Monday, June 23, 2008

(stop) pitching to bloggers

That was the message from me and my fellow panelists at last week's "Pitching to Bloggers" session at the Washington, DC, chapter of PRSA...for some of us, aggressive pitching has never been the right model in media relations. What to do instead? Panelists Rachelle Lacroix of Fleishman-Hillard, Geoff Livingston of Livingston Communications and Vijay Raghavan of Qorvis Communications joined me in suggesting these approaches to a standing-room crowd, shown at left:

  • Converse or share with bloggers, instead of pitching at or to them: Instead of a one-way pitch, prepare to go back and forth--and publicly--when you share information with bloggers. Make it a relationship, not a data dump. Some bloggers suggest you come to meetups to speak with them in person, rather than send email or call.
  • Add value to the proposition: Many bloggers, like reporters we know, feel strongly that they can hunt down the facts they want. What do you have that they can't get elsewhere? Instead of a news release, consider beefing up information you make available on RSS feeds, offering uncut video or audio, graphics and charts, transcripts, audience reactions and more.
  • Remember that what doesn't work for reporters also doesn't work for bloggers. Off-topic pitches, misspelled names, way-too-large attachments and repetitive emails are not only dubbed spam by bloggers--but are published and shared with others. One angry blogger has started a PR Spammers Wiki to share the names of PR practitioners who've sent emails to addresses she has specifically asked them not to use.
PRSA plans to post the webinar version of this panel discussion on its website in a few weeks--I'll post the link once it's available.

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