Who Blogs?

Another idea worth researching is finding out who actually blogs. Knowing characteristics, demographics, interests, etc., can help practitioners really fine tune a message to a blogger that should make your voice heard in the blogosphere.

Who's the blogger behind the computer screen?

Technorati’s, State of the Blogosphere, offers some of the most in depth information on who bloggers are. The amount of information and lessons one can take away from this is seemingly endless, but I’ll try to highlight some key points. For one, bloggers are typically well educated and wealthy. This means they have degrees, and many of them work in the industry they blog about, making them experts.  This may be something to keep in mind when sending something to a blogger. Your credibility in their industry could play a role too.

To iterate this point, here is a page devoted to the 10 most popular carpentry blogs alone. Bloggers aren’t just people who say what they did today. They are professionals, and they tend to be experienced too.  Many have a very specific knowledge that people find to be useful, and although less than half make money, many of them are.

It is also very important to keep in mind that 35% of bloggers used to or still do work in traditional media. This means that they know what they are doing, and of course, it means you need to know what you are doing as well when communicating with them. A poor pitch or press release may be more apparent to them than to other bloggers, so it is imperative to stay on your game.

Finally, they bloggers active on the web. Most update their blog several times a week.  This means that they care about their blog and spend quite a bit of time online. They know what is going on in their industry, and they are savvy. Hopefully this sheds some light on who exactly is behind the computer screen.

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Finding Someone to Catch

From the last post, we saw that having a genuine knowledge and interest in the blog you are sending your pitch to is a top priority. In conjunction, you should know what information you want to get out, but who exactly are you supposed to send your pitches to? Are they the ones you or your company personally likes? Or are they the most popular blogs? What other things do you need to consider?

Arik Hanson,  from Communication Conversations,  says to come up with a list of blogs to send your pitch to.  The best way to do this is to research your potential audience, and Hanson provides some good preliminary tips. He proposes to use Google, check blogger rankings on Technorati, find out who they write about and who writes about them, and to use other statistical research methods. If you follow his ideas, you will find yourself with a fairly concise list of well written and established blogs you want to send your pitch to. These blogs tend to be well trusted in the industry as well. Using these instructions will also give you a vast amount of information about your blogger that will help you establish a genuine relationship with them.

According to  public relations business owner Lisa Gerber’s PR/Blogger Relations Manifesto,  communicators need to share and understand the goals you and your blogger have. These tips are good to see if you and your target are compatible in starting and maintaining a prosperous relationship. She also wants practitioners to understand that the total audience is not the most important thing.  The active audience that will act upon and spread the message is.  The whole point of finding the right blogger is to have people  who see the message actually do something about it.  This means really finding information on the author.  Of course, that takes time, because not only are you examining what they do, you are examining who they are.

Categories: Blogger, Pitch

How to Throw a Perfect Pitch

Pitching to a blogger takes time to develop, like a slow 66mph curve from Livan Hernandez

Despite observing a Nationals pitching staff that was anything but perfect in baseball this past year, I have seen enough to know how to throw at least a good pitch to bloggers. Just like in baseball, there should be a camaraderie between pitchers and catchers in the blogosphere, and there’s never been a time when this relationship has been so important.  So how are you supposed to develop that kind of relationship? Well, maybe the best way to explain what to do is to explain what not to do.

Don’t do what Rob Bresnahan did by trying to slip his pitches past bloggers without getting to know his bloggers. Bresnahan sent generic news releases advertising products to The Bad Pitch Blog through an automated distribution program.  This is absolutely the wrong way to be sending out your pitches.  It lacks personalization and authenticity, two things that I’ll discuss later that bloggers want to see.  The recipient of these not only turned Rob down, but used Rob as an example of a bad pitchman on the very blog Bresnahan was pitching to! Some small time writers will certainly recite a press release for you, but according to promoter Adam Ritchie,  in comments from PR professionals on how to pitch, many top bloggers will not copy and paste them for you.  He also says to offer different options for the blogger to address the story by adding things like a YouTube clip or another piece of media.  Richie comments that some small time writers will certainly recite a press release for you, but you can only do that a few times as even they will get tired of that shallow style of news reporting. Times have changed, and companies can’t just send out a seemingly anonymous message out there expecting it to stick.

So what are communicators supposed to do? For starters, Todd Defren gives some tips on what to think about when talking to bloggers. Many of these involve knowing their tendencies in order to interact with them better. These will help you write  some of the best pitches,  personable pitches. Author, blogger, and business owner, Geoff Livingston shows off a great one on his blog.  The practitioner clearly knows what the blog is about, shares common interests, and actually offers something of value to Livingston.  Right off the bat, this pitch has a much better chance of seeing the public because there is an instant bond.  Like a good relationship, it’s authentic.

Authenticity is stressed in every aspect of PR,  and now more than ever does it seem as though pitches need to feel that way. Learning about the blog, the blogger, and offering them mutual benefits are key. It shows that there is a true interest in the author of the blog, and that you aren’t just using them as a means to an end.  By being involved and interested in the blogger you are pitching to, you are not only helping your company get a particular pitch out there, but you are helping establish a mutually beneficial relationship for the future as well. Just like Livan Hernandez’s (above) sluggish curve-ball, these relationships take time to develop, so be patient, do your research, and be genuine in order to offer up the best, most effective pitches.

Categories: Blogger, Pitch
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