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Straight from the Source – Do's and Do Not Do's of Blogger Relations

You’re planning your product launch. You’ve got a kick-ass product. You’ve read all the latest "Top 10" promotion techniques. You’ve been scouring One Degree for all the tips you can find on WoM, PR and viral marketing. You’re ready… or are you?
Have you considered the humble blogger? I’m not talking the high profile, A-listers with thousands of daily readers. I’m talking about those of us who blog for passion – food bloggers, mommy bloggers, metrobloggers, shopping bloggers & photobloggers.
We’re out there sharing our impressions of upcoming events, cool new products and great promotions with our readerships who listen when we talk.
The question is: when we want to talk about you, are you prepared to help us enthuse or are you pissing us off without even knowing it?

Bloggers want information without having to ask for it.
We aren’t professional journalists, we aren’t going to push people out of the way to get a pithy quote or your head of development’s name.  Hey, some of us even have straight jobs and can’t go to your product launch or press conference.  Make it possible for us to write about you anyway.  Put this stuff online and make it easy to get to.  In the last month, I’ve dug for and had to do without – FAQ sheets, usable logos and icons, product photos and speaker’s names.  I’ll leave out a great quote if I can’t tell people who said it.

Bloggers want hands on experiences. 
Sure the free lunch will get us out to your demo, but if you want us to write about your new product, site or great idea give us something to play with.  I know you can’t give your product away to everyone, but remember sometimes it’s cheaper to give someone product than a bag filled with branded swag. Besides, bloggers care about your product and how it works more than traditional media, and we’re less likely to write about something we haven’t actually used ourselves.  Let us try it out!

Bloggers aren’t writing to pad the headline.
We generally aren’t generalists and actually want to know more than what you’re including in your 3 paragraph press release.  Give us meat, information, quotes, specs.  We aren’t going to call and ask. Tell us up front. Spend a little time and write 2 or 3 press releases focused on your different audiences… Eg. foodies, neighbourhood promoters, arts community.  If I get another press release saying "a wide range of international cuisines will be served" I will scream! Tell me who’s serving what!

Bloggers love the swag.

Teeshirts, coffee mugs, laptop bags, key fobs… this lets bloggers share their love of your product in any way they want using the vehicle of their choice.  Of course there is a limit, and quality matters,  but even the most jaded blogger can be turned with a piece of smart branded swag.  Besides, swag creates the opportunity for excellent user-generated product placement shots don’t you think?
In summary, if I can’t find it in under 5 minutes, it’s not going in the post.
[Photo courtesy of Mondo Lulu]


  1. andrea from the fishbowl
    andrea from the fishbowl October 23, 2007

    Great post Lex!
    I’m a blogger who gets pitched to a LOT and I agree with everything you’re saying.
    fyi – email pitches that go immediately into the delete bin include obvious form letters, including ones with the oh-so-popular line that begins: “I’m a fan of your blog and…” Heh. Yeah right. Products that are a personal turn off won’t get blogged either, or if I truly hate it, I might blog about how much I hate it. (Frozen pizza anyone?)
    For an email pitch to be effective it has to be well-written and *personal.* Humour works too.
    I’ll only blog about a product if I truly love it, and if I think it’ll make a difference in the lives of the people who read along with me.
    BTW I’m still waiting for someone to send me a iPod touch and ask me to blog about it. 😉

  2. Eden Spodek
    Eden Spodek October 24, 2007

    I second almost everything Andrea wrote right down to the iPod touch.
    The point Lex makes about many of us having “straight” or full-time paid jobs is so true. I’ve received several invitations to weekday events I can’t attend. Late-night events are usually out too.
    I have never received a post-event follow-up message with photos, quotes, links to other relevant content (e.g. YouTube) to give me (and my readers) a feel for the event or product. Just because I can’t attend your event, doesn’t mean your product/service/business doesn’t interest me. The easier you make it for me, the greater the likelihood I’ll write about what it is you’re pitching.
    And by all means, take a few minutes to look at my blog before you pitch me.

  3. Linda Burlison
    Linda Burlison October 24, 2007

    We’ve been doing a great deal of blogger PR of late. It is an excellent approach on many levels (think traffic, awareness, media, and link love among others). We try to follow many of the guidelines Alexa writes about and always try to keep in mind that working with bloggers involves give and take. We try to give them sneak peaks or beta views and as much information as they may need before anyone else sees a product or site. The one thing we have completely avoided is providing them with swag – this is based on learnings from Microsoft and the Acer Ferrari laptop (if you haven’t heard of this go here I’m interested in hearing about other experiences with giving swag to bloggers and whether others working with large brands recommend this approach.

  4. Lex
    Lex October 29, 2007

    Thanks for the feedback and great observations.
    Personally, I’ve never been put off by a pitch that wasn’t personalized. I don’t actually care as long as I’m interested in the information. Though I don’t get many pitches pretending they read my blog either.
    Andrea – aren’t we all waiting for that iPod Touch? I know I am.
    Eden – your point about post-event follow-up info is brilliant, especially for product launches.
    Linda – we all love sneak peeks! It’s fun to be the first person blogging about new things.
    Though I’d hesitate to call a free laptop “swag”, your point is well taken. Where does one draw the line between sampling and bribery?

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