We can identify and contact bloggers on any given subject in minutes. We can quickly and easily scan their blogs to see if their content is relevant and we can use tools like Technorati or BlogPulse to try and gauge their influence, but do we stop to understand the blog?
Two separate conversations this week have led me to believe that the Internet has spoilt us and has put unrealistic expectations into our heads. Two different marketing/PR folks were in touch asking my opinion on undertaking blog relations. Both saw the value of blog relations, but wanted to know how they could pull together an outreach campaign quickly. Both mentioned they were under time pressures. You see, given you can find anything online quickly, you can communicate quickly, well then you must be able to communicate well quickly. It’s the Hare’s approach to online PR. The reality is somewhat different.
Rather than racing to throw some bloggers into the e-mail hopper, I believe you would be better advised to follow the tortoise’s example. Take a deep breath, slow down and let that wonder of millions of years of evolution, your brain, take over from the speed of the Internet. If you really want to effectively pitch bloggers, then just like journalists you need to identify them, understand their audience, understand their policy on PR pitches and then tailor your pitch to effectively communicate with them.
With some trepidation, I am going to dissent from this. Certainly you want to understand the writers, journalists or bloggers, you are pitching to; but ultimately it is about readers. Think about who you want to reach, not just which publications and/or blogs they read, but why they read them. I try to have a specific person in mind when I write a press release and imagine them sitting at their computer looking for information or interesting tidbits. It is easier to write lively copy if you have a specific reader in mind.