I am a family man who loves stuff. Not in the materialistic-gotta-have-more-than-you sense. I love tinkering with things that make everyday life interesting, fun and easier and then telling people about it to help improve their own lives. I’m curious about how these things work – technology, convenience gadgets, snacks, toys, books – and how they can work better.
I have been online since ’96 and blogging since ’03 via BenSpark.com. What started as a way to stay in touch with family and friends with daily photo postings has slowly morphed into a channel to give shout-outs to awesome products (and a few thumbs down to others) that I have used.
BenSpark.com has grown into a brand promotion and advocacy business that is selected by firms who know I LOVE THEIR PRODUCT and want me to sing their praises from a genuine, passionate standpoint to develop a loyal fan base.
The passion comes first! If I do not love your product, I cannot be your evangelist. Period. Send me your product. I will use it as a child plays with a toy-incessantly and curiously. I will poke, prod and explore it within an inch of its life. If it is amazing for what it is supposed to do, I will tell my legion of followers. I will demonstrate its perks and features in video, represent your product at conferences, tweet about my reactions and blog about my experiences showing why people need to run out and get your product. If I see its potential and it is not already awesome, I will tell you what’s wrong with it so you can fix it to make it awesome. I have helped firms with effective product development. Once the product is fixed and fabulous, then I will tell my followers about it in all sorts of mediums.
Essentially, I am a humble guy who wrote everything on this website, except this bio page–but it is accurate, so I will leave it up. You can read my blog to learn more about how I got started, my projects: Photo-A-Day, Personal Branding Bootcamp and Giveaway Newsletter. I have worked with many brands through BenSpark.com over the years that I have been blogging. Here are some case studies for those brands.
XShot – http://www.xshot.com – In 2007 I was send the Xshot 1.0 to test out, review and offer suggestions to the product creator, Michael Daoud. That initial review sparked a strong friendship and made me a brand advocate for XShot. Because of this initial contact many things happened.
I am sent XShot products to give away before I attend major blogging conferences. I have given them to highly influential social media industry people. One such person was Ted Murphy, the CEO of IZEA. Ted loved the XShot and because of that brought XShot over to SocialSpark for their affiliate program.
I’ve probably given away over 30 XShots to people who have gone on to add the XShot into their lives. I even made suggestions about using the XShot while kayaking and a kayak mount was created for use with the XShot. I use two kayak mounts on my kayak every time I go paddling.
While I can’t completely measure how my relationship with XShot has helped the company, I know that it certainly has. I was invited to be the official blogger for XShot at CES 2011.
ShutterCal – http://www.shuttercal.com – ShutterCal is an online community where people can upload one photo a day into a calendar interface. I was asked to be the official guest blogger for the service for 2010. ShutterCal sponsored me with their ShoeBox product in return for me using their service and posting every single one of my Photo-A-Day photos was hosted by ShutterCal. Through me, ShutterCal got a number of new users participating in their service.
Philips Norelco – http://www.shavenewworld.com – I was contracted by Collective Bias to be a community leader to promote a Philips Norelco site called Shave New World. I purchased and reviewed thirteen different Norelco shavers on the Shave New World site. I also created thirteen different videos on YouTube that have garnered between 800 – 7000 views each.
With Shave New world I also coordinated ten families to participate in a program called Makeover Your Man. This was a Father’s Day tie-in where moms and kids bought their dads a new Norelco Shaver and a haircut and new clothes. They each wrote about their experiences and then gave away replacement shaver heads. I coordinated the aggregation of tweets, posts and videos to the Shave New World site.
Philips Sonicare – http://www.sonicarechallenge.com - Similar to the campaign with Philips Norelco this was another aggregation site that was centered about a campaign with families. I coordinated the selection of families and curating of the content to aggregate that content to the Sonicare Challenge site. I also created the Sonicare Challenge site.
Kodak – Kodak has sponsored my blog many times. I approached Kodak to sponsor me with PlaySport cameras so that I could record the Roger Williams Paddle in 2010. I was sent two cameras and was able to create an on the water video of the event.
My second sponsorship from Kodak came in the form of a camera for me to use on a family vacation to Walt Disney World. I took that camera with me to show how a Dad could spend more time with his family and still capture great photos without having to haul around a huge DSLR camera. From that I was also given cameras to give away when I spoke at BlogWorld & New Media Expo. I used the M580 camera as the only camera I used for my Photo-A-Day Photos of October 2010.
My third sponsorship from Kodak came with a Kodak PlayTouch camera so that I could make videos and in return I show that my videos were made on the PlayTouch. My YouTube videos are widely seen.
I was also given a Kodak Z950 to use as my camera to take my Photo-A-Day photo all throughout the month of February 2011. My daily photos are seen on over 15 social networks daily with EXIF data that shows the camera that I am using.
Chevrolet – I connected with Chevrolet in 2010 at the Modern Media Man Summit. I made a number of videos of me in various Chevrolet vehicles. The videos were well watched and because of my work I was given the opportunity to take a Chevy Tahoe on a road trip for a week. My road trip was also well received and I was invited to be an official blogger for Chevy for the 2011 North American International Auto Show.
Seagate – I approached Seagate to sponsor BenSpark.com for six months. In return I linked to Seagate on all of my posts for the Six months and then highlighted my use of the Seagate family of products. My videos about using the products have seen over 36,000 views on YouTube.
Seagate was pleased with what I did to promote the brand that I was sponsored by Seagate to attend BlogWorld Expo and was also given products to give away at Blog World Expo and during my SwagsGiving giveaway month in November 2010.
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