November 10, 2008

Michael Martine is down to earth, insightful and one of my favorite blog coaches. Here’s his guest post on pitching bloggers without making them crazy.

If you’re in PR, there’s one thing you need to know about bloggers if you expect to actually get through to them: they take the “relations” part of public relations seriously. In fact, many bloggers feel that relations is just a shorthand for relationship, because relationships are what they’re all about.

But you don’t want relationships with hundreds of bloggers, you just want them to spread your message for your client. If that’s what you’re thinking, well, you’re working too hard. See, you don’t need to pitch to hundreds of bloggers. Save the form emails with the corp-speak message. Bloggers love to talk about “old media” and “new media” or anything 2.0. But one of the oldest rules in the book you still can’t ignore is still true: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

You can’t know hundreds of bloggers. But you can know a few of the right bloggers. The bloggers whom every other blogger links to. The bloggers whom every other blogger comments at. You can infiltrate them. Go undercover. Get on the inside. Once you’re in, you can get them to spread your client’s message.

Here’s how, step by step, the easy way:

  • Pick a few blogs in your target demographic that are popular, and that have authority and traffic.
  • Read them for a few days to get a feel for them.
  • Note the blogger’s social media profiles, and join those social media sites (don’t know how to use that stuff? Learn, or go home).
  • Interact with the blogger as though you were truly interested in friendship.
  • Comment on the blogger’s blog enough so that they interact with you and become familiar with your presence. Do not pitch or say anything related to your PR work. You are deep undercover. Don’t blow it.
  • Keep doing this for a while and interacting with your target bloggers on social media. Just be cool. Make sure you’re actually contributing something of value in these interactions, as though you cared.
  • Contact the blogger directly via email or contact form on the blog. Do not pitch. Remember, you’re infiltrating: just say hello and be slightly flattering.
  • After the blogger writes back, just have a normal conversation by email for a few rounds. If you’re ignored, leave a comment on the blog saying you had contacted them privately and that you hadn’t received a response, yet, even though it’s been X number of days. This should get you a personal response.
  • Have a genuine conversation with the blogger. That’s it. Do nothing else.
  • Wait a while, then do it again, but this time with a little more familiarity.
  • Send the blogger sexy pictures of hot supermodels. Just kidding, read the next step.
  • At some point, subtly mention that you have a link that may be of interest to the blogger’s readers, because you see parallels (or whatever). Put the link in the email.

Voila. Mission accomplished. In order to not arouse suspicion, continue to act like you’re a real friend for a while afterwards.
Hmm. After all that, you might as well have just been a real human being, been a real friend, in a real relationship with someone. Ah, well, I guess things really are changing. Maybe relations really does stand for relationships, nowadays.

Find Michael Martine on these sites:

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