John & Bob’s GrowGreen Smart Soil Solutions have presented some interesting challenges for us. The products themselves are great and they have a growing repeat customer base. Gardeners and landscapers that have actually used the products rave about the exceptional results they have had with the John & Bob’s soil products. The marketing challenge is that their products work in a completely different way than traditional soil supplements and fertilizers. This is further complicated by the fact that the John & Bob’s products don’t compete with traditional soil supplements and fertilizers but complement them. The products themselves focus on a new category of “microbe nourishment and supplementation” to improve and build up the soil and improve the bioavailability of the sugars and micronutrients in the soil to improve plant health, growth and production. While this is a great value proposition this is not a simple story for potential customers to understand. We realized that the biggest asset John & Bob’s has is the solid base of knowledge possessed by leaders and customers who heartily endorse the products and explain them to others. Understanding that expanding the reach of these testimonials would leverage this asset, we recommended a blogger outreach program to John & Bob’s.

As a background, Web Logs or Blogs are increasing in popularity as well as credibility. Many of us are utilizing them to get the latest news, information, and opinions we are interested in. What a lot of people don’t realize is that blogs have become a critical media outlet to consider when promoting your company or idea right along with traditional media like newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Although this powerful media outlet flies under the radar for some, savvy marketers are coming to understand that this source of promotion is one of the most effective channels to promote your product. What is especially interesting is that blogs allow you to target your marketing efforts to specific groups, regions, or locations. Bloggers themselves are knowledge leaders among the people who follow their blog.

With these aspects in mind we developed a list of bloggers based on their focus, region (we targeted areas where John & Bob’s did not have good market penetration), and reach (the size of the group following them). We are in the process of educating this group about John & Bob’s products and encouraging them to try these products. Because getting coverage with blogs is often times relationship-based, any blogger outreach program has to have a long term commitment for the best success. So a reasonable time frame to see success is six months to a year. That being said, the John & Bob’s program was started just a few months ago and their products are being tested by several recognized national and regional bloggers. As a result of this program the John & Bob’s products will be featured on the Daily Grommet next Tuesday, May 25. The Daily Grommet is a nationally recognized blog focused on exciting new products for early adopters. So as you can see John & Bob’s is already seeing results that we expect to grow over time. What are you doing to connect with your blog media outlets?