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