These days, pitching media means pitching bloggers. For some topics, a blogger may even be the more influential expert. Still not all publicists have refined their blogger pitching methods.
In today’s guest post, Maris Callahan, founder of Maris Callahan Public Relations and the food blog In Good Taste, offers tips for pitching and building a relationship with bloggers. (Callahan also conducted blogger/media outreach while working at both Edelman and Burson-Marsteller.) A version of this post appeared on the In Good Taste blog previously, but it was so useful, we thought we’d post it here as well.
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Tips for Better Blogger Relations by Maris Callahan, founder, Maris Callahan Public Relations
Three years ago when my coworkers discovered that I had a blog – or maybe I sent it to them, begging that they become my first five readers – I became the point person for blogger relations for some of my clients.
Many PR pros think bloggers sit around on our couches all day lazily typing on the Internet. I will quote a panelist who spoke at a conference that I attended: “Bloggers get to sit at home with coffee while I am in an office, wearing professional attire.” That is very untrue. Alternatively, some bloggers think PR professionals are inattentive idiots who can’t be bothered to address an email to the person we’re writing. That is equally untrue.
There are a lot of things that I wish I could tell every blogger and single public relations professional from my seat on both sides of the fence. Since I can’t, I’m going to share a few key things I have learned over the years.
There are thousands of bloggers and each one has a different agenda and goal. Some people blog for fun, some have professional ambition, some because they love to write and others because they saw it on the Today show and they want to get free coupons from yogurt companies. Tailor your pitches accordingly.
Yes, you should read the blog. You don’t need to know where the blogger you’re pitching went to elementary school but in order to deliver an effective pitch you need to know what interests them. Even if you don’t know the person you are pitching, know what they are trying to accomplish with their platform.
Keep up. Tactics that worked with traditional media might not necessarily work with bloggers, who are not trained journalists. Reporters and editors expect to receive daily pitches but bloggers are not trained with that expectation. Blogs are often a labor of love and writers are not getting paid to sift through press releases and e-mail blasts in order to produce relevant content.
Educate your client. A lot of public relations professionals employ tactics they don’t necessarily believe in because their client believes in a “traditional” route. Take the opportunity to do your homework and show your client by whatever means necessary that media is evolving. The conservative approach might not be the way to go even if “the client wants it that way.” If they aren’t going to listen to your advice, why do they pay you?
If you’re a publicist, what do you wish every blogger knew? If you’re a blogger, what do you wish every publicist knew?