Vespa parent Piaggio USA is seeking scooter aficionados to blog about their lifestyle and their passions on its site.
The company, with the help of PR and blog agency CooperKatz & Company, is developing plans to develop two separate blogs to be updated daily for at least a year. The site launches, expected in June, will be supported by PR, a paid search effort using lifestyle-oriented keywords, and an ad campaign on other blogs. Spending was not disclosed.
The first blog, aimed at young, urban, singles with high levels of disposable income, will explore the theme of "urban mobility." Posts will discuss tools for travel, gadgetry, and techniques for navigating the urban lifestyle.
The second, aimed at young, pragmatic, environmentally conscious people, will explore how to achieve life goals, said Steve Rubel, who heads up CooperKatz's blog marketing practice, called Micro Persuasion.
The idea behind the Vespa program, Rubel says, is to identify bloggers who are already passionate about the brand, and give them a platform for writing about lifestyle topics -- including the Italian-made scooters.
"People are very passionate about Vespas," Rubel told ClickZ News. "It has an almost iPod-like following. It's not quite on that scale, but they're also very vocal online."
The company is looking for a total of four bloggers -- two for each of the sites. They won't be paid, but will get added exposure for their writing. They'll also receive access to Vespa and get briefings about new product launches. Vespa may also give them promotional products.
In exchange, the bloggers will produce at least one new post daily per site. CooperKatz will provide guidance on subject matter, and will likely require the writers post on a Vespa-related topic at least once a week.
"I suspect they may do more [on their own]," said Rubel. "We'll have to find the right balance, and that's something we're going to learn."
The company has already identified several potential contributors but it hasn't yet approached them. Initial PR efforts have already yielded a number of inquiries from interested bloggers, Rubel said.
The blogs will have comments and trackbacks enabled, because Vespa is eager to hear feedback from the public, Rubel said. Comments will be deleted if they contain foul language or if they are spam, but negative comments will be allowed to stay, he said.
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Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
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