Riddle me this: It’s been at least four years since blogging burst into the mainstream to become a new and viable way to generate and consume content. Many of the world’s most popular online destinations are blogs.
So why is it that some PR firms still have no clue how to approach bloggers? I have noticed a strange inability to recognize that bloggers have particular interests, different approaches and particular styles – just like traditional media.
Here’s a classic example of how not to approach a blogger – an e-mail I received from someone who works for a large PR firm.
Hi there –
Please see below for the release from XXX announcing the newest addition to their XXX family of products, the XXX. The XXX is one of the thinnest and lightest ultraportable laptops available; it is ideal for the on-the-go entrepreneurs who are looking for durability, security and functionality in a package that will turn heads. The XXX is available today on XXX.ca, starting at $449.
If have any questions about this, or any product in XXX’s line-up, or you would like to speak with someone about this release, please let us know.
First mistake: A lack of personalization. How difficult could it be to write “Hi, Mark”.
Second mistake: I don’t write about laptops so sending me a press release about a new one suggests you haven’t done your homework.
Third mistake: Even if I did write about laptops, what’s the angle other than this particular model is new? Why would I be interested in learning more?
As they say in baseball, three strikes and you’re out.
What puzzles me is many PR firms have “rap sheets” about reporters – their likes, dislikes, when they like to be contacted, how they like to be contacted, etc. Why wouldn’t they do the same for bloggers? Are bloggers still not seen as equivalent to reporters so not worthy of the same love and attention?
Let’s be clear, there are many PR firms that are excellent at bloggers relations. But when you have a major PR firm sending press releases to bloggers that are unpersonalized press release, there’s something not quite right.
The reality is as traditional newsrooms shrink, there will be fewer reports. As a result, bloggers will become more important. Now is the time to start implementing best practices for blogger relations as opposed to dropping the proverbial ball.