I’m a firm believer in the importance of wording.
A lot of problems we faced early on in social media was that we didn’t have a communal language to describe this brave new world. This is true for digital PR as well.
So, let’s talk blogger outreach, shall we?
To keep it sorted in my head, I divide the concept of blogger relations into 3 sub-categories.
1. Blogger Outreach
Large international companies often talk about Press Office activities. It entails responding to journalistic queries and to inform the public on corporate news. The whole press release machinery often falls under this category together with keeping media list fresh and documenting the results. It’s all about getting the company message out there as well as catering to the needs of the news media and by doing so maintaining good relations with the press.
Blogger Outreach could be defined as the corporate equivalent to Press Office, but with a few significant differences. For instance, you shouldn’t really send press releases to bloggers, instead you need to engage them on their terms. But you can keep large quantities of bloggers up to date on what’s going on with your company as long as you’ve established a relationship with them and opted in their interest.
Some companies are more interesting than others to bloggers, but that’s just the way it is. A fashion company could very well brief fashion bloggers on new clothing lines, just as long as the communication is carried out on a personal level and kept highly relevant. It also entails reaching out to bloggers acknowledging your brand.
2. Blogger Collaborations
My experience has taught me that there is a point to distinguishing Blogger Collaborations from Blogger Outreach. Blogger Collaborations is the equivalent to setting up an interview with a journalist in traditional PR. For top traditional publicity, it’s almost never good enough to just send out a press release; you have to use the advantage of exclusivity to get a journalist interested in creating impact articles and the same goes for top bloggers—you need to work closely with them, otherwise they won’t be interested.
Blogger collaborations is increasingly becoming the way to go for top blogger publicity and is also moving from email to phone in a greater extent. We’re not at a point where you can pick up the phone and call a top blogger directly, so you need to establish a relationship before you can get to this stage. Top blogger relationships is truly something digital agencies can bring to the table these days.
For organizations it’s important to rethink Blogger Collaborations. Top bloggers might very well have a greater and more engaged and targeted audience than a traditional media outlet on the web. Pitching a top international fashion blogger isn’t necessary easier than pitching a reporter from the Wall Street Journal. The same amount of time has to go into it in order for the project to become successful.
3. Blogger Seeding
Doing an outreach or setting up an collaboration is still very much push PR activities. So what about pull, then? Bloggers are often keen on picking up on stuff themselves, as long as it’s highly engaging. In some campaigns, there are incentives for bloggers to distribute corporate messages by opting-in to campaign sites.
A lot of new media companies does this well. I have for instance integrated Facebook, Foursqare, Google+, Klout and Twitter to my site. The initiative Sweden Social Web Camp allows for their visitor to place a badge on their blogs showing off their attendance, a powerful way for this local social media unconference to reach out to a highly targeted audience via niche blogs.
Working with Social Media Press Releases is another way to seed information via influential blogs. The message is adapted for the multimedia web and made extremely easy to share on the web. Seeding sites like PitchEngine or in Sweden, MyNewsdesk, can often provide high ranking publishing platforms allwing for you to create linkbacks to your landing page as well as benefiting from their audiences.
Of course, you could also actually send a link to your release, which makes into a Seeding/Outreach hybrid.
Terminology Plays A Major Role
When creating your PR strategy for digital publicity and long-term relations, it’s important to understand whether you really want to do Blogger Outreach, Blogger Collaboration, Blogger Seeding or a combination of them. They require different messaging, efforts and techniques and they produce very different outcomes.
Knowing how to speak of blogger relations in your team and with clients really helps you to know exactly what you’re doing—and why. Agree?