastic. The ideal scenario is
– We contact you – you log into the site, you make corrections to the profile. ‘cause all of the sudden you are ENGAGING with the product that you’re trying to market. Everyone is busy. What do we do? We mail things
– We send things to people in the mail (in the actual mail, physical!)

We made an organizational chart – they see where they are – we had them circled. – they see their peers

We are trading on
– mystery
– the joke in tubetastic – enticement of humans
– recognition that they are a group of exclusive peers who were pitched

Returning to the precepts – the assumption – they see themselves. They see a profile of their own excerpted content.

When a marketing campaign sends out sail mail – you are making contact in a format that is not traditional – Who bothers to go through the trouble anymore? This makes you unique

Other assumption – when you take a lot of time and demonstrate a lot of value, people respond.


Nobody ever notices you

Safe is risky and risky is safe

When we have taken risks, we have sometimes succeeded, but sometimes we don’t

We may creep people up – if you come to this site, you may actually feel a bit creeped out. But the people we are contacting, as with most bloggers, are all public people, really public people.

It’s very possible that some people may be weirded out by this campaign.


We had some snail mail failures and in some cases, we didn’t actually have the physical address. Use UPS or any other carrier. People in UK, US, Canada, Australia. The mail arrived at different
You should try to make all arrive at the same time.

A risk that is specific to this campaign – the wiki can go bad. People can put porn or anything. This didn’t happen, but this is a community-management risk, not a marketing management risk.


We spent a lot of time doing research, finding the influencers, creating the content to entice them, contacting them, following up, emailing me.

Two big scores – TechCrunch and (Raul’s note SECOND BLOG I missed). The client was really, really pleased.

Another risk – there is a risk (and this happened) ThoughtFarmers TubeTastic marketing campaign. This is like the lesser of two wins.
– Sometimes the results are going to be about the campaign than the actual product. This is kind of a reality (built-in nature of the beast).
– The lines go up – we doubled the traffic for ThoughtFarmer
– We got a bunch of other mentions.

There is a really interesting phenomenon. We had less success because a lot of that conversation has moved to Twitter. We got a lot more Tweets about the campaign as opposed to full-on blog posts. That was a little bit of a surprise. That seems to be the status of the technology right now.

IT is more the result of thinking about the value of each tweet.

We got a lot of traffic that moved on to Twitter. It’s part of the changing landscape design. That was almost entirely good because they can respond to criticisms.

Do a bunch of research
Devise a clever idea
People are busy
Funny original


[At this point it is IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO LOVE Darren – “Let’s do talk or questions put to me or others who want to talk” – I mean, he *really engages* with the audience]

Monique – how do you track tweets?

The follow mechanism – you can just follow a term. Then TwitScan is one of the several twitter models. You use Twitter to follow up on questions – in some cases, we couldn’t find a specific mechanism.

What are the dangers of using – text vs picture –
Totally free use – using a picture – we chose appropriately licensed photos under Creative Commons.

There is some discussion on whether you can use non-commercial for this kind of thing – there is an inherent risk.

Raul (that is, ME) asked a question on “how do you find out who the top bloggers are?”
Tricky issue
– Technorati
– RSS feed subscribers
– Are they on Twitter?
– Do they have their own banner?
– Do they have lots of comments?

We write a blog post about the client and describing. We always link to all bloggers (people’s ego feeds) – oh I just got my package, it’s really cool. This was just last month. Some people (they’re pro bloggers) but some others are JUST blogging.

How much is there any negative reaction occurring?
One grumpy dude didn’t like it

I like to embrace the spam.
Unsolicited commercial email from people I don’t know.
We certainly personalize everything we send.
We follow up.
In the case of these folks, they have expectations. They’ve said repeatedly.
Single, non-hassle, personalized email.

Darren gets pitched all the time – (Raul’s note – I had the same problem with MatchStick)

The thing I say is – bloggers are a meat market. We need to find ways to entice, interest them in the things we are doing. Without them, marketing campaigns are kind of toast.

Good content – we try to build good content. Or a cool thing.

Raul (aka ME) suggested – use an intermediate blogger – someone who knows the subject matter

How does a company get your attention, Darren?
He wrote a post on his blog about this.

What would you have done differently?
Not sure, I haven’t thought about it

Final remarks
We love doing online contests!

Remember that the bloggers/influencers do NOT need you, so you need to actually engage in creative, innovative techniques to reach out to them and get their attention.


As I had said before, I really like Darren. Now that I’ve had a chance to actually talk to him more, I found that we can actually engage in good conversations (even if we don’t follow each other on Twitter). He has some outstanding ideas. I have to use a couple of my own suggestions to Darren to write posts (e.g. the use of an intermediary blogger AND techniques to assess who are the top bloggers).

OK, SLEEPY TIME… See you all tomorrow at Launch Party – TechVibes Job Fair – VIDFEST launch party.

UPDATES – Liveblogs and recaps: I will be updating as I find them on the internet.

* Colleen Coplick’s recap of the evening.
* Rebecca’s live blog is linked up at the beginning.



1. Gus - May 21, 2008

Great recap Raul.

I have to agree with you in everyway regarding Darren. He just has a way of engaging his audience. Although he does intimidate me somewhat I did manage to say hello to him at the end before leaving 🙂

I’m enjoying the Third Tuesday events and I look forward to many more!

2. Blogger Relations At Third Tuesday | Out-Smarts Marketing Services - May 21, 2008

[…] Hummingbird604 MapleLeaf 2.0 Posted on Wednesday, May 21st, 2008 and filed under Marketing. […]

3. Darren Barefoot - May 21, 2008

Thanks for the great notes and the kind words. And, of course, for coming along in the first place.

4. Tanya (aka NetChick) - May 21, 2008

Raul, as usual, you rock 🙂 Awesome to see ya last night, and really great recap notes! Thanks for sharing them for everyone. I always know that despite the fact that I’m too busy hosting to take notes that you and Rebecca will save the day for me!


5. inaequitas - May 21, 2008

I am going to suggest using BlogDesk (free, Windows application) or MarsEdit (for-pay, excellent Mac client) in the future to make sure you don’t lose your notes. I find it very hard to re-type something once it is lost, so a desktop/offline application saves me in a lot of situations. At the end, I usually send the post as a draft to my blog to get another chance to tweak some fields for my plugins and maybe preview the post before going live.

It also makes for a much better avenue to blog when there is no Internet around (which, for me, may be a self-inflicted condition in order to be distraction-free) than Notepad would ever be, in my opinion.

6. Third Tuesday Vancouver - Darren Barefoot | Gus Digital - May 23, 2008

[…] Again I had the pleasure of attending Third Tuesday Vancouver where Darren Barefoot spoke on how to target influential bloggers and went through a case study. I’m not going to bore you with the details, but if you would like to know more you can head over to Rebecca’s blog where she lived blogged the event or through Raul’s blog. […]

7. The inter-mediators: Subject matter experts with a dash of Web 2.0 « Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment - May 23, 2008

[…] geekifying myself, personal life, random thoughts, social change — Raul @ 8:16 am At Darren Barefoot’s recent talk on Third Tuesday, I brought up a point that I thought was worth developing in one of my posts: the concept of […]

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