November 20, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Six Steps to Better Blogger Relations

Six Steps to Better Blogger Relations

The [big issue with most blogger relations ](http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/blog/2007/05/27/some-thoughts-on-pitching-bloggers/)articles revolves around a tendency to treat bloggers like traditional media, and also a focus on tactical pitches or initiatives. This approach, in general, follows a bad media relations trend where hits matter more than relationships. Yield outweighs long-term reputation, and as a result mass blog outreach with mild customization occurs. Good PR pros build relationships.
This article seeks to shed light on some best practices for building relationships with bloggers. It assumes the following:
> a. You’ve researched the blogs that matter to your company, including critical [magic middle blogs](http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000420.html)
> b. The company (or organization) can contribute valuable information or insights to the marketplace’s conversation
> c. That the company is committed to a campaign rather than an event
The Six Steps for better blogger relationships are:
1) Win the War, Not the Battle: By focusing on the relationship rather than the individual pitch, long-term results are built. [Yes, good pitches are important](http://www.pr-squared.com/2007/11/prsquareds_social_media_tactic_4.html). Creating goodwill with long term approaches is more important to continued coverage and fostering word of mouth.
By not over exuding one’s own need for coverage now, organizations support the community approach to social media. The company is vested in building strong relationships, and not selling product now through Google juice. The end result is a blogger that cares more about the effort who will pay attention to the company’s initiatives (as in plural).
2) Human Relations: Bloggers are people with no obligation, not professional journalists. Treat them like your friend, like someone who shares an interest instead of a media outlet. In theory they do share an interest: Your subject matter and its natural tie to their writing.
3) Commenting: One of the best ways to build a relationship remains showing interest in someone else. Comment on said blog frequently, once every couple of weeks at a minimum to demonstrate that you care. Make sure your comments are about the posts, and not your product – UNLESS it’s extremely relevant. Bloggers invariably check out who their repeat commenters are.
4) Use Your Blog: If you want respect from a blogger(s), have a blog. A blog can be used to continue the conversation and cross-link. If the conversation intelligently progresses on your blog, the company achieves several objectives: 1) link love; 2) a demonstration that you read and listened; and 3) your own subject matter expertise, which in turn adds value to the larger community.
Link love generates great interest from bloggers, particularly when it’s repeated several times. Links to targeted bloggers increase their Google page rank and Technorati authority. This “blog crush” approach is a great way to build relationships.
5) Join Their Social Networks: Make no bones about it. There’s always a back channel for any subject matter and its bloggers. Become part of this back channel conversation. Engage in larger chats even if it’s about baseball. This is about building relationships within a community of people. Just like when you go golfing with a primary customer or lunch with a reporter, talking shop100 percent of the time gets real boring fast.
6) Opt Them In: Once a relationship has been created, if you really value their opinion and their voice is that important, opt them into your conversation. This happens before your conversation goes public. Create an advisory board of bloggers, ask them to be in a focus group for a product before it comes out, or invite them to view an important post before it goes out. Make them part of the process. They’ll be honored and vested in your effort.
For more extensive reading, please see [Brian Solis’ e-book on blogger relations](http://www.briansolis.com/2008/01/new-ebook-art-and-science-of-blogger.html).
Geoff Livingston is the author of [Now Is Gone ](http://nowisgone.com/2008/01/22/six-steps-on-blogger-relations/)and editor of [The Buzz Bin](http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/blog/)

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2 Comments

  1. lewis.green@l-gsolutions.com'
    Lewis Green

    Geoff,
    Good and important post. I would add: Contact bloggers personally about your ideas not with a mass e-mailing. Just today I received a pitch sent to at least 50 of us. Doesn’t make me want to pay much attention either to the pitch or the sender.

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