Reaching Bloggers

Even blogs with a relatively small readership like mine have become the new holy grail of marketers because of the fact that the audience is so targeted to a particular niche. While a mention from an A-list blogger is certainly a coup, sometimes you can be even more effective by getting your message out through smaller blogs that have the very specific audience you want to reach, making up for quantity with quality.

I often get emails from PR firms, publishers, and individuals with something to promote asking me to cover their product/book/website/etc. on my blog. Sometimes I will immediately say yes because it’s clear that the information is of interest to me and/or my readers (and hopefully both).

Other times the pitch is so poorly done that it’s a waste of my time and theirs. It’s clear that they have no clue what I write about even though they say that they love my blog. Or they send me email after email to try to convince me of the merits of their product.

Blogger relations has emerged as a tactic of its own, similar to media relations but not the same. Bloggers generally do not consider themselves journalists, so a somewhat different and more informal set of guidelines apply from standard media outreach practice. But that doesn’t mean that your approach doesn’t matter. In fact, you may need to put more time into cultivating blogger contacts — it’s all about building relationships.

Others have created excellent lists of suggestions for how to pitch bloggers (see Toby, CK and Rohit), as well as examples of what not to do, so I am not going to cobble together my own list here.

The folks over at Ogilvy have recently developed a Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics, and they are asking for feedback to help refine it. Here it is:

  • We reach out to bloggers because we respect your influence and feel that we might have something that is “remarkable” which could be of interest to you and/or your audience.
  • We will only propose blogger outreach as a tactic if it complements our overall strategy. We will not recommend it as a panacea for every social media campaign.
  • We will always be transparent and clearly disclose who we are and who we work for in our outreach email.
  • Before we email you, we will check out your blog’s About, Contact and Advertising page in an effort to see if you have blatantly said you would not like to be contacted by PR/Marketing companies. If so, we’ll leave you alone.
  • If you tell us there is a specific way you want to be reached, we’ll adhere to those guidelines.
  • We won’t pretend to have read your blog if we haven’t.
  • In our email we will convey why we think you, in particular, might be interested in our client’s product, issue, event or message.
  • We won’t leave you hanging. If your contact at Ogilvy PR is going out of town or will be unreachable, we will provide you with an alternate point of contact.
  • We encourage you to disclose our relationship with you to your readers, and will never ask you to do otherwise.
  • You are entitled to blog on information or products we give you in any way you see fit. (Yes, you can even say you hate it.)
  • If you don’t want to hear from us again, we will place you on our Do Not Contact list – which we will share with the rest of the Ogilvy PR agency.
  • If you are initially interested in the campaign, but don’t respond to one of our emails, we will follow up with you no more than once. If you don’t respond to us at all, we’ll leave you alone.
  • Our initial outreach email will always include a link to Ogilvy PR’s Blog Outreach Code of Ethics.

It’s a great start, and I think it shows a great deal of respect for the bloggers they are contacting. I would suggest that they add that they will only contact a blogger after having read enough posts to determine whether their information or product is relevant to the topics that blogger writes about.

If you’re a blogger, or someone who wants to work with bloggers to get your messages out, what do you think of the code of ethics?

Photo Credit: ~Aphrodite

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1 Comment

  1. Great post. As a blog that is trying to build relationships with other likeminded sites, the tips that you posted are very handy!

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