Pitching to bloggers means building relationships

In my previous post, I wrote about BlogSquirrel about which I received a press release on Wednesday.

This was the third press release I’ve had in as many weeks from companies pitching their services to business bloggers. While I don’t mind getting unsolicited press releases like this (well, I say that when the volume is still single digit), I do get the impression that they’re a little of "let’s send this out to some bloggers" rather than part of a planned PR exercise.

Not only that, what I’ve got in each case are Word attachments. Come on, guys! If you’re going to do this, do it properly. Sending out your press release as a file attachment would usually be a guarantee that it will never be read – click ‘delete’ if I even read your covering email.

If you want to get business bloggers’ attention, my advice would be to develop a relationship with them. Visit their blogs, get a sense of what they (the bloggers and the blogs) are about. Strike up a conversation with them, either by posting comments or by email, or both. Treat them like the journalists you build relationships with. It’s called media relations.

Let the bloggers know where they can sign up for your press releases. Best of all – if you offer your press releases as RSS feeds, you’re almost guaranteed to get attention to your story.

It may all be a longer process than you want to spend time on, but relationship-building will reap dividends for you.

And one important additional point. While you should treat business blogs as you would media blogs in the
sense of media relations, don’t expect the same kind of reporting you’d
usually see as a result of media relations.

I’m more than happy to write about a product or service in my blog if I think it’s an interesting topic. If I do as a result of getting a press release, or having some conversations, I’ll mention that as I did with the BlogSquirrel item. That’s crucial for blogger credibilty and trust.

11 thoughts on “Pitching to bloggers means building relationships

  1. I got the same release, and sent an email back asking when the link to the release would be live (I couldn’t find it when I looked) and advising the sender (the President/CEO) that I don’t open attachments and that sending such is bad PR practice.
    I also asked how Blog Squirrel was different and/or better from the variety of free tools out there for tracking. Finally, I offered to test it vs. the tools I already use.
    I haven’t heard back…yet.

  2. Elizabeth, I bet they sent that press release to every blogger listed in the ‘Headlines from PR Weblogs’ list.
    Looking at the CyberAlert website just now, I see that the press release still isn’t listed on the site. Adds to my thought that this probably was very much a “let’s send this out to some bloggers” type of thing. But a Word attachment!
    Mind you, it has resulted in blogger coverage, as evidenced by our conversation here and other mentions of BlogSquirrel I’ve seen on other blogs!

  3. Not to mention, when they blanket ALL of the PR bloggers blindly and we all report on it, it creates the stereotype that all we do is blog about, um, blogging.
    I considered blogging it, but stopped for that reason…not to mention the poorly named service.

  4. Agree with you, guys.
    An example of pitch bloggers good practice:
    I’ve been invited to attend a conference in Zaragoza, Spain. The organization explained that they are inviting bloggers because they want to keep the discussion open -which means create a relation.
    They are inviting mainstream media, of course, but know that one day coverage won’t meet their goals completely, because the conference is part of a bigger project.
    For me, this is a good lesson of how to pitch bloggers.
    Actually, most of the bloggers that are invited have already post something about the conference.

  5. Yes, I too got the press release, and did blog on it.
    But, I used it as a platform to note other such services, and that Factiva was getting into the game as well.

  6. I think this is the tip of the iceberg re pitching bloggers. And while only 3 (in my case) poorly-pitched stories is by no means either a quantitative or qualitative measure, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the experience other have had so far as well.
    I’m not suggesting for a minute that my blog, for example, is on a par with a professionally-run media blog. It’s not. Yet I suspect that blogs like ours are beginning to attract some interest simply because we all write about PR and other communication-related business topics and, therefore, may be pereceived in a similar way to how media are perceived: a channel to market.
    So, potentially, we should expect more such pitches. Hopefully, not as poorly done as this example. Mind you, that was directly from the company’s CEO. I certainly would have expected greater professionalism if it had come from the PR agency.
    Or is that a really naive view?

  7. I got it too but it’s a terrible pitch and badly executed so didn’t write about it. Dangerous business pitching stories to PRs!! On a hiding to nothing there.

  8. Pitching Bloggers: Right Way/Wrong Way

    There have been a number of articles written about how to pitch bloggers to get your story/product noticed. Robert Scoble, author of Scoble’s Corporate Blogging Manifesto, recently illustrated the right way and wrong way to pitch a blogger….

  9. That’s disappointing, Elizabeth. I’ll bet this company’s now high on your list of those you’d definitely want to look on favourably in the future… 🙂

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