This post is by Bridget Jewell, Media Relations Specialist for the Mall of America. She focuses on pitching stories to the media, coordinating live media, social media, community management and serves as editor for the Mall of America blog.
Blogger relations continues to be a hot topic among advertising, marketing and public relations professionals. A bad PR pitch can be dangerous. At best, they’re ignored and at worst they can become unintentional blog fodder, should a blogger decide to create a post bashing a company that reached out to them.
Maybe the problem is that these bloggers don’t have a clue what they’re being asked for or why they are being asked for it, said Jason Falls during a recent session at the BlogWorld Expo in New York City. Falls has worked for a national advertising agency, won awards for his work as a social media strategist and now serves as a corporate social media consultant in the field of social media marketing. On top of this, he is a blogger himself which allows him to speak candidly for both sides.
Falls said that the rules governing PR relationships are changing before our eyes. He explored how brands can do a better job when pitching to bloggers:
- Understand the power of the niche. Realize that while a blogger may not have the number of impressions you are looking for, they may have the most influential people in that niche reading and commenting on their blog, which is just as important.
- Make all outreach relevant. Sending a blast e-mail to a BCC’d list is spam. You need to tailor your pitches. Read the blog, know what the blogger talks about and is passionate about before you make contact.
- Know and respect that every blogger is different. It’s not the same as pitching a reporter. Bloggers have opinions of their own and each one has their own way that they like to work. Find out what their requirements are and respect their wishes.
- Have a plan for advertising asks. If a blogger responds to your pitch with the suggestion that you buy an ad on their site, you can’t just brush them off. You need to be prepared to give a thoughtful, reasonable response.
Bloggers can do their part to improve the relationship as well, Falls said. Here’s how bloggers can make PR painless:
- Teach brands how to handle you. If a PR pro pitches you and its irrelevant, take a minute to tell them why. Then they will hopefully either tailor the pitch so that it’s relevant or stop bugging you. It’s a win-win.
- Ask for the media buyer. If you want to talk about having the brand buy an ad on your site instead of you writing a post, don’t ask the PR person who contacted you. Instead, ask them to put you in touch with the brand’s media buyer and ask the media buyer what they look for when choosing places to advertise. Then make a case for why your blog is a good fit for the brand, including as much hard traffic data as you can muster. Maybe you don’t have 500,000 views on your blog a month but maybe the views and comments you receive are from the influential people in your community and that makes it extremely relevant to the media buyer.
“As a blogger, I don’t want you to make the same mistakes as the horror stories we have heard, and as a brand/pr/marketing person I want to help you understand bloggers because in the end we should all have a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Falls.
As a blogger, what are you doing to build relationships with advertising/marketing/PR professionals? As a professional in the industry what do you find makes for successful blogger relationships and outreach?