Posted by Media Relations on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 - Comments »
Say what you will, blogs are increasingly in competition for time and attention against mainstream media news sources. As the importance of blogs grows, many PR organizations struggle to identify best practices for engaging them.
Blogger relations is not a matter of media relations with a new type of media list. Bloggers are typically not reporters and don’t follow the same rules and practices within traditional journalism. Yet a single blogger can attract an audience on par with that of a small news organization.
As a blogger with over 15,000 subscribers, I’ve been on the sending and receiving end of blog pitches. Here are a few hard won insights for media relations professionals trying to make sense of the blogger audience.
- Be relevant. It seems so simple and obvious, yet it is the biggest mistake made when pitching bloggers. Look at the categories of the blog, tags and previous blog posts. Is your pitch REALLY relevant?
- Personalize. Getting an email pitch with no personal reference at all, or just a press release and no message is a sure trip to the trash folder. Take the time to research the blog, make comments and get involved. Be honest about who you are in the comments and provide thoughtful insight that is of value and relevant to the blog post.
- Make it easy. Most bloggers don’t write 600-1,000 word stories in response to a press release. Bloggers like to link to things. Provide a summary of the news release and a link to the full version. Many bloggers will copy and paste the summary, add commentary and a link to the full release. Popular bloggers are very busy, so make it easy for them.
- Be persistent. Don’t be offended or give up if a blogger doesn’t take your story the first time. Be courteous and smart about repeat attempts though. Watch to see if they really do pick up on your story before sending another pitch. ALWAYS follow up with a thank you email or comment when your story IS picked up. Courtesy goes a very long way in the blogosphere.
There’s plenty of advice on blogs about how to pitch blogs, but the bottom line is to be relevant, timely and persistent. Online PR efforts with blogs is not a numbers game. A little bit of relationship building will go a long way with the individual bloggers you’re working with as well as their readership. And so on and so on.