The blogger world may be macro in terms of the scope of topics and the number of blog outlets, but the best way to reach out to bloggers is on a micro scale.
That is one of the key takeaways of “A Best Practice Guide for Effective Blogger Outreach,” a guidebook to effective methods to gain advocacy, publicity, and social sharing for a brand, product, company or campaign. The guide is published by InkyBee.com.
As there once were myriad journalists, there now are millions of bloggers, the guide reports. Regardless, a mass approach to reaching them may mean a massive failure. When it comes to conducting outreach, the best way to advance an initiative is to make relationships first – then with established connections, address bloggers in individualized, specific, and precise ways which relate to their interests, topics, and audience, the guide says.
The “old school” style of public relation is all wrong now, says the guide. That concept is confirmed by Jenn Pedde, community manager for 2U, in her slide presentation on the subject. These too-direct tactics are bad form as blogger outreach, she says:
- Sending announcements and press releases
- Cold calling (blog style)
Pitching your service/product/company
“Write About Me, Write About Me” requests
The guide says bloggers are willing to be pitched, but only:
- If you do so with integrity
- If you have relevant, quality ideas that offer value to the blogger’s audience
- If you have first matched your outreach to the blogger’s specific interests
- If you have made your content easy to read through and share through embedded links, graphics, and SEO optimized words.
Of course, you shouldn’t attempt to pitch a blogger before you’ve done the requisite research, assessing the relevance of the blog to your subject matter, the potential audience for your story, the degree of audience engagement with the blog/blogger, and functional details, such as the frequency of publication. While bloggers may not have the same restrictions as traditional journalists, they will have a set of standards. Don’t assume that because they are independent, they don’t approach their work like journalists do. A post from journalism blogger Jim Romenesko illustrates how a pushy pitch fell really flat because of the PR person’s poor-form approach.
I’ve got some personal experience with and context for these asssertions and affirmations.
- I’ve worked as a daily news journalist who was pitched (badly) by gushing PR types.
- I’ve been a PR type who knew better than to gushingly pitch reporters.
- I’ve lived and worked through the transition from old news to the modern journalism, to the world of blogging and opinion-based online information purveyors.
Today, I’m still pitching the media, but I’m doing it through social channels such as Facebook, twitter, and other means to build connections with, and then later coordinate recommendations and coverage, with media, news commentators and columnists, online content producers, bloggers, and news editors.
It’s a one-to-one world now. While the individualized approach takes longer and requiresmore up-front legwork, it’s well worth the effort when positive outcomes are achieved.