I don’t need to say how important bloggers are in modern communications, but if you have any doubts I picked up the following stats from the Future Buzz blog:
- 133,000,000 – number of blogs indexed by Technorati since 2002
- 346,000,000 – number of people globally who read blogs (comScore March 2008)
- 900,000 – average number of blog posts in a 24 hour period (seems a bit low)
- 77% – percentage of active Internet users who read blogs
This naturally presents a golden opportunity to convey your message. And if you have a very sector specific target audience there is bound to be a multitude of blogs that will cover the topic.
Yet, I still hear of companies and agencies that go about pitching the wrong way.
It is certainly harder to pitching to bloggers than a journalist (although there can be a correlation).
The media needs stories. The media relies on PRs to supply those stories / interviewees on a regular basis, it has a continuous appetite. A relationship with a journalist is very helpful but not essential for getting your release or article published.
A blogger does not need a PRs’ stories, of course they need material but that can come from a number of sources. A blogger might post every day, week, month – there is not the same pressure generally to deliver content. Gaining coverage with a blogger relies far more on relationships.
It is a different dynamic: a journalist is paid to generate content for an organisation, a blogger tends to be working for him or herself, often for nothing, and they can relate to their blog in a very personal way.
(With way over 100 million blogs these observations can be nothing but generalisations, there are bound to be exceptions but I think they are rough guidelines nevertheless).
For me the key difference is that I can pitch to a media channel whether I have or not in the past worked with them, it is not too important if I have a good idea or subject – I would not do the same with a blogger.
The key, I believe, to taping into the blogosphere is spending the time to develop relationships, learn about individual blogs.
Use Twitter to initiate a conversation. Better still if your client has a blog leave (relevant insightful) comments on the target blog. It will help show you have some knowledge of social media, which will help gain acceptance, it will show interest and it might make the blogger feel that they are obliged to reciprocate. It is a first step in the pitching process.
So, for me, it is the conversation before that really counts. Of course you might contact them directly and succeed with a brazen salesy press release, but you might be deleted as spam more likely.
And remember, if you have developed a reputation though social media or indeed traditional media then you might find that you are pulling in interest from bloggers.
This all takes time and that is where it goes wrong: PRs and clients don’t often have the luxury of time.