May 6, 2013

Blogger outreach is more PR than social media

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Discover and engage your allies with long-tail blogger outreach

Chris AbrahamThe current catch-all these days for what I do is ‘social media’. Unfortunately, when what you do is described as such, people tend to think FacebookTwitterPinterest, and maybe Google+. My expertise, however, is online community outreach and engagement. Back in 2006, I developed a strategy of blogger outreach that allowed me to reach out to more than just 25 top-tier bloggers by hand but to 2,500-5,000 bloggers.

I have always called this long-tail blogger outreach — though I would love your help with choosing a new name for it — because it focuses on the B-Z-list bloggers, the online influencers who are often overlooked by most social media teams at digital agencies.

While I agree that the top-25-50 bloggers do deserve deep, long-term, and personal engagement, spending that sort of time, over time, on “everyone else” would take all the time in the universe. So, what my team and I developed is the equivalent of blogger-brand speed dating. Continue reading

June 28, 2012

Integrity is inherent in earned media but not paid

http://www.mindjumpers.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Sk%C3%A6rmbillede-2011-11-23-kl.-5.02.52-PM.pngChris AbrahamYesterday I wrote a post called Blogger outreach is earned media not paid, right? wherein I asked if earned media was a think of the past and whether payola, pay-per-post, pay-per-link, sponsored posts, and site sponsorship were the new de facto in digital PR. This morning, Gail Gardner wrote a post in response, accusing us digital PR professional of stealing from bloggers since we agencies do get paid for doing blogger outreach only to “talk bloggers into working for free” on our behalf:

These companies want to argue they deserve “earned” media coverage when what they are really doing is BUYING that awareness by paying PR agencies to go out and sell it for them. They aren’t earning it by some good deed or being awesome – they are spending money to get a PR agency to talk bloggers into working for free on their behalf.

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 15, 2011

Why are you so afraid of engaging bloggers?

Tips for how your agency or firm should do outreach the right way

http://milkandcuddles.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Rosie_The_Blogger.jpgChris AbrahamUnlike a few years ago, today everyone at least pays lip service to reaching out to bloggers, the same way that PR people have always reached out to mainstream media. That’s what my company, Abraham-Harrison, does and lots of other companies try to do it, too. But I am still surprised that many companies don’t do blogger outreach, even today. My conclusion is that what is holding them back is fear. Simply put, blogger outreach is scary.

And it’s not a completely irrational fear. It is true that bloggers are unpredictable and we all know, thanks to posts by the Consumerist and the Bad Pitch Blog, that one false move and you’re public mincemeat. Publicly shamed, drawn, quartered and, finally, drummed out of the corps.

We all know this, except that it isn’t so. The biggest faux pas that most agencies commit when they test the waters with blogger outreach has less to do with the natural meanness of the bloggers  and more to do with the behavior of the agencies. In many cases, the bad experiences that many agencies blame on the rudeness of the blogger is square on the agency’s shoulders.

It is a case of the abuser blaming the victim, the blogger.

In truth, the blogger often has no context for a PR outreach, has never been part of the publicity machine, and often doesn’t know what’s expected, what proper and improper behavior is, and most often is just behaving naturally and not part of some insidious cabal aimed at defaming you or your brand or your personal reputation. Continue reading