This is a follow-up to our recent blog postings (1) Blogger Relations - Don't Get Blacklisted! and (2) Write 1000 times on the chalkboard: I will not spam the bloggers and journalists.
In the past several weeks I have received several email solicitations/pitches from PR firms wanting me to blog about their client. The most recent (see image on this blog posting) was from a PR firm and said this:
Dear Mark: In today’s constantly disappointing economy, consumers feel inclined to find discount coupons to save money on food, clothing and travel. Coupon-user demographics range from wealthier families to single people working two full-time jobs. It seems as though the concept of “retail pricing” is a thing of the past. This could make an interesting story-how to find valuable coupons, which coupons are most popular, and how the economy has affected the popularity of coupons in general. If you’d like I can supply more information or arrange an interview with the CEO of COMPANY NAME. Thanks! Sarah (last name deleted).Obviously, Sarah did not read our blog postings on blogger relations. A couple of things are wrong with Sarah's pitch:
Now, on the surface, there is no damage done. I just deleted the email and I'm not going to embarrass Sarah by publishing her contact info or name the client. However, some influential bloggers in her target audience (we are not one of them, fortunately for Sarah) won't be so kind and would be turned off by such an email - and possibly blacklist her email from future pitches.
- This pitch has NOTHING to do with the editorial focus of our blog. In fact, it has nothing to do with HR.
- Sarah makes no reference to our blog and why our blog may be interested in this topic.
- The pitch is not personalized, it is obvious she has never read our blog and that she sent the same email to many blogs.
As blogger relations become increasingly important, it is critical that PR folks understand how to engage bloggers. As such, I will republish our suggested blogger relations tips:
- Choose a handful of blogs (use a rifle, not a shotgun) that relate to your market, and become a regular reader. Get to know the writers, their interests and coverage topics. And as Guy Kawasaki says, "Stroke them. Industry influencers enjoy recognition, and BS aside, they have worked pretty hard at establishing their rock star status. Let them know you appreciate their POV."
- Contribute to the online community. Add comments that offer genuine insight and perspective; draw from company experiences, but don't blatantly promote your product or service.
- Email bloggers first and ask if they're interested in receiving releases.
- Be very selective about what news you send. Think about whether their readers will care.
- NEVER blitz a group of blogs with press releases - they are not a dumping ground. Always email them individually.
- When commenting on a blog, be sure to identify yourself as "working in the space for XYZ Company," to avoid the appearance of a hidden agenda.
Posted by Mark Willaman
Labels: blogger relations