Blah at Best: Not-for-Bedtime Blogger Outreach Horror Stories

Blogger Outreach Horror Stories

Credit: flickr.com / D Sharon Pruitt

Allow me to be a Bad News Bear for a moment and give a little word of warning: bad blogger outreach campaigns can lead to worse PR.

To borrow a phrase from Chris Houchens, “Blogger outreach in PR is like working with gasoline. Work with it correctly and it makes the vehicle go. Do it incorrectly and it blows up with disastrous consequences.”

Without a good strategy and respect for your intended brand ambassadors, blogger campaigns can easily backfire.

Blogger outreach is a time-consuming enterprise that requires attention to detail and clear communications. By cutting corners you may put your brand at risk.

Some services promise quick and easy ways to contact influential bloggers, but remember that you are writing to humans and that there are a number of straightforward tactics that they can sniff out in a second.

The “Dear blogger” approach.
Starting a pitch by either using a generic word like “blogger” or no name at all – a friendly ‘hey there’ – sets the alarm bells ringing before you’ve even got going. Both Danny Brown and Mike McGrail have recent examples of shocking pitches which don’t get past first base. Finding out the name of the blogger, and then using it, is essential.

The “Hello, we love your blog” approach.
Paying bloggers compliments and demonstrating your brand or product’s relevance to their blog is always a good starting point. However, false knowledge of their blog or telling your life story is a waste of everyone’s time. Do your research, be polite, and offer relevant services.

The “We love your blog post on page 4” approach.
One way to bypass the initial “we love your blog” scepticism is to dig deeper into your chosen blogger’s archives to show that you have been reading their blog for some time. But tread carefully.

The Worst Case Scenario
One particularly horrifying blogger outreach email was sent to the prolific and popular blogger The Blogess. You can read all about it here (contains strong language).

“Let’s just clarify here. This email is addressed to a website. I got this email on a Thursday. The post she said she enjoyed was the one where I had to dig up my recently deceased dog. It’s pretty clear that Misty had never read my blog before.”

Practice Makes Perfect
Mistakes like this happen everywhere in the PR world, so don’t let this put you off blogger outreach. However, do make sure that you have educated yourself before you start emailing as mistakes like this can be costly.

Blogger Outreach “the right way”
As tough as this sounds, knowing the pitfalls of blogger outreach before you begin is paramount to success. We hope to educate and guide you through the learning process, avoid those pitfalls, and create successful blogger outreach campaigns of your own. It’s time worth investing.

For more “Essential Tips for Warm Blogger Outreach Pitches”, check out Christina Jones’ post in the Blue Glass blog.

You can read more about the value of blogger outreach by downloading the eBook below, and coming up we’ll tell you how to craft the perfect blogger outreach email.

8 Reasons Why Blogger Relations are
Essential to Your PR Strategy

Download this free eBook and start reaching out to bloggers and get your messages directly to a target audience who are waiting to hear from you

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  • http://benwerd.com/ Ben Werdmuller

    I get a lot of outreach emails that are clearly automatically generated – they say they love one of my tag search pages, for example, or are shilling for a product that I’d never talk about. As a result, as a blogger, I’m really wary of the whole idea.

    So, offer me something. Give me some reciprocal promotion; invite me to an event; talk to me like a human being. Solo bloggers aren’t journalists, in that they don’t need to fill a magazine to a particular schedule, so you can’t use similar tactics. Instead, you’ve got to really pique their interest; make them feel special; get them involved in your process.

    • http://twitter.com/robotnic Nicola Balkind

      Hi Ben, great to hear your thoughts! As a film blogger 

      • http://benwerd.com/ Ben Werdmuller

        I’ve rarely had good offers that explicitly ask me to blog. Instead, they’ll try and sell me on a concept in some way – and whether I blog or not is left up to me. I think that’s not a bad way to do it, although there’s nothing wrong in saying (further down the process) that you hope I’ll blog about it!

        • http://www.communicationammo.com Sean Williams

          Ben and Nicola – the whole outreach concept depends, much the same as in journalism, on an understanding of the writer/editor and of the audience. It seems so obvious, yet the horror stories you hear reinforce the need to educate people. Goodness. I can’t tell you how many times I get off-target comms from no doubt well intentioned morons. I barely blog these days, and when I do it’s pretty academic, maybe self-involved (I write about what I’m interested in) and focused on internal comms, measurement and occasionally, ethical quandaries in PR. I don’t write about products, companies or too many personal things. 

          That doesn’t seem to stop people from flogging their latest miracle product or brilliant insight that has nada mas to do with me. Oy. 

          Thanks for a thoughtful piece. And, thanks to @hughanderson:disqus  for commenting on my influence post – tardy kudos, but sincerely appreciated. 

          Sean Williams (@commammo)

          • http://twitter.com/robotnic Nicola Balkind

            Hi Sean, thanks for your thoughts, and it’s lovely to hear you found this worth reading. We’ll have some more posts coming up on how to do blogger outreach well – hopefully they’ll stick!

            Thanks so much for reading,

            Nicola

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