By Callie Gisler
The Hoffman Agency, Portland-Vancouver
In recent years, bloggers have become recognized as important content producers in the digital space. They come with an established personal brand and an audience that trusts them. What’s also important is that these writers are open to the out-of-the-box ideas that grab their reader’s attention. But, to engage with these writers, it takes more that copying your press release into the body of an email and pressing the “send” button.
As a blogger and a public relations professional, I get to see the world of blogger relations from both sides. Through this front-row seat, I’ve gained some insights into the relationship between a blogger and a PR contact. I’d like to share three potentially “deadly” sins to avoid when reaching out to your next blogger:
1. Not Knowing Your Contact’s Name.
Could you imagine starting an email with “Dear reporter?” Probably not. Knowing your contact as a person – including his or her first name – is an important way to start building the connection. It’s what makes it personal. Receiving an email that begins “Dear Blogger” is almost as annoying as one that begins with “Dear Gisler.” Both of these have actually happened.
How to Avoid It: Take a few minutes to browse the blogger’s about page or sidebar bio. Scroll down to check the blog’s copyright or licensing, which can also include a blogger’s name for legal purposes. Also, don’t overlook the obvious: the email address. My first name is in my blog email address.
2. Not Researching Your Contact’s Blog.
When your client’s exciting news drops, it’s tempting to share the story far and wide. But one targeted pitch can do more than a dozen solicited emails.
Spend five minutes getting familiar with a blog and its content. Even if you are sending a press release, start your email with a short note introducing yourself and why you think the blog would be a good fit for a client’s story. Like our CEO Lou Hoffman mentioned in this post, bad pitches can can hit a nerve.
How to Avoid It: Again, take a few minutes to browse the blogger’s about page and bio. Check out the categories and past blog topics to get a sense of what he or she writes about. Scroll through the past few weeks of content and maybe reference a post that stands out to you in your initial email.
3. Not Following up – Before and After a Collaboration.
Pay attention to a blogger’s communication preferences and don’t hesitate to touch base if an email goes unanswered. Remember: For most bloggers, writing isn’t the only thing they do during the day. While working a full time job, it’s easy to let a pitch sit longer that intended.
Following up before and after a collaboration is a great way to establish the sort of long-term relationship that makes blogger relations worthwhile.
How to Avoid It: Make it a point to follow up with your contacts. Haven’t heard back from a blogger? Shoot him or her another quick note 2-3 days after your original email. If they just wrapped up a great guest post or product review, sending a “thank you” note can work wonders for a long-term blogger relationship. Even if a collaboration doesn’t end up the way you envisioned, avoid the awkward silence with a professional “thank you” via email.
When it boils down to it, pitching a blogger follows many of the same principles as pitching a reporter or editor. Do your research, remember your manners and focus on the relationship!