I've been getting more and more messages these days that are asking me to take a look at a particular product or service. I wish I had time to look at all these great things, but I find that I have to be pretty selective about where I will spend my time.
I have a tendency to talk about things that are a little less bleeding edge than some other bloggers. I want to see that they are proven in the market somewhere before I'm generally going to jump on them. So, I may be a little harder to convince to review something – although I'm sure that most bloggers do very similar filtering.
So I thought it would be worthwhile to post on how I evaluate whether I'm going to spend time on a request to look at a particular product or service offering. I have a tendency to get a bit of push-back on these types of posts: Profile Photos, Profile Photo, Questions Before You Ask. Yes, I'm exposing bias here. Yes I'm making a snap judgment about how much time I'm going to spend. You have to do this in life.
The amount of time I will spend relates to a variety of factors …
What's your position/role?
I generally will spend a lot more time with people at the top of this list than people at the bottom of the list.
- Possible Client
- Entrepreneur / CEO
- Chief Marketing Officer / VP Marketing / Product Management
- Business Development / Sales
- PR Person at Company
- PR Person at PR Firm
Of course I'm going to spend time with someone who I believe is legitimately a potential client. I'm also more willing to spend time talking to key players in a company. Once you get to someone who likely is motivated and compensated for purely getting the word out through any and all means, it becomes more of a one-way relationship. That doesn't mean I won't engage with a PR person, but I'm much more likely to ignore a classic PR-driven request.
PR Firms have a lower probability of success in blogger outreach.
Are you engaged in social media?
I'm not sure when this started happening to me, but I look at things like:
- Do you have a blog? Is it a marketing only blog? Or an interesting blog? Are you a thoughtful person with some interesting discussions on your blog?
- Do you have a LinkedIn profile? What's your background?
I get so much value from my blog relationships and social network relationships. If it appears you are going to be a good blog connection or LinkedIn Connection, I'm naturally going to be more interested in engaging in a conversation with you.
Blog before you do blogger outreach.
Engage with social media before you do social media outreach.
Interesting Product / Service
Let's assume that you are a person in a PR firm representing a client with no blog and you don't have a LinkedIn profile (not sure why you wouldn't). Is there a chance that I will spend time looking at your product / service? Yes, but you are going to need to spend some time to be in position to get me to spend time.
- You have spent time figuring out how this product / service is different / interesting in the market place. Your message to me should indicate some real thought. You know that there are five types of competitors in the market and here's where this product fits into that. Add value with your research. Take a look at Questions Before You Ask. The percentage of PR people who really do this is very small because they don't really understand the domain and thus can't really engage in a more interesting conversation with a blogger.
- You've looked at my blog and know who I am and some things I've written about before that relate to your product. I likely have talked about stuff in your domain. Otherwise, it may not make sense for me to blog about your product / service. So, how about reminding me of that, but adding some thoughtful information about how the product / service is interesting.
Do your homework.
Nothing New Here
8 Tips about Blogging Outreach:
1. Bloggers are not journalists
2. Read the blog first
3. Develop a relationship
Don't pitch, get "coverage" and then leave. It's like getting ready for a hot first date and being taken to a McDonald's for dinner. When you start corresponding with the blogger, maintain the relationship.
4. Be Transparent
5. Customize your emails
6. Grammar and spelling do count
7. Don't disregard the smaller bloggers
8. Read Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel. At least read the the section about "Blogging Wrong & Right."
Number 5: Oops – I thought that was MISS Blogger, not MISTER Blogger
Number 4: Spellcheck is a wonderful technology…when you USE it
Number 3: I’m not stalking you honestly. Could you just puhleeze respond to me?
Number 2: Sorry – didn’t realize you just wrote about this… yesterday!
And the number 1 mistake that I’ve made pitching a blogger:
Who cares about YOUR interests, it’s all about ME
1. Just send a press release.
2. Act like you expect coverage.
3. Send exactly the same message two (or more) times.
4. Promise something you can't deliver.
5. Don't acknowledge return correspondence.
6. Don't acknowledge coverage.