Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blogger Outreach for PR: The Importance of Follow-Up


Being social media savvy, you add blogger outreach to your PR plans for a new product launch. You carefully research blogs using related keywords and competitor names to build a solid outreach list. You carefully craft your message, following best practices for blogger PR outreach: personalize each message, make it clear that you've read the blog and understand its subject matter, and explain the relevance of your message.

You send your messages, and then...nothing. Or very little response. What now?

Just as with advertising, PR relies on frequency. There are many possible reasons for low uptake by bloggers; follow-up is essential to determining what may have gone wrong, and how results can be improved.

Blogger PR follow-up follows the same rules as initial outreach: make it personal, informal and relevant. In addition, follow-up should:
  • Provide new or updated information, not just a rehash of the original message. For example, with a new product launch, an update could include an award, coverage by an analyst, a new customer win or anything else that builds on the initial announcement.

  • Restate or further explain the relevance of your message to the blogger and his or her audience.

  • Offer additional information, such as a white paper or interview with a key executive or product designer.

The most common reasons a blogger may have chosen not to write about your product and many and varied, but at the least include:
  • They were simply too busy. This is where follow-up can really help shake some coverage loose, as a second or third message may hit them at a better time.

  • Your first message didn't adequately explain the relevance. Particularly with technology products and services, it's crucial not just to explain how cool the new technology, but how it applies—specifically—to the blogger's subject area.

  • They shouldn't have been on the list. Many bloggers will ignore a first message that they find irrelevant, but respond directly to the second or third. This is important to know: you don't want to be a spammer, but do want to understand the blogger's focus in case he or she may have an interest in a future announcement.

  • They simply weren't impressed, or worse, found deficiencies in your new product. This is where establishing personal contact is really critical, as it can mean the difference between getting direct confidential feedback that you can address individually, or suffering negative exposure on a blog with no real chance to tell your side of the story.

As recent posts on student blogs such as Renee Noseff's Technological Advances in the PR World and Effective PR 101, as well as established PR blogs like Cece Lee's PR Meets Marketing and Scott Monty's Social Media Marketing Blog show, blogger outreach is becoming a mainstream PR tactic. Careful planning and crafting of both initial outreach and follow-up messages can maximize your social media exposure.

*****


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

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