As a follow-up on my guest post yesterday over at Mommy Is In Timeout, I’ve decided to change it up and take a different approach to today’s post.
As a PR pro and new parenting blogger, I was honored to be asked to moderate a panel last week highlighting some of our local “mommy media” for the Detroit Chapter of PRSA. The gals from Rock and Drool, Glamorous Moms, Detroit Mommies and Four Plus an Angel were in attendance and had great advice to offer. Per usual though, I was horrified by some of their stories of how they have been contacted in the past by PR pros.
During my short time blogging, I have also been approached with some interesting emails from PR folks asking for me to post things not even remotely tied to my blog. I’m open to working with PR companies, but knowing the biz, I have a few simple requirements: Know what my blog is about and give me some ideas for why your product/service/event might be valuable to my readers.
Since I know many of my readers are my PR friends too, I thought it might be helpful to share 7 takeaways we discussed during the event:
1. Bloggers are NOT traditional media. Use that to your advantage and get creative with your outreach. Melissa of Rock and Drool discussed how she worked with a local company to help spread the word about a sale they were having through her tweets. The information wasn’t a fit for her blog, but she was happy to help in other ways. The company, in return, was very happy with her efforts.
2. Offer up something unique. Just because you have great, newsworthy information doesn’t mean a blogger will be interested, so be sure to have a tangible benefit for their readers. If your client is a restaurant, offer up an exclusive taste test with the chef and allow the blogger to bring one of their readers. If you are hosting a contest, ask the blogger to be a judge. Think of ways to engage the blogger in what you are doing and don’t always ask for coverage. It’s a great way to build a relationship.
3. Don’t be too demanding. Asking a blogger for a post, tweets, a Facebook post and video is ridiculous unless you are paying them. If you’re providing valuable information, bloggers are pretty good about following suit with tweets and Facebook posts. It’s not necessary to ask. With that said, think about those as pitching mediums. Maybe the blogger wouldn’t dedicate an entire post about your client, but they could be open to posting something to Facebook or Twitter if it is of value to their readers. Ask nicely and you just may receive.
4. READ blogs (and comment when appropriate). I can’t stress this one enough. If you have a client in a given niche, subscribe to blogs in that category. Use Google Reader, or just subscribe via email. Get to know the blogger’s style, likes and dislikes before attempting to put together a pitch. And always check the bloggers “about” section to make sure they are OK with PR professionals contacting them. And if you’re feeling brave, chime in with a comment if you have something to add to the conversation (do not push your client in the comments, however). It’s great to let them know you are paying attention.
5. Get personal. Just like traditional media, do not blind copy emails to bloggers. It’s so easy to tell when your email is a mass email. To save on time, feel free to have a basic email outline, but ALWAYS personalize it. First, use the bloggers name in the greeting and state why you think your client is a fit for their blog, citing past post examples or something that relates to the topics they typically cover.
6. Don’t only send a press release. Most blogs aren’t just going to copy and paste a news release. Feel free to paste one below your signature if there’s valuable information, but always give the blogger an opportunity to actually write something, too. Ideas: Offer up a Q&A with your client or ask them to consider hosting a giveaway or a product review.
7. Be human. Be genuine. Pitching can be awkward. Don’t be too formal. If you genuinely liked a post or can relate to something the blogger said, let them know. Have a conversation. Don’t be robotic about pushing your client needs.
Fellow bloggers, what do you have to add? Any PR pet peeves? How can we help PR pros connect with us?