As a public relations practitioner, I’ve had a fair amount of success reaching out to bloggers. It’s not because I’m a blogger myself, nor because I am conversant in new media technologies.
It’s because I don’t reach out to bloggers. I reach out to the blogger in question.
Individual outreach is the only reliable method of pitching public relations pros can use to ensure their name isn’t thrown up in lights on a blog, embarrassed for all to see. Bloggers don’t like spam any more than we do. So using the BCC field to mass circulate your message simply won’t work, and is liable to force your crisis communications hat on more often than you care.
But if individual outreach in the blogosphere is key, how do you know which blogs to target to reach the most people?
Heidi Sullivan and Jay Krall, both from Cision, and I will present Not All Blogs Are Created Equal at the PRSA 2008 International Conference to help answer some of those questions and share some simple steps to avoid blogger backlash.
Between now and then, however, I would challenge each of you to review how you reach out to not just bloggers, but traditional media members as well. Do you use e-mail blasts? If so, chances are many of your outlets consider your outreach spam, or at least spammy. Even opt-in e-mail blasts are becoming tiresome for those covering our clients or industries.
We as a profession must find relevant and compelling ways to reach mass audiences without falling into the category of being spammers. My hope is that our session at PRSA International Conference, along with others, and the accompanying discussions, here on ComPRehension and elsewhere, can lead us all to a new idea.
By Jason Falls of Doe-Anderson, the fifth-oldest brand-building agency in the United States, and SocialMediaExplorer.com, one of Advertising Age’s Power 150 marketing blogs. Falls is a 16-year public relations veteran and the director of Social Media for Doe-Anderson. In his role he advises clients like Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek and Jim Beam bourbons on the use of social media. He is a frequent speaker on social media strategies and tools, public relations in the new media era and communications strategies, and is the co-founder of the Social Media Club Louisville.
Join Falls for his co-presentation with Heidi Sullivan and Jay Krall, Not All Blogs are Created Equal, at the PRSA 2008 International Conference: The Point of Connection on Monday October 27, 2008, in Detroit, MI!
Great post! I agree that BCCing bloggers is exactly the wrong approach to reaching bloggers. I’ve seen a number of examples of mean-spirited bloggers taking a bad pitch and posting it right on the blog. Case in point: http://executivesuite.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/14/pr-pitch-of-the-month-or-maybe-the-decade/?scp=1&sq=PR%20pitch&st=cse
Jason, you make some interesting points here. It goes along with your constant message about proper blogger relations. I think what is difficult for some PR people is this notion of 1 to 1 pitching. It may seem counter-intuitive to reach out one at a time because it seems inefficient compared to sending out a blast e-mail pitch to anyone who might listen. However, if we are doing our jobs, then we are figuring out what outlet or which blogger best fits our organization’s/client’s needs.
Adam – Thanks for the input and for the link. It’s frustrating to see bloggers doing that, but the PR folks often deserve it. Hopefully, we can help fewer make those mistakes.
Richie – You hit the nail on the head, sir. Taking the time to do our jobs well, with good thinking, preparation and execution dissolves the mistakes and makes us better.
Thanks to you both for commenting.
As an accredited PR professional and a blogger, I can attest to the embarrassing frustration I experience when I am contacted by PR people who: a) are obviously not reading my blog before they e-pitch me; or b) offer me incentives for giving them a positive review; or c) fail to educate their junior staffers (who are usually stuck making such pitches) about the correct protocol and ethics of our industry.
This business is about relationships. That’s the bottom line. Show me that you care about who I am, what I’m writing about and what my readers are interested in and I’ll give you the time of day instead the bottom of my pointy-heeled boot.
Nancy – Totally agreed. It sounds like you should hop on stage in Detroit and help us with the presentation!
I fully agree to your post, i am not a professional in reaching mass audience tactics.But optin or regular spam e-mail blasts annoy people.Same with aggressiv comment blasting on every possible platform where just the backlink is important but not the content.I think the best way to reach quality audience could be to attract for example a blog with a little bit advertisment, but leave the decision to each one personally to do a click on it , subscribe , get contacted etc etc.
Good post, iread it a hlaf year late : )
Certainly agree, Banshee. And thanks for the comment. My approach is normally personal outreach — one-to-one — with a concise a message as possible. If that means pointing them to a blog or resource online if they’d like to see it, that’s what I would recommend doing. Thanks for the comment.