Bloggers (well-known and not so well-known) are prime influencers in your market. Although a blogger may not use your product or service, he or she may track influential trends, companies and events. Get on a blogger’s radar — and follow a few simple rules — and you can easily build a relationship and garner some favorable press.
So how do you win the ear of influential bloggers in your market? I put this question to Mary Sullivan of SHIFT Communications, a PR firm with offices in Boston, San Francisco and New York.
Sullivan is a senior account executive with the firm and the only PR person whose emails land in my Gmail Priority Inbox — which is saying a lot. I receive dozens of pitches each week, all of which end up in the “everything else” part of my inbox, which is basically the “delete without reading” section.
(Priority Inbox is Gmail’s relatively new tool that sorts your emails, separating the most important from the rest, based on your usage patterns. It’s what has motivated me to provide quality, targeted content — but that’s another post!)
According to Sullivan, your messages have to be targeted and genuine to get a blogger’s attention — as most of us are great BS detectors and can spot a “dash and blast” email a mile away. Sullivan recommends that you use whatever tools you have to customize each message to each individual blogger.
Yes, this means you actually have to get to know individual bloggers.
Because individual pitches take more time, Sullivan makes sure she’s cultivating the right bloggers. In deciding whom to pitch, she reads each blogger’s most recent posts and selects (or not) based on what she sees.
When she finds a blogger she wants to engage, her account team follows the blogger’s posts and looks for opportunities to comment and add value. Over time, she and the blogger develop a mutually beneficial relationship: She adds value to the blog by engaging in conversation, providing information, and even (indirectly) generating blog topic ideas. In return, the blogger learns more about the products or services Sullivan promotes and may choose to write about them.
Sullivan prefers Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn as relationship building tools for her B2B clients over Facebook.
What methods have you tried to win the attention of bloggers? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Leave your comment below.
Full disclosure: Neither Mary Sullivan or SHIFT Communications asked me to write this article nor was I paid to do so. Eloqua is SHIFT’s client. I have written and Tweeted about Eloqua’s content in the past because I think they produce content that’s relevant and helpful to marketers. (Especially loved their Wikipedia Grande Guide.)