November 29, 2011

Detailed analysis of the perfect blogger pitch

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Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Chris AbrahamOver the last five years that Abraham Harrison has been pitching bloggers on behalf of clients, we have learned a thing or two about how best to reach bloggers, how to engage them, how to get them to carry our client’s message to their readership. Whether we’re doing an outreach to the bloggers of mainstream media and celebrity blogs or to someone who has just set up a blog for the first time, it all begins with the message model. Continue reading

October 12, 2011

Real bloggers and real blogs always trump Robot Armies

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Chris AbrahamLast week, I talked about using the long tail of blogger outreach — the idea that you can’t pin your hopes for most public relations efforts on only the A-list bloggers. For each outreach, there are hundreds and often thousands of bloggers that are not well-known but have influence on the very people that your PR campaign is trying to reach.

I’ve written in the past about how to put bloggers first when you reach out to them, but today I want to make sure that you don’t see blogger outreach as a one-time, campaign-oriented approach but rather a relationship that lasts for years between you and each blogger. For blogger outreach to work on an ongoing basis, you need to be endlessly generous and endlessly appreciative. And the main way that you show your appreciation is to do as much of the work for them as possible.

You need to make sure you’ve set up the pitch and the campaign. Your message must be essential and clear enough that each blogger can potentially go from reading the email pitch to clicking the post button on their blog well within five minutes. Any more and we maybe get only a tweet or a Facebook Like.

We need to be clear in our email that we want a post and the pitch to be shared with the readers of the blog. In our social media news releases, we need to make sure that everything can be copied and pasted as-is, that images are the correct size, that the links are already embedded, that copy and text is simple to copy and block-quote and that any and all banner ads or videos have a handy and easy to find embed code right there.

One cannot assume any technical proficiency, one cannot assume any PR or communications experience, one cannot assume that any blogger knows any PR-speak or knows how to deal with an embargo. One cannot assume that anyone knows what a press release is, or a social media release or what PRWeb is or, heaven forbid, how to keep an embargoed message holy. Long story short, if the message in any way seems more complicated or time-consuming than each blogger fancies it’s worth, then you’ve lost them. Continue reading

September 28, 2011

How to pitch bloggers so they’ll post about you

http://mlblogsphilliesphollowers.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/lee.jpgChris AbrahamLast week I told you how not to pitch a blogger in your PR outreach, so it raises the pregnant question of what exactly should you do?

For about five years now we’ve seen an extraordinary number of clients and potential clients who have frankly been afraid of blogger outreach because of the poor practices of companies and brands that have stumbled in their attempts to engage the blogosphere. So today I wanted to walk through our process to show you how it’s done. Just how do you pitch a blogger?

First off, we see if we already know anyone. We know folks at the top tech blogs, so we give them first bite. By the time that shakes out, we’ll have a couple-few-thousand blogs to QA and sort out. While we’re seeing how the A-listers pan out, we develop a message model that is inclusive enough to not alienate any single blogger but specific enough that each blogger is completely clear as to who our client is and what we want from them (a post, a tweet, an embedded video, a review, etc). Continue reading

September 22, 2011

Either take your time commenting on blogs or get spamboxed

Chris AbrahamI must have impulse control issues. I posted the following on my corporate blog yesterday — Here’s how not to (spam) comment (spam) — because a comment spam broke by heart. The person who did it was 80% there, he just #failed where he could have maybe won me over (because my blogs don’t get a lot of comments and I am lonely and generally treat commenters — even shameless self-promoters — kindly since they’re all I have!)

So, while I have no problem spam-canning the really awful, clueless, ESL foreign and automated comments, this looked like it was at least copied and pasted by a human, “Raymond McLemore,” but then it just came off as too generic, too self-serving, and not nearly neighborly or generous enough.

He has nothing to add and the post wasn’t generous. It was dropped in with the single-minded aim at dropping a keyword link into my post via the comments, “Marketing Weekly,” using that as his Author name.

Continue reading

September 21, 2011

How not to treat bloggers and how not to pitch blogs

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_mbX7X5qGMrM/TTROLWnEGzI/AAAAAAAAAHc/t-wh7qZsGVU/s1600/angry-blogger-300x251.jpgChris AbrahamLast week, I talked about how blogger outreach is scary, and I talked about why this fear exists for most people before they start talking to bloggers. In great measure, these fears exist because of the horror stories that have resulted from wrong-headed approaches.

In the five years that we’ve been reaching out to bloggers, we’ve learned just as much about how not to pitch as we’ve learned about the right ways. The main thing to keep in mind is how you feel when you are on the receiving end of a misguided PR pitch. If you just stick with that mindset, you’ll avoid the lion’s share of pitching mistakes.

I have been getting pitches for my blog, Because the Medium is the Message, since 2004 or so. Now, Marketing Conversation gets loads of pitches as well. Some of the insulting things that abuse me to no end include sending your pitch to “Dear Blogger,” or to “Abraham” when my name is Chris Abraham and my partner’s name is Mark Harrison and there is no one named “Abraham Harrison” in my company. I can generally tell when a compliment is hollow: they’re either too general or way too recent and specific. It is very easy for even the least sophisticated of my fellow bloggers to sense sucking up or kissing up, especially if you haven’t done any homework or any research at all.

Also, if you don’t have your formatting sorted and it looks like you obviously copied and pasted back and forth and I can make out weird spacing and a strange mixture of fonts and sizes, I can tell you’re probably cutting corners and doing things carelessly and without concern for how I will perceive it — as though half-assed is all I am worth since I am not a Mashable or TechCrunch. People don’t like it when they can obviously tell that you’re going through the motions until something else better comes along. Bloggers will always call you out if they sense you’re just calling it in. Continue reading