As someone who both creates media plans for my own business, my clients and for the professional associations I am involved in, and someone who gets an ever increasing number of pitches from people to promote or advertise on my blogs and podcasts, I was delighted to be referred by David Meerman Scott to a great article by Mark R Hinkle on “how to pitch a blogger“.
If you are in the field of marketing or public relations, do not underestimate the power and influence of bloggers to help you spread the word about your business – be that a product, a service or even a book.
And while Mark wrote the article about bloggers, you can also take the same approach for podcasters.
As I reported, blogs are considered by consumers to be a more trusted resource than advertising and email marketing.
I’d further add to Mark’s guidance that just as you would target specific marketing messages to specific media, connecting to bloggers and podcasters needs to be considered in the same way. Take a little time to get to know the blogger or podcaster through reading their blog and listening to their podcasts.
Some bloggers and podcasters do not allow advertising on their blogs or in their podcasts, but if you can demonstrate that your product or service would be of value to their community, they will be more prepared to do a review.
What won’t work is if you have no proven track record, are offering a service that is in conflict or direct competition to their own and do not take the time to build a relationship with them. You can be sure in this case you will not even get a polite reply to your email.
It is also more challenging if you are providing a service such as a training course and the blogger or podcaster has no knowledge of your expertsie or professionalism. Remember their recommendation or referral to you will reflect their personal brand so most bloggers and podcasters will not refer something sight unseen or unproven to them as they want to protect their reputation.
I also recommend that you read the draft Ogilvy PR’s Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics which you can adapt to fit your business:
- We reach out to bloggers because we respect your influence and feel that we might have something that is “remarkable” which could be of interest to you and/or your audience.
- We will only propose blogger outreach as a tactic if it complements our overall strategy. We will not recommend it as a panacea for every social media campaign.
- We will always be transparent and clearly disclose who we are and who we work for in our outreach email.
- Before we email you, we will check out your blog’s About, Contact and Advertising page in an effort to see if you have blatantly said you would not like to be contacted by PR/Marketing companies. If so, we’ll leave you alone.
If you tell us there is a specific way you want to be reached, we’ll adhere to those guidelines.
- We won’t pretend to have read your blog if we haven’t.
- In our email we will convey why we think you, in particular, might be interested in our client’s product, issue, event or message.
- We won’t leave you hanging. If your contact at Ogilvy PR is going out of town or will be unreachable, we will provide you with an alternate point of contact.
- We encourage you to disclose our relationship with you to your readers, and will never ask you to do otherwise.
- You are entitled to blog on information or products we give you in any way you see fit. (Yes, you can even say you hate it.)
- If you don’t want to hear from us again, we will place you on our Do Not Contact list – which we will share with the rest of the Ogilvy PR agency.
- If you are initially interested in the campaign, but don’t respond to one of our emails, we will follow up with you no more than once. If you don’t respond to us at all, we’ll leave you alone.
- Our initial outreach email will always include a link to Ogilvy PR’s Blog Outreach Code of Ethics.
What changes would you make to this if you were going to implement an outreach code of ethics for new media?
PS - during my vacation I had the opportunity to read David Meerman Scott’s great new book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” – watch out over the next week or so for my book review. David knows all about not only “pitching” but more importantly engaging bloggers and podcasters as the outstanding success of his book goes to show – listen to some of his podcast interviews and you will discover just how successful his book launch has been.
It is a case study worth taking the time to familiarise yourself with if you really want to see how effectively you can as a professional services provider engage in social media to market your products and services.