We’ve all heard it before: Media relations is rapidly changing and bloggers have become an emerging, more common source of news. In fact, blogs might even be the perfect outlet for sharing a client’s story, but how they function and expect to be contacted can often be misunderstood by PR pros. Since I began working at RLF, I have had the opportunity to work with bloggers on behalf of numerous clients, and have developed a few best practices along the way:
Research bloggers like you would journalists.
One of the first things we learn in PR is to always research a journalist before contacting him or her. The same rule applies to bloggers. Get a feel for what the blogger writes about by reading recent articles they’ve posted and glancing at their ‘about me’ page. For example, I conducted extensive research before asking mommy bloggers to review a children’s product for a client. In addition to reading recent articles and reviewing ‘about me’ pages, I made sure they were in the same geographic area where the product is sold, had children in the appropriate age range, and also looked into their reach and impressions to confirm that there would be a sound return on the client’s investment.
Use a more casual tone.
Bloggers don’t expect the same type of formality used when pitching reporters. They also don’t need a formal press release – they are simply looking for the facts. Many bloggers desire personal messages, rather than traditional pitches, which could include mention of a recent post they wrote on a topic similar to the one you’re sharing. I recently reached out to local mommy bloggers about a new product launch and used a conversational tone to engage my audience, as well as language that made it apparent that I understood their role as a mommy blogger.
Find out if your client will have to pay.
Many bloggers make a living off of earnings from their blogs and may ask for financial compensation in return for an honest product review, giveaway or shares on social media. Unlike traditional journalism, it’s not forbidden to provide financial compensation, and it may even be expected by some bloggers. It’s important to keep your client’s best interests in mind so always ask about the blog’s reach and target demographics before agreeing to a paid post. I have found that it’s best to always ask about financial compensation and what is included in a promoted post upfront so your client is never surprised about a cost.
In a profession that is always evolving, it’s essential to stay up-to-date about new outlets to share your client’s story. When it comes to blogs or other new media, I’ve learned the most important step in the media outreach process is research – make sure you have a deep understanding of the channel and the writer so that you can develop a strategy that best serves your client’s needs.
Photo courtesy of David Mulder’s Flickr photostream.