Even though I spend a lot of time doing social media, my background is in traditional, old-school public relations. The kind where journalists are always looking for a good story, if only you present it to them in the right way.
So for the longest time, I’ve approached pitching bloggers–be they moms, business bloggers, or any number of the other kinds of bloggers I regularly contact–in the same way. They just want a good story, right? It’s up to us as public relations professionals to find the right way to present it, and they’ll fall all over themselves to share your giveaway/promotion/event with their readers for free, right?
Pitching bloggers is an entirely different beast than pitching to traditional journalists. It’s some weird bastard child of public relations and ad buys. And it takes an entirely different mentality to be good at it.
The first thing to remember is that some kind of payment is usually expected. This doesn’t necessarily mean money (though it can)–it can also mean payment in product or tickets or some other remuneration. Make sure that you or your client factor this into your budget–unlike traditional PR, the time cost of your pro is not the only cost to consider.
And, even though you’re providing some sort of payment, you usually cannot dictate what the blogger writes. Of course, you can say that you want them to write about this particular promotion, but you’re really paying for the blogger’s unique voice on your product or event. That’s why their readers come back, and why they can be such strong brand advocates. But if you want to choose exactly what’s said about your product, don’t engage in blogger relations. Period. Note that most bloggers, however, will not write about products they don’t actually endorse or like, so in most instances you don’t need to worry about negative reviews from bloggers you’ve reached through an outreach program.
Don’t let these two factors scare you–blogger relations is an important part of PR and can’t be ignored in this day and age. Bloggers have huge, organic reach that makes every marketer drool in envy. Just go in with your head in the right place, and be prepared to make some great relationships and spread your message.
As an Indianapolis PR firm, Roundpeg helps small business distribute their messages through traditional and non-tradional pr channels.