Everyone wants to know the secret formula to pitching blogs. The secret is it takes more than pitching.
You need to get immersed in the topic you’re pitching and be able to expand the conversation. This requires a deeper level of subject matter expertise than media relations folk usually have time to establish.
Many agencies have practitioners doing specific tasks across several accounts -- account execs make the phone calls and send the emails. The team in the trenches is focused on pitching -- not the bigger picture that includes the story.
As blog-savvy firms forge ahead, here are six questions you should be able to answer in the affirmative before you start pitching a blog. Have you...
- Read more than the most recent post of the blog?
- Searched the blog for your client or relevant product/service/industry terms to see if they are even covered?
- Subscribed to the blog’s RSS feed or e-mail delivery to make it easier to follow and to boost their audience metrics?
- Left a comment on the blog that continues the discussion and is unrelated to your pitch?
- Looked for posts and links from their home page telling you if/how the blog author likes to receive information?
- Sent the blog author an email unrelated to your pitch?
Does this read like a lot of work? If your news doesn’t merit this level of effort, don’t pitch it to a blog. This will eliminate a few of the irrelevant news releases many blogs receive.
If you answered no to any of the above, you may need to ramp up your approach to mainstream media first. Here are four tips.
- Send a reporter a story idea or lead that has nothing to do with your client. It builds the relationship and turns you into a source increasing the odds you’ll be sought out for a story.
- Set up a Google News Alert on a specific reporter to follow their work more closely.
- Seek out a reporter on Slideshare, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or Twitter to learn more about them and connect with them as relevant. Just make sure it’s in context. Do NOT pitch a reporter using these channels. It’s skeevy.
- Study up on current events…news is media relations jet fuel.
Does this read like a lot of work? Well new rules require new tools. And as more and more bloggers extend the olive branch, the price of a bad pitch is increasing -- less coverage, whiny bloggers and angry clients.