The Huffington Post, recently acquired by AOL for $315 million, symbolises the blurring of the lines between blogging and journalism. Calling itself “The Internet Newspaper”, HuffPo is described as a blog on Wikipedia and still features on Google Blog Search – despite having a global network of thousands of contributors and, now, a potential audience of 117m in the United States alone. With the maturing of the blogosphere and no other business function currently equipped to deal with it, it is natural that blogger outreach should be done by PR. But what are the rules of engagement?
Laurence Borel, PR professional and author of Blog Til You Drop, says the secret to blogger relations is simple: “research then engage”. In other words, all the good practice you have picked up – targeting stories to relevant outlets, getting the names of contacts (and spelling them correctly) – still applies. “Get to know the bloggers you’d like to engage”, says Borel. “What do they write about, which brands do they like, do they contribute to other publications? Is the content you’re offering relevant to them?“
Blog Til You Drop features a neat guide to pitching bloggers, but before you start you should define your goals. If you simply want eyes on your tech content (and it’s good enough), by all means go after Endgadget (now a Huffington outpost). If you are recruiting for a competition, focus on blogs with engaged audiences – those with the most comments per post. And if you want to increase awareness of your brand, look for sites that dominate niches you haven’t yet tapped into – the mummy bloggers that could lead consideration of product purchases.
And when you want to see all the great coverage you’ve secured, why not Pickanews’ free monitoring service?