Pitching Bloggers vs. ‘Traditional’ Media: Four Things You Should Know

Five or so years ago, there was a prevailing thought in PR that bloggers were not journalists, and were not to be treated as such by media relations professionals. That notion holds little weight today, as more and more top online influencers become the source for important news and information within their areas of expertise.

Yet bloggers are different animals than reporters and editors at more traditional media outlets, and must be pitched to accordingly. Knowing these differences could make the difference between a story that goes viral and one that dies after a day or two. Here are four differences between bloggers and "traditional" journalists that you should keep in mind:

  • Bloggers don't have editors: Unless they work for the Huffington Post, bloggers work on their own, and therefore make their own decisions on what they will publish and when. This is why it's important to give a blog the thrice-over before pitching. Follow PR-Squared blogger Todd Defren's rule of thumb: Don't pitch a blogger until you've read at least 20 of their posts, including comments. Only then will you start to understand a blogger's editorial idiosyncrasies.
  • Bloggers are into sharing: With most bloggers, it's all about the sharing of information. In fact, most bloggers base their own success on how many eyeballs their content is attracting. So help them out regularly by “liking” or sharing your bloggers' blog posts, tweets, Facebook entries, etc.
  • Bloggers are "socially" sensitive about pitches: More often than not, the traditional journalist will ignore bad pitches—or ones that don't pertain to their beat—and will move on. The blogger, however, might make a big deal out of such a pitch, and call out the PR professional/brand that made the pitch. Solution: It's a good bet a blogger will have written a post on how they liked to be pitched. Knowing what the rules are before you pitch is invaluable.
  • With bloggers, think long-term relationship, not short-term campaign: Follow targeted bloggers closely before you send any specific pitch. Send them data they might be interested in and respond to their posts. Establishing a long-term, working relationship with bloggers could reap results that tower over a more traditional media placement.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01



About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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  • Bobbi Greenberg

    Thanks for posting this article. Very interesting and informative.

  • Sue Kaufmann

    Well said. As a former publicist who’s now a blogger, I’m continually fascinated by the poorly aimed pitches I receive. Out of curiosity, I contacted a couple of the PR people who sent them, just to find out why they pitched my region-themed blog. To a person, they said it’s because I cover a certain geography they were trying to reach. None bothered to read the blog to find out if I covered politics, current events, culture, or any number of other aspects of the region.

    The old ‘spray and pray’ approach to pitching, which was always dangerous, is downright reckless behavior now.

  • Rachel

    We have a great track record with bloggers because we take the time to read their blogs and get to know them and what they like to write on. Sure, it takes more time and I think that’s why so many pr agencies still tend to blanket pitch them. It would make it easier for pr people if the bloggers have traffic numbers easily available as well. Most pr companies want to make sure that if they are offering samples or other items that it will reach their audience.But ultimately a personal pitch goes a long way