Testing a new idea

By | December 3, 2014

When I think of something that could become a new business I sometimes get an “idea high”. I can already see it working and envision turning it into something huge. I got into the habit of adding these ideas to a list (more than 100 now) and forgetting about them for a while. Upon later inspection most ideas turn out not to be as brilliant as they first seemed, or not feasible for different reasons.

The most interesting ideas stay on my mind long after I have added them to the list. When this happens it means that it is a good candidate to put in practice. I always share things I think of with my business partner David. It turned out that one year later he was still thinking about the same idea as well. A good sign!

Scratch your own itch

The best ideas are solutions to things you are struggling with, and this is one of those. I have spent a lot of time on getting the word out about our typing course for kids. There are many ways to acquire new users. A method that has been really successful for us is PR.

When a blogger writes about our product it usually drives a lot of traffic and sales. The problem is that getting blogs to publish a post is a time-consuming process. First you need to find blogs that have an audience interested in your product. The next step is pitching the owner of the blog. Pitches are most effective when they are personalized and this takes up a lot of time. Sometimes you send a pitch and it bounces directly, but usually the wait for a response starts. Only a limited number of bloggers respond and only a small percentage of those end-up publishing a post.

If you want to get featured on the top blogs, there is no way around this. However, during the past year I have been wondering how this process can be made easier and faster for the other 99% of blogs.

The idea

The idea is to turn the pitch process around. We will create a marketplace where product owners can publish review requests. Product owners can offer a free product for review and specify what type of blogs they want to get coverage from. Bloggers can then pitch their blog.

Some of the benefits for product owners are:

  • Bring your product to the attention of potential customers.
  • Limited time investment. Bloggers will approach you, instead of having to spend a lot of time finding and pitching suitable blogs.
  • SEO. Bloggers will link to your site, moving it up in the search results.
  • Credibility. Reviewers are target users of your product. Many people search for reviews before purchasing a product. Reading about the experience of the blogger with your product can help move a purchasing decision.

Bloggers get the following:

  • Ideas for things to write about. If you own a blog, you probably find it difficult sometimes to come up with a subject to write about. This is where the marketplace can help.
  • Free products. Bloggers will receive interesting products that they get to keep.

Hypotheses

The success of this idea depends on whether the following hypotheses are true:

  1. Bloggers are interested in publishing reviews of products that have a good fit with their audience in exchange for free products.
  2. Product owners will list their products for review.
  3. Bloggers will send pitches to product owners.

The most important KPI will be the number of pitches sent. Pitches being sent means that bloggers have signed-up and are using the platform, and product owners are posting interesting products.

Next steps

We are now developing the platform to test our hypotheses and expect to launch in January. We already discussed the idea with bloggers we know and they all signed-up! A number of companies we spoke with also saw the value, so some awesome products will be listed for review.

Many minds are better than one, or two in this case, which is why I am making our idea public. Please let me know your feedback. Also please reach out if you have a product or blog and would like to learn more!