Bloggers: They’re real people too.

by Sharp | November 10, 2011

A couple of months ago I came across an interesting article on a blogger event gone awry. I won’t go into too much detail—as it’s been covered to death—but essentially, a very big brand invited several food bloggers to what was supposed to be a new underground Italian restaurant for a four-course meal prepared by celebrity chef George Duran. In a classic bait-and-switch move that did not go over well, the bloggers were actually served Marie Callender’s frozen lasagna. I cringe when thinking about the backlash…

Being 2011—nearly 2012, blogs should no longer be considered strange, new media horizons. As with any type of outlet (magazine, newspaper, broadcast), there is a way in which journalists, editors, producers and yes, even bloggers prefer to be contacted. One important and obvious form of approach to note is that of honesty. Knowing how to interact and present newsworthy information to these contacts is what separates a good public relations practitioner from a bad one.

Just as with trusted reporters, many bloggers have a strong following too. Their readers have come to rely on their opinions, tastes, styles—and many post coverage daily, making them regular go-to sources for news and inspiration. Since bloggers have carved out such a relevant space for themselves in the media world, I thought I’d post my Top 5 Do’s when connecting with these new media authorities.

  1. Do Your Research: Yes, this is PR 101—but I think so often there is a tendency to look no further than the title of the blog you’re pitching to. For instance, not all food bloggers cover food products. Many food blogs actually serve as “live” cookbooks for the writer and readers. Unless the product is incredibly new and different, save your pitch for a blogger who cares.
  2. Offer Something New: Don’t assume bloggers are desperate for content. They’re not on anyone’s editorial calendar but their own—and there is a whole world of news out there. Are you offering up a new product for review? Does it come along with an expert interview? A hosting opportunity for a virtual event? Put yourself in the bloggers’ shoes and ask yourself why you would consider covering this topic.
  3. Be Personal: Bloggers know the difference between an email blast from a personal note, and this extra step can go a long way. It’s helpful to mention a recent post they wrote and explain why you think they would be interested in what you have to offer.
  4. Simplify: Blog posts do not tend to be written as formally as newspaper or magazine articles. Thus, sending a lengthy press release to a blogger with little explanation is not helpful to them. It’s helpful to bring up the points they would find important in an upfront email followed by the full release.
  5. Break Bread: If you really want to get a better understanding of the blogosphere, create a blog of your own. By joining the club, you are actively participating in the conversation and building relationships with other online influencers.
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