Media Relations Minute: How to pitch bloggers
Call it the Blog-nomenon. Blogs have become ubiquitous sources of information, from the broad to the very niche. Chances are, there’s a blog to cater to your every whim. Whether run by big journalistic behemoths (i.e., The New York Times) or one-person operations (i.e., Perez Hilton), the most influential blogs have a significant readership and brand recognition that attracts throngs of people who trust them as viable news sources. That said, pitching to bloggers has become as important — if not more so — as pitching to traditional journalists. So,how do you get your story noticed by this new breed of “journalist”?
Below are a few pitching tips, specific to bloggers, that might help you speak to them, their challenges and needs:
- Make an offering
Many members of the blogosphere aren’t earning a paycheck for their efforts and, therefore, may not have the resources to purchase items that they can announce or review. These bloggers are looking for ways to add value to their blog without having to break their own piggybank. Free samples or a demo of your product would not only add to their blog, but, from their perspective, may attract more readers. You might also offer access to an influential member of your company for an interview, particularly if that blogger has shown an interest in your industry or has referred to your competitors in previous posts. Offering to collaborate on an article or give the blogger an all-access tour of your facilities will make him/her feel like the ultimate insider.
- Be direct and relevant
Bloggers like brief, concise content that is not only easy to scan and to extract information from, but content that adds to their credibility. Cater to the bloggers that reach your target audience, but make sure that the information you’re providing is relevant to the area that they cover. For instance, don’t send a release about filet mignon to the bloggers at VegetarianFriendly.com. In fact, make sure they even read press releases. Some just don’t like them, period. But, if it must be done, then the social media press release is much more blogger-friendly – for various reasons. (See #3.)
- Deliver multimedia elements
Bloggers not only post text, but they also include visual pieces to enhance the written piece. The easiest way to package both is to distribute a social media release, especially for bloggers and the media in general. Most articles that appear in print or online are accompanied with at least an image to give readers a visual reference to draw from as they read the content.
- Treat bloggers equally
Hey! Bloggers are real writers, too, many of them with journalism creds to boot. In fact, many journalists join the blogging game to legitimize, add credibility and promote their work. But, if they don’t have formal J-school training and just happen to be good writers, bloggers want to be treated just like any other member of the media, particularly if they have a significant following and are filling a void that hasn’t been picked up elsewhere. So treat a blogger with respect and professionalism.
- Personalize and customize
A good pitch should make bloggers feel as though they are receiving a handwritten and signed letter from you. Not only is this an ego-booster, but it also shows them that you’re familiar with their blog and understand what they might be interested in. Beyond written correspondences, it might be worth your while to pick up the phone, grab a coffee or meet them at an event to establish a stronger, longer-term relationship that could be just as beneficial as a way to connect with them on a somewhat personal level.
What other pitching tactics would you recommend? Have any unique success stories?
Here are some other tips that will help you connect with the media and write more effectively:
- The history of the boilerplate and how to write one
- 10 reasons why you need to blog: Tips from Mr. Left Brain and Ms. Right Brain
- Keeping up with the latest buzzwords