How to Interact with Industry Bloggers
A Primer on Blogger Relations
*Excerpt from Tech PR Blueprint – How any Tech SMB can become an Industry Giant
A PR study a few years ago found that a company's message is not being communicated accurately to mainstream media about one-half of the time. The study also went on to state that the corporate message is getting mangled about three-quarters of the time when communicated to bloggers.
Of course, both are indicators of some sort of failure on the part of PR practitioners. More alarmingly, given the rise and prominence of bloggers, what is going on here? PR execs need to develop a clearer, more concise strategy on interacting with bloggers...not using the same strategies they've used time and time again with journalists.
Here are five tips to consider before your next press release gets deleted:
1. Build a Relationship First. Go to the blog. Read it. Study it. Comment on it. Ask the blogger questions along the way. Share some of the blogger’s content on social media. You wouldn't go up to a stranger on the street and ask them to come over for dinner. Bloggers are individuals with one mission in mind: their blog.
2. Personalize your Message. If you think you're going to pull together an email blast with your press release and send it to the blogger you're in for a rude awakening. Send a note to the blogger with whom you have made contact in the past. Talk about the subject at hand and leave the press release in the office. Make sure your direct-to-blogger effort is on track and meets his or her mission of the blog and for their blog audience. In some cases, try sending a note in advance alerting the blogger that you might have some useful content in the near term and that you will follow up when it is ready. Don’t pitch your corporate brand but useful information that they can use and deem valuable for their audience.
3. Less is More. Focus on a targeted number of bloggers. Read their blogs daily and know the focus. Keep good records and make sure one person is reaching out to the blogger from your company. This of course ties into the strategy of building a relationship and personalizing, but the takeaway here is a few key bloggers is the strategy that works best, rather than going after 300 of them and being off-message. Even worse, if you send the wrong content to the wrong blogger they might even blog about that experience.
4. Exclusivity. Bloggers, like journalists, enjoy getting the exclusive. This helps them build traffic and promote their blog. You're telling the blogger that you respect their work and audience. Use this tool when it makes sense.
5. Don't Hit and Run. Okay, you've done your research, built a relationship, and have been fortunate enough to get some excellent content published on an influential blog. Now what? Keep it going. Continue to share information, engage with the blogger, and interact over time. Chances are, you'll want to connect with that blogger in the future.
These are just a few strategies on dealing with bloggers. The key is that PR people need to take the time to understand the role and perspective of the blogging community and each, individual blogger. It's different than typical media.
Further, the "shotgun" approach of firing off myriad press releases to bloggers won't do any good, and in fact could come back to hurt your reputation or get the wrong message published.