These were the words that Jason Falls said during a panel discussion at Blog World Expo 2008. Now let me give this a little context…
This was a panel consisting of Jason, Chris Brogan, Lee Odden and Brian Solis. Three guys who know a little something about blogging/PR/Marketing…just click on the links above to visit their sites and you’ll see what I mean.
Someone in the audience asked a question about PR professionals pitching bloggers, and what these guys would recommend on how to approach this. Everyone gave a good answer with sound advice, but what Jason blew me away…pretty sure it caught a lot of PR ppl in the crowd (about 85% of the hundred gathered) off guard. The gist of it was this….
If you are a PR professional and practice the “Spray & Pray” method with pitching bloggers, you better rethink that approach. I hope I am getting this right-> “If you send out 1,200 BCC’d emails you’re an idiot.”
About a year before Blog World, I was that guy…I mail-merged the crap out of press releases to countless blogs…so great, when Jason uttered those words, I had to think if I was one of those people that may have sent him something…(I hadn’t…phew)
There are a lot of PR professionals that look at bloggers the same way they look at “traditional” reporters, and this could potentially prove disastrous. What could be worse than a blogger deleting your pitch? They could post it on their blog, in it’s entirety, and use it as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO. I have seen a couple bloggers who got so tired of PR people blasting them with nonsense, that their name, email address, the name of their agency, phone numbers all were posted with a message to the rest of us to see -[DON'T DO THIS!] if you want to see some examples, just Google Bad PR Pitches
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to chat with bloggers and find out a couple of the best practices in pitching them…
* Familiarize yourself with the blog -
Read posts other than just the latest, and see if what you want to pitch even makes sense to the overall tone of the blog
* Just because they might write about a certain topic doesn’t mean they could care less about what you are selling…even if is the same thing -
Best way to find out…just ask them if they’d be interested in receiving pitches (look on the blog first to see if they have that stated on there already so you don’t look like a jackass)
* Some bloggers will have Editorial Calendars (you should know what this is) on their blogs, or may preview upcoming posts -
Look for these so part of your lead (if they are interested) so you can show you are familiar with their blog and what they are talking about
* Engage them -
Look for ways to engage the blogger outside of pitching your stories…Comment on their blog posts, and if they are other social platforms, follow them and build on the relationship that way as well…this will show them that you are interested in them as a person and not just a way to get your story out there.
Now here is the key to all of this…BE GENUINE! If you aren’t willing to put in the time into building a relationship, then your news isn’t worth pitching. If you feel that it is, then take the time to build a relationship. You don’t need to take them out for dinner and drinks (that could follow though, ) in order to do this.
Now, I realize that this sounds like a lot of work, but it is worth it. I PROMISE IT IS WORTH IT. Granted, there have been times that I have had to hold off sending a release to a blogger…I’ve had to at least introduce myself and what I had to offer and see if they were interested.
Sadly, PR professionals are like apples…one bad apple in the batch can ruin the rest. So don’t be a bad apple, because there are some good ones out there trying to do the right thing…so don’t be an idiot and ruin their work.