How not to approach a blogger for PR

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 23 March 2009

One question I often get asked is 'How should PR people go about pitching things to bloggers'.

I always suggest that it is important to build a relationship with a blogger, and that is better to approach 10 small blogs who are passionate about your niche, than 100 popular blogs on the off-chance.

If you do it badly, you expose yourself to potential brand damage - just like the PR person who sent me an astonishingly poor pitch the other week. I've anonymised it - unlike those at Lost In Showbiz - because, hey, it might have been the intern's first day and I'm feeling generous.

#prfail

So, let's just say that a media brand is putting together a chart. There is obviously some part of the publicity brief that wants to get bloggers debating who should be included in the list in advance of the big reveal.

The method for unearthing these bloggers seems to be searching for blog posts featuring the names of people who might make the list. Currybetdotnet seems to have cropped up, as I once wrote a post about one of the people in contention for the list.

"You’ll be pleased to know that person x has already been nominated by our [audience], so if they get enough votes, they could make it into the Top 100."

And so I got a gushing email about how, as a fan of person x, I'd want to help them come higher in this forthcoming list, by either sending stuff in to adorn their profile page, or promoting the vote on my blog.

"Do you have anything on person x you’d like us to add? Videos? Pictures? Interesting facts? If so, send it over. If we use it, we’ll credit that it came from you and include a link back to your site."

Now, the first small thing is that even a cursory skim-read of my post about person x would have revealed that I was being disparaging about them - and therefore unlikely to launch a fan campaign on their behalf.

And secondly, the cut'n'paste URL in the email was a link to www.our-web.site/profile/person-y

Nice work.

#prfail

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