I have to give a hand to VAMortgageCenter.com for executing an outstanding (and effective) online campaign by engaging bloggers.
For those who aren’t familiar, let me recap.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, contrary to popular belief, does not provide loans. They simply guarantee loans through other banks and lenders. VA Mortgage Center is an online service center (unaffiliated with the federal government) for former servicemembers to help get the loans they qualify for.
They knew their audience was online, so what better way to reach them than through online discussion?
VA Mortgage Center established a blog and basically turned ownership over to the milblogging communiuty. They let milbloggers vote on who they wanted to guest write at the blog, and the top vote-getters would be invited to write on their site.
As an added bonus, they decided to offer a prize of $3,000 to the top vote-getter and $250 to the rest of the top 10. (Note, many bloggers, when nominated, announced that they would donate their prize to charity, such as Project Valour IT).
The news of the contest spread virally, and in two short weeks the top 10 vote-getters received over 4,300 votes, plus over 150 blog posts about their competition. And they raised awareness of an otherwise obscure company to the forefront of an influential online community.
Not bad for a $5500 investment.
Here is the post on the winners of the competition. Check out all of the blogs in the top 11 — they are a great introduction to milblogs if you are currently not a regular reader.
What are your thoughts on the promotion? Do you think VA Mortgage Center’s approach was a good one?