Twenty three years ago on this date (September 14th), my husband and I got married! We've been together for 29 nine years! I celebrated my 20th anniversary in Flickr and with this video (darn the gown doesn't fit this year!) There isn't any thing specific on the geek anniversary gift list to mark the 23rd, so we'll send a donation to the Sharing Foundation.
The original photo is on Flickr and caught the eye of an editor from Esquire Magazine who was looking for photos to illustrate a piece about wedding photos. They used it - with blindfolds over our eyes to illustrate what not to wear at wedding!
This morning I got a pitch a from someone who wanted me to blog about one of their programs. The pitch was like the cravat on the groom in the photo and described by Esquire fashion police:
The thing around the man's neck in this photo is called a cravat, last seen around the neck of the Undertaker before his match at Wrestlemania XXV. Unless you can deliver tombstone piledrivers to anyone who scoffs at you, opt for a bow tie.
Blogger relations (not to be confused with blogger's relationships like I'm describing above) that is blogger outreach came up as a topic in a workshop I did on social media and the arts last year. So, here's some advice on how to not to pitch a blogger.
1. Don't have your office intern hapzardly send out a canned pitches, get to know the bloggers first. While I write about nonprofits and social media, I try to approach the topic with a bit of personality - and that means sharing information about me - like the fact I'm celebrating my 23rd Wedding Anniversary. So, why would someone send me a story pitch and press release and invite me to write about social network designed for women who are divorced? I got a good laugh before hitting the delete button.
I got the impression that someone just scraped this list and send out pitches blinding without, at minimum, clicking through to a Facebook profile or perhaps evening reading the blog. So, before you begin blasting out your pitch happardly to bloggers, read some of what the blogger has written and see if your pitch is relevant.
2. Don't have your first point of interaction be a request to blog about your program or whatever. My husband didn't ask me to marry him on our first date - we had a great courtship, getting to know each other before we said "I do." The best first date with a blogger is to leave a meaningful comment on their blog. Something more than "this is great" or "write about my project," but something that leaves the impression that you've taken the time to read the blogger's previous posts and add something with your comment. Kevin Bondelli has more advice.
3. Don't overwhelm the blogger with requests. Once you've developed a relationship with trust and respect, then you can begin to pitch. But don't ask them to write about every little thing and don't swamp them with pages and pages of material. Be succinct and make a clear connection between what the blogger is interested in writing about and your program or organization or whatever your pitching.
4. Provide helpful information: If the blogger is going to write up a post, make sure you have a good "blogger" mini site or easily content. I can't tell you the many times I've been pitched with an attached press release without good pointers to online information.
5. Answer the Bloggers Questions promptly: This blog, like many blogs, is a labor of love. So, answering follow up questions promptly is very much appreciated.
6. Say thank you: If the blogger writes about your organization or project, it is a nice touch to say thank. I'm simply amazed that people don't do that. Best way is to leave a comment in the post.
Some of this applies to twitter as well. Here are a few tips:
- Don't send direct messages with "retweet" this, particularly if you don't know the person or don't have a relationship. I get a lot of DM and while I'd love to retweet all of them, I'm only one person. I tend to retweet when I have a relationship, as a reward, or when there was been reciprocity.
- If your pitch also has a request to retweet, include a copy of cut and paste examples. Make it easy.
- Saying thank you Twitter is easy with a retweet.
There's lots of great advice about blogger relations and outreach. Here's a few choice links:
- Connecting With Bloggers from Free Range Graphics Studio (written for the nonprofit reader)
- Bloggers Talk To PR Agencies by Toby Bloomberg
- Blogger Outreach 101 by Kevin Bondelli
- Definitive Guide to Social Media Releases by Brian Solis
- Blogger Outreach: New Study Attempts to Define Success by Kami Huyse
- Are Bloggers Media? by Todd Defren
- Put Away Your Shot Guns by Chris Brogan
- The Secret Sauce of the Perfect Pitch by Susan Getgood
- Blogger Relations by Lee Oden
- Most PR Bad, This PR Good, by Jocelyn Harman
What tricks or tips have you learned about approaching bloggers and getting them to write or Tweet about your nonprofit's programs or services? What are some of the best resources?