Ready, Set, Pitch!
WHO: Your Brand
WHAT: Pitching an Idea to Bloggers
WHERE: Email, Phone, In Person
WHY: To Gain Online Coverage from a Key Influencer
HOW: (See below)
When trying to pitch an idea to bloggers, you may someday ask yourself, “How did I get myself into this?” It can be intimidating the first time you try it. Just remember, though, that independent and corporate bloggers have a large influence in spreading the word about particular products or services, so a carefully planned effort will be rewarded if your pitch is a success.
As you begin formulating your approach for discussing an idea with bloggers, just think about your technique as if you were trying to develop a good-standing business relationship with someone. You aren’t going to jump in their face, yell your name and what you do (all while jumping up and down trying to get their attention) and expect good results. Instead, you will most likely want to develop a positive relationship by establishing genuine communications that harbor trust and respect.
When focusing on putting your name out into the blogosphere, you also want to make sure you’re talking to the right audience. You wouldn’t want to develop a business relationship, for example, with someone in the deep sea fishing industry if you were a designer of sexy heels, would you? In the same line of thinking, you want to be specific about which bloggers you attempt to contact.
To gauge the relevance of a prospective blog, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this blog have an online influence in my industry?
- Does this blog have an offline influence in my industry?
- How large is the blog’s following?
- How active is the blog?
All of these questions will help you determine if the blogger is a key influencer in your market. If the person has an active blog that has a large influence with plenty of people looking to them for advice, this is the blogger you want to go after. Furthermore, there will likely be more than one blogger fitting this description, so consider reaching out to them as well.
To help me as I evaluate similar possibilities, I use a social media monitoring platform that determines the social influencers for my targeted industries. However, if you are willing to devote some time, you can track down these influencers yourself. I suggest you try to find an influential person in magazines, newspapers or just in general from your industry and see if they have a blog. You may be surprised to learn that many times, they will!
Be sure to spend time looking around at different blogs. Find some with regular posts, plenty of reader interactions (comments), and a writing style that is appropriate for your product or service.
Once you have identified a few prospective blogs, you can begin building blogger relationships. Here’s how:
- Read their blogs. Do your homework. Genuine flattery is always a way to get on a person’s good side, and what better way to flatter a blogger than to talk about their posts.
- Comment. Be transparent and honest. Comment about the blog posts, not yourself. This is the beginning of your relationship, so it’s important to comment enough for the blogger to recognize you when they see your interactions. That way, when you reach out to these individuals, it won’t appear completely out of the blue.
- Reach out and touch someone. Okay, don’t really touch them; just contact the blogger. Introduce yourself, what you do, how much you like their blog (remember, flattery goes a long way), and how you would like to have a conversation with them sometime. Email and phone calls are fine, but if you’re able to set up an in-person introduction, that’s even better!
- Keep it flowing. You want to stay in front of the blogger. Keep commenting, and meet with them at conventions or for lunch. Mention how you would love for them to review your product, and go ahead and ship it to them. Just be prepared—not all reviews or blogs will be just as you imagined. Have a plan in place on what your action will be if the review goes south.
- Say “Thank You.” If the blogger takes the time to write about your product or company, use the magic words you were taught as a child and say “Thank You.” Personally speaking, I find that a handwritten thank you note is more memorable and makes a better impression than an email.
You’re not going to get a “yes” every single time you approach a blogger, so be politely persistent. Make the extra effort because if you do, you’ll eventually get those bloggers buzzing about your brand.