December 14, 2011

Social media success demands talent above technology

http://a1.mzstatic.com/us/r1000/033/Purple/93/9a/4a/mzl.jyuhnpck.175x175-75.jpgChris AbrahamIn response to The Social Media News Release explained in detail, Jonathan Rick asked me, “Isn’t this essentially the same thing that Pitch Engine offers?” Jason Kintzler then added, “Yes Jonathan, exactly! Did I mention you can do it all for free?!” (See Socialmedia.biz’s earlier writeup on PitchEngine: A social PR platform for the new era.)

Well, my response is the topic of this post today: “The article is only about the what and why of the Social Media News Release and not the how. Pitch Engine is a how!” I then added, “Pitch Engine doesn’t take away the work: writing/collecting compelling copy and assets. You do that work” and then “Our SMNR is just a platform and structure. 90% of one’s time should be spent writing amazing content” and then, finally, “Installing WordPress, an amazing platform, does not an amazing blog make; Pitch Engine is amazing but content is king.”

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December 7, 2011

The Social Media News Release explained in detail

http://www.wiretiger.com/images/press_release_distribution.jpgChris AbrahamLast week I dissected a blogger outreach pitch email line-by-line in Detailed analysis of the perfect blogger pitch as a way of proving that no matter how brief and conversational one of Abraham Harrison‘s blogger pitches may appear at first blush, the effortlessness takes a lot of work and the time of three senior agents. Today I plan to go through, line by line, a site we create to support all of our blogger outreach campaigns. You can call it a Social Media News Release (SMNR) or a microsite, a resource site, or a fact sheet. To those of you who are in communications, you’ll recognize the structural similarity between it and a traditional news release or press release.

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October 12, 2011

Real bloggers and real blogs always trump Robot Armies

robot army

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 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