PR: Building Blogger Relations Is No Easy Task

Sometimes in marketing and in particular public relations, we learn through trial and error, not only the stories and activities that would grab peoples’ attention but also what can simply fall flat as a flapjack.
With that said, one sure way of realizing success is by being open and comfortable with feedback.
Let me tell you a little story about what happened to me this summer.
The Start
journeyWhen I was hired by CEO Jeff Goronkin to be the marketing director for his start-up, one of my first tasks was to create a strategic marketing plan. This was quite the undertaking. Of course, my second task was to carry that plan out and make it happen. Pressure!
One section of the strategic plan involves reaching technology and marketing bloggers to try and garner some play online. I figured we could work to get ourselves interviewed by some big named bloggers (think Penn-Olson!!!) and really make a name for ourselves in the tech community.
I was excited about this project and immediately began crafting a press release because, well, that’s what I’ve always done when pitching traditional news media. I snagged a list of top notch bloggers (thanks to Guy Kawasaki) and went to town contacting each and every one.
I figured that pitching to bloggers had to be somewhat similar to pitching traditional media, but in this case there would be no phone calls placed to schmooze editors and reporters because the online community prefers communicating online!
My ace in the hole has always been personal connection. So I began a generic email and attached my press release.
Some bloggers were very kind, probably too kind. Others, however, really gave it to me. I’ll never forget when one told me to take my release and shove it. At first I became defensive, and wrote back messages defending myself. Then I listened and heard what they were trying to point out.
They have different rules
blogThis was not the world of journalism, but rather the world of blogging and different rules applied.
Most bloggers said the press release and email were too formal and they really just wanted to get to know me and about my company. So, I changed my tactic. I started to provide them reflective feedback about their blogs, give them information about my endeavor and then took the extra step of “friending” them on Facebook.
Basically, I personalized the whole experience, which was my strong suit in the first place.
The blogging community can be an excellent place to share your story. However, take a page out of my book on your tactic. Spend some time and really check out the blog you are pitching and then make your correspondence personal. At the very least you’ll make some new business contacts, maybe a few friends and a chance to create lots of buzz.

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