In this age of digital media bloggers have gained much importance as influencers and their verdict as a third party endorsement is much respected by their followers and readers. For a PR professional both are to be pitched with a story idea and both are expected to publish a story covering the brand concerned in positive light. I am not in agreement with the approach and would strongly recommend a relook into the strategy and process of relationship building.
On the basis of my decade long media experience half of which remained devoted to digital media and blogging while the other half spent with mainstream media, I well understand the difference. Both, media and bloggers’ community being so different, the approach in dealing with them should also be different.
Seven tips on how to approach bloggers with a story idea
- Read and understand the blog thoroughly. It will help you understand the tone and tenor of the blog and the mindset of the blogger as well. With that know-how in hand you will be able to identify what the blogger is interested in and how to fit in your story better in the set frame.
- Generalities like those of a press release don’t work for bloggers. Provide them customized information that is relevant to their specific blog. You’ll have to work hard, remember, bloggers don’t get paid. Unlike journalists, it’s not a job for them. They work for themselves and their followers. You are supposed to make things sharp, easy and relevant for them. Share a summary matching the average length of their blogs. Link to a detailed release with further details may follow the summary.
- Don’t remain confined to top 10, top 100 blogs. The highest ranking blogs are not necessarily the best to target. Chances are they blog for payment and wouldn’t entertain your pitch without returns. The second level of bloggers are good to start with and easy to crack. In fact, they may help you in breaking ice with the top bloggers as most probably they are in good terms with each other and follow each other.
- Promote and reach out to bloggers through social media. Strike a chord with them by following them, commenting on their posts and blogs. Share their posts and links. Keep in mind – participation is the key.
- Be packed with ample visual content. Several creatives for different social media channels and separate lot to pick from for blog increases the chance of showcasing by many fold and the visibility is multiplied by way of attractive sharing options for social media.
- Bloggers’ event is a good option. Don’t mix it with the media interaction. Both come with different attitude and a joint activity may result adversely. Bloggers are more open and friendly to connect with and proactively participate in such activities.
- The bottom-line is that you will have to firstly demolish the mindset of media relations and build from scratch a fresh perspective keeping bloggers in mind. They have way different issues, requirement and approach as compared to the traditional media and both can’t be managed with the same style of relationship building.