the twitter secret: conditioning
marketing in a down-market : Oprah should be blogging

bloggers and IZEA - the long term relationship?

Kmart sears izea So IZEA is hot.  And Kmart and Sears are reaping the benefits of being early movers.

Ted Murphy and IZEA look like visionaries.  And to be frank, Ted deserves it.  He's successfully marketed what was, at first, a controversial product, winning not only big name clients, but inviting serious thought leaders to the table.

And while some will plead the purist (that social media does not invite sponsored endorsements), I personally believe that the social elite will ultimately maintain their right to advocate products or services they choose to endorse.  And one way or the other, the world will go on.

For more on this debate, check out Allen Stern's fantastic wrap-up of the controversy, Jeremiah Owyang's expert analysis and linkity love of perspectives.

However, what is the true value of IZEA to a brand, to a blogger?

  • To Brands: IZEA generates interactions/engagements. IZEA generates word of mouth/buzz.  IZEA is making people rethink brands, increasing consideration.
  • To Bloggers: IZEA is giving bloggers the gift of giving, sponsoring contests, driving traffic and increasing engagement.

What is IZEA not doing?

  • Building an ongoing constituency of brand advocates.
  • Building a set of relationships between brands and bloggers that can be accessed moving forward.
  • Generating long term social equity.

IZEA is a currently great solution for short term marketing.  They will drive successful social promotional engagement with your brand. And this is a great offering.  But it is up to you as a marketer to make it work for you in the long term, to translate these short interactions into meaningful stories, to turn impressions into lifelong relationships.

However, one can't help but wonder, what's next?  Consider:

  • Promotions have a limited lifespan: At a certain point, the market will tire of giveaway promotions and engagement will wane.  This will require increasingly creatively compelling contests that are far more costly to ideate, generate and execute.
  • Twitter is already over-saturated with noise, RTs add to the noise: While bloggers will most likely limit the frequency of their engagements in the interest of maintaining their on-topic engagement (ex - subscriber numbers), the twitter community will quickly grow tired of the RT (retweet) contest entrance method, as this quickly generates interruptive noise.  
Sure, the first 10 times I saw this contest on twitter I was intrigued.  But by the 20th time I had clicked through and learned about it, entered the contest and satisfied my curiosity.  By the 80th tweet this grew annoying.  While this is not a flaw in IZEA's model, I wouldn't be surprised if Twitterers who frequently RTed as a means of contest entry lost a few followers. 

There has to be a happy medium, and I'm sure Ted has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Key Takeaway

If you're looking for a quick social win, IZEA looks to be heading in the right direction.  If you're looking for an ongoing, strategic relationship-oriented community or extra-community (external) of advocates, I would consider IZEA as a staging ground for something bigger, something greater.  The sky is the limit.  But it's up to YOU as a marketer to make it happen.

So Who is On Board?

On that note, kudos to Joe Jaffe, Jim Kurkal, Steve Spalding, Tamar Weinberg, Aaron Brazell, Liz Strauss, Chris Heuer, and IZEA's own Ted Murphy for making each of their posts, charities and packages stand out.  This was anything but your average blog ad.

photo adapted from original: credit here