I'd like to share a story with you about impatience. I know, I can hear you asking, "But what does that have to do with social media and taxes?" I'll get to it. Just bear with me.
Like many marketing bloggers, I receive my fair share of bad pitches. I suppose that makes me hypersensitive to emails in which writers indicate that they've been reading my blog and think there's a fit for their pitch. Usually the fact that they haven't commented or that they only make reference to the last two or three posts is what tips me off to their insincerity.
But let's be honest. Blogger outreach is a hard job. Unless you're already embedded in the community, you have to get up to speed with your target audience very quickly - and usually with many of them. It's incredibly labor-intensive. I really empathize with the people that are doing this, especially with experienced marketing bloggers on the receiving end. We can be harsh critics, maybe simply because we're pressed for time. Impatient, one might say.
And I can be pretty harsh. Most of the time, with good reason. But recently, I let a pitch slip by that I should have spent a longer time considering.
I received an email titled "Do Taxes and Social Media Mix?" I thought it was an odd combination, and when I looked at the body of the email, I noted that the author of the note referenced some recent posts I had made on the blog here. Rather than being encouraged that she was taking an interest in my work, I assumed it was a form email with recent topics plugged in and "social media" as the topic of my blog simply inserted into the title "Do Taxes and _____ Mix?" I immediately hit the Delete key as I thought it was a contrived effort.
I made a mistake.
It turns out that it was part of a pretty well thought out campaign for H&R Block from 360i, the agency where my fellow author David Berkowitz works. Evidently, H&R Block has a pretty sharp VP of marketing for their digital tax solutions, and she's really savvy about social media.
The campaign was pretty comprehensive, including:
- A MySpace profile
- A Facebook page
- A YouTube channel
- An interactive Web page where you can discuss taxes and download podcasts
- A Twitter presence
- And one of my favorites, a Common Craft video about Tango, their online tax solution.
If you'd like to read a couple of summaries and professional opinions of the campaign, check out Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer and Jake McKee at Community Guy. Both are positive but fair assessments of H&R Block's efforts.
The bottom line is, had I taken the time to learn about the effort a little more and been less judgmental on the opening salvo, I would have been more likely to pay attention to the campaign.
I probably would have been even more likely to pay attention to it had the author been participating in my community, used a different subject line or been a little less scripted in her email.
Then again, if I had a little more patience, these points would have been moot. Suffice it to say that patience was just a little too (dare I say it?) taxing for me last month.
Update (5/15/05): H&R Block gave a presentation this week at AdAge's Digital Bites breakfast in which they shared what they learned.
Photo courtesy of PPDIGITAL