Logically, when a PR person sends a quality pitch to a blogger, the blogger will want to cover it, right? Ahh, if only it were that easy …
The top bloggers receive hundreds of pitches a day. Even bloggers with less traffic to their site are still being pitched on a regular basis. Working against us, some PR people aren’t quite so savvy and are spamming these bloggers.
So, what’s a PR person to do? Say hello to the 5 Cs of blogger relations.
- Cultivation — While I do think it’s acceptable — and sometimes unavoidable — to pitch a blogger without a pre-existing relationship, investing time in establishing and cultivating relationships with bloggers who you want to work is time well spent. Get to know bloggers: How do they find inspiration for posts? How do they prefer to be pitched? What are their likes/dislikes? How far in advance to they work? What’s their ideal post (reviews, interviews with business execs, commentary, etc)? Establish some personal connections two. What common bonds can you identify that will help you build a stronger relationship? Invest time in nurturing relationships with bloggers.
- Collaboration — A growing number of bloggers are seeing revenue connected to their blogging. They see it as a business. As PR people, how can we help them work toward their business goals? That starts by working together to develop mutually beneficial relationships. How can we provide content that will drive traffic to their site? Better yet, how can we provide content that will drive quality traffic to the site? Instead of approaching blogger outreach as a one-time activity, take a long-term approach. How can PR people work with bloggers to create win-win situations?
- Content — Without solid content, a PR person doesn’t really have much hope of securing coverage. Q&As, Skype Sessions, product reviews, research findings, new data — these are all strong potential content options. Before you ever think about pitching a blogger, make sure you’re offering something valuable. Otherwise, you’re just wasting the blogger’s time … and yours.
- Community — Most bloggers answer to their community — not editors or publishers. Are you offering a piece of content that will help build their community? Do some homework before making the pitch. Does your company/product offer a solution to challenges frequently mentioned in the comments? Can you offer something that will spark a new conversation, or encourage readers to share the post? How are you helping the blogger be responsive to the community’s needs?
- Communication — What’s the ask? Be specific in your communication to the blogger. What do you want them to do? A giveaway? A guest post? An interview? Something else? Bloggers are pressed for time. Many do their writing after-hours (and frequently, after the kids have gone to bed, so it’s late at night). Communicate succinctly and clearly so they can decide if your pitch piques their interest.
This post builds on part of my presentation to the Central Ohio PRSA Blogger Relations Conference. The full presentation is below.