Yesterday’s op-ed writers are today’s bloggers. These are people with a passion and opinions. Your communication outreach strategy should definitely include developing relationships with one or more blogs that cover your industry or topic area. Bloggers are people too, but here’s some insight into how to make good connections.
Keep in mind that most bloggers aren’t journalists or employees; they have built a following by keeping their readers interested, informed, and engaged. Just like traditional media journalists, they don’t like to be deceived and they definitely don’t like you to waste their time.
First impressions count.
If you get it right, you’ll create relationships you can count on again and again. Know the person you are contacting and what they cover in a very detailed way. Don’t pitch auto mechanics to a blog for mom’s of infants, even though, in general, the blog may have an occasional post about cars (such as how to properly install an infant car seat.)
Use the bloggers first name. Write a friendly email that acknowledges that they are people – ask about the weather, their weekend, or their reaction to a current event. Also refer to one or more posts they have written to make it clear you have taken time to get to know the blog.
No hard sells.
Explain briefly why you think you would be a good fit for each other – but don’t make a hard product pitch at this point. No one is going to die if you and a blogger don’t make a connection so keep everything in perspective.
Create and maintain a relationship. If you’re just planning to treat blogger outreach as a one-off activity, then you’re wasting your time. You need to create ongoing dialogue with each blogger. You will find that each pitch becomes easier once a relationship is established.
Don’t be a control freak.
Bloggers treasure their independence. Remember, blogger outreach is about relationships; you need to influence — not control — bloggers, just like they influence their followers. Don’t ask if you can approve blog posts before they are published. One way to have more control over posts is to offer to write a guest post. Every blogger needs to fill some editorial space now and again. If you get the green light be respectful; write in a way that will fit with the style of the blog and avoid being too promotional.