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4 common blogger outreach mistakes

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Mommy Blogger OutreachI had the opportunity to hang out with a number of prominent and well-respected local mommy/lifestyle bloggers a couple weeks ago at a client event. During the course of the evening, we talked about everything from day jobs to families to brushing our teeth. Of course, we also talked a little blogging.

And, I did a whole bunch of listening. Why? Because it’s interesting to hear how these women feel about all the pitches and ideas that are sent their way by PR folks just like me each day.

Some of the bloggers were more interested in chronicling their kids’ lives through their blogs while others were interested in analytics.

But, I think I heard them all agree on one thing throughout the course of the evening: They all wanted to be treated fairly, honestly and like real people.

Overall, blogger outreach isn’t really all that tough. But, we tend to make it harder than it has to be. As I’ve said many times, the key isn’t “pitching” the blogger. It’s about finding what makes them tick. Giving them opportunities to participate in your brand experience. And, solving their problems and helping them out.

But, regardless, there are still PR folks out there treating bloggers like vehicles that merely exist for them to reach their key audiences. With that in mind, I thought I’d share four common blogger outreach missteps–and a few ideas on how you might improve your approach:

* Not getting personal enough. Most bloggers write about what they’re passionate about. Kids, families, hobbies. Whatever the topic, it’s usually very personal. And, it’s something they care deeply about. So, in addition to just getting to know the blogger and reading a few posts, find out what they really care about. That’s a notion I hear come through loud-and-clear when I listen to bloggers talk about how they like to be approached by PR folks. Get more personal in your outreach–not less.

* Asking the blogger to write about your client. Not necessarily true in all cases, but too many times I’ve heard of PR folks pitching a blogger by saying, I see you write about X, you should really write about my client and their X product/service. Take a step back and think about what you just wrote. Would you want to write about your client with a pitch like that? Make sure you think long and hard about what’s in it for the blogger before you send your note. Remember, they want to be treated like people–just like you. Respect that. They’re not reporters. They don’t get paid to report on your client or their products and services. Most bloggers are just people who are writing about something they care about deeply. Think through your pitch in that context and you’re sure to come up with a more meaningful angle. And if not, don’t send the pitch.

* Not making it relevant. Maybe you’re working for a restaurant chain and you’re targeting mommy bloggers to come for a visit for a special event you’re holding for key customers. You probably don’t want to blanketedly target all the mommy bloggers in that area–you want to focus on those who love good food. With a little digging, that shouldn’t be too hard to find. Again, focus on their passions and make the “pitch” relevant to the blogger.

* Not personalizing your approach. This mistake dovetails a bit with #1 above, but not personalizing your approach is a cardinal sin of blogger outreach. You send a spam email to a blogger and you’re sure to either get laughed at, instantly deleted or publicly outed–none of which is good. Instead, why not mention a recent post in your initial email? Check their Twitter stream and talk about an issue or concern they were recently dealing with. Watch who they interact with and the topics they’re discussing. All this will allow you to really personalize your email.

Photo courtesy of mlibrarianus via FlickR Creative Commons

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4 common blogger outreach mistakes

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