Sam suggested I post this here. Here's the story...
I found out about a panel discussion on pitching to bloggers. Fine. I usually see emails like this--panels of bloggers and marketing people 'teaching' marketers how to target us for...well...whatever.
What struck me about this panel was it consisted entirely of corporate or sponsored bloggers and I didn't see any hobbyists/independents on it. I sent them a note asking about this and, well, you know what happened next. I'm on the panel, the only one really representing those of us who aren't paid by an organisation to put forth a corporate line.
I was told that there wouldn't be any hand-outs and all they want me for is to sit for a couple of hours and talk about blogger relations. I've come up with a quick list for myself, based on the *lovely* emails I get, but I'm wondering if there are other points that I've missed or should keep in mind. I have seen some posts here, along with Elise's post on the subject, and I think I've captured similar sentiments.
The event is Wednesday 7 March, so any pointers you can give me is very much appreciated, including if I'm out to lunch on any of it...Here's my list thus far:
- Bloggers should be approached similarly to journalists:
- Your pitch should be akin to a media release: 5Ws, contact information etc.
- The blogger decides what to do with the info, including how to present it.
- If we're interested, we'll contact you. If we contact you for more information, get the back to us quickly.
- Personalise the approach
- Most bloggers have a name or a screen name. Use it in your salutation, instead of just "hi" or "Hello Confessions of a Cardamom Addict"
- We can tell if you've just read one post...or half of one post...
- Do your research
- Just because we mentioned your product or company once doesn't actually mean that we *like* your company/product/client. Find out what was said about you before you send the email.
- Many bloggers are specialised (food, knitting, cars, etc): make sure you are pitching something that's in keeping with the blog...
- Many bloggers have a policy that outlines what they will and will not do...
- Blogging Events
- Know how blogging events work before you agree to do one; ask questions and get all the facts first.
- If you decide you want to do an event, chances are you will need to provide items free of charge to participants
- Watch your tone, mister
- Don't presume because you've sent us an email (or worse, left us a comment), we'll fall all over ourselves to make you happy...we're nice, but not that nice.
- Leave the arrogance and pompousness out of your communications...many of us can smell smarmy marketing copy a mile away...and we don't like it at all.
- Don't leave comments that plug your product or your site.
- Things not to ask for:
- Email addresses of readers or blogging contacts
- Blog roll links
- Don't assume that we'll do reciprocal links (for free) for a commercial or corporate blog...
- Don't ask us to do your research for you
- We're human beings
- Many of us have day jobs or are in school or lives, so although it's nice to be invited to a product launch that takes place Wednesday at 2pm, chances are we won't be able to take time off of work to attend. Be prepared to send media kits or supplemental info to people who can't attend.
- We hate spam. We aren't thrilled with being inundated with bad asks and pitches. We don't think much of being put on mailing lists without being asked.
- We talk amongst ourselves.
- Product Issues
- If you want to send us something. Just send it, no strings attached.
- If we think it's worth blogging about we will. Don't tell us what to say or how to say it. Once you do that, you are in advertising territory.
- Not all bloggers are American, or North American. Make sure the product you're pitching is normally available in the blogger's home country.
- Really big no-nos
- If you ask for links, buttons, or text blocks that link back to your email or web page, you are asking for advertising. Be prepared to pay for this.
- Don't use our content without our permission. This includes photographs, animation, text and anything else we've come up with on our own...many of us check to see who's stolen what.
When I'm done, I'll probably have a Blogger Relations 101 post on Cardamom Addict...Thanks so much in advance.