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With more and more readers turning to blogs instead of traditional media for news and reviews, it’s no wonder that public relations professionals are increasingly incorporating blogger relations into their media plans. But, before you go approaching ‘Barry Blogger’ the same way you would approach ‘Rex Reporter’, think again. When constructing your blogger relations strategy, keep in mind these five ways to piss your targeted blogger off. Then avoid these irritating tactics at all cost!
1.) Don’t Bother to Read the Blog – PR pros with even a week’s worth of experience wouldn’t dare submit a story about stock portfolios for retirees to a tween magazine, but many PR pros assume bloggers are grateful for whatever news they can get. In fact, the most successful blogs are narrowly focused. Take the time to peruse previous blog posts to find out of if your story is consistent with the blog’s topic before sending a pitch.
2.) Assume the Blogger’s Publishing Schedule – To publish content, all a blogger has to do is write up an article and hit “post.” So why should they take two weeks or two months to post your story? It isn’t like they’re a “real” media outlet, right? You wouldn’t tell Time Magazine which issue your story belongs in. Treat a blogger with the same respect. On the other hand, as with print and broadcast publications, there are ways to encourage a blogger to post your story at a certain time. Submit a seasonal story or one highlighting an upcoming event. If the blogger is interested, she’ll probably post it within the season or before the event. Just give her plenty of lead time, like you would with a print or broadcast media journalist.
3.) Treat Bloggers like Pseudo-Journalists – Some bloggers aren’t trained journalists; some are. However, you can bet that any blogger who has taken the time to build up a large readership is dedicated to her work. Treating her like an amateur or a dabbler is a sure way to get the figurative door slammed in your face.
4.) Offer a Bribe – “I gave you a freebie, now where’s my positive review?” you ask. Nothing will insult your target blogger’s integrity like insisting that he can be bought. While it’s true that many bloggers make affiliate income from reviewing products and offering links to them on their site, any blogger worth his salt will not give a positive review in exchange for a freebie. Plus, Federal Trade Commission regulations now require bloggers to disclose freebies or cash received in exchange for a review.
5.) Pester Them – Bloggers are easy to contact. Blogs usually allow comments, bloggers often post their email addresses, and many bloggers embrace social media. But just as you wouldn’t call a reporter over and over again to ask about the chances of your story running, don’t pester your target blogger. Remember – just because you can contact her, doesn’t always mean you should.
Blog exposure can be just as lucrative as exposure in more traditional media, but only if PR pros become adept at the tricky art of blogger relations. Avoid pissing off bloggers, and you’re already well on your way to success!
This article was written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, an online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab a free copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry. Mickie’s blog, PR Fuel, covers PR and social media and is updated every weekday. He can be found on Twitter via @ereleases.
*Editor’s Note: I think it’s always good to reiterate tips such as the ones Mickie provides here. Especially for new PR pros, this type of information never gets old.