Bloggers really want to hear from you. Why? Because without you, it would be so much harder to find new content for our precious blogs. Yes, we could fill our pages, but we would struggle to find products to review, events to attend and people to feature.
This said, there are some PRs that make it so darn difficult. As a former Press Officer and now Freelance Journalist and Blogger, I have experienced both sides of the coin. Some of the things I was encouraged to do as a Press Officer felt wrong, but I did them because that was just ‘what we did’. Becoming a Blogger has taught me many different things; one of them is to use common sense and to throw the rule book away – I urge you to do the same. There is no hard and fast rule on how to make contact with a Blogger because guess what, we are all different. We run our own ships and we make our own rules – we have no publisher breathing down our necks, so we can be more flexible and say and do pretty much what we want.
With this in mind, get to know us as individuals, our motivations for starting the blog in the first place, where we want to take that blog and what we want to achieve along the way – make the right connections and you can come along for the ride too.
1. Learn about the Blogger as well as the blog. Bloggers are often brilliant multi-taskers, because they have multiple online projects going at the same time. Many are also freelance writers for magazines; newspapers and other websites .They often also have Blogger friends. Remember, you could be building a relationship with one Blogger, yet gaining access to multiple platforms.
2. Drill down into the blog – don’t just read the top post and guess the rest. We can tell when you have just read one post and start an email with “I really love your blog, especially your post on XYZ…” We are online, so it only takes a few minutes to skim read and 30 minutes tops, to really get to grips with what has motivated us to start and maintain the blog.
3. Duplication? Nah. Just because a particular product has been featured recently, does not mean that a similar product or service will be covered again straight away – in fact, it is very unlikely. Most Bloggers know that featuring something unique will make for a better response rate, much more so than an almost identical post.
4. Always learn the name of the Blogger before you make contact. ‘Dear Blogger…’ or even ‘Hi there…’ isn’t really the best way to start an email conversation. This means that those blanket emails you send out, are much less likely to strike up the kind of relationship that you will want in the long term.
5. Rather than sending a catch all email, why not choose 5 of the best Bloggers for your product or client and focus on them. Start a direct conversation, build a relationship, offer an incentive, meet for coffee – in short, treat that Blogger in the same way that you would treat a respected business contact.
6. Ask yourself, if this were my blog what would I want to feature and how? If what you are offering a Blogger does not really work for their site in your head, it won’t work for the owner of the blog either. Find an angle or just leave it…leave it alone.
7. Whoever wrote the rule on making follow-up calls to Journalists, needs to be sectioned. Journalists are constantly inundated with PR contact – press releases, emails, post etc. It is exactly the same for Bloggers. Once you have sent the initial email with the press release, give the Blogger time to find it and read it. Follow up with an email, but really, it does not help to call. Yes, some Bloggers don’t mind, but the majority I have spoken to really hate it.
8. Never send out items that have not been requested and expect them to be covered.
9. Chasing a Blogger is not a good look and you won’t be thanked for it. If you have to email multiple times (without a response), ease off and wait for the next opportunity to make contact. Bloggers understand that they have a responsibility to make good on their promises, some will be overwhelmed with commitments others will have no intention of following up anyway. Either way, chasing incessantly very rarely has a good outcome.
10. Remember a Blogger can have more influence than a Journalist. Bloggers have free will to post anything they want and to give their personal opinion – often without censor. Their followers know this and are much more likely to believe what they read.