Yesterday digital PR maven Adam Vincenzini pinged me about a post he was researching on how brands could make it easier for bloggers to talk about them. It’s a great question because mentions and links from influential content sources are priceless for credibility, awareness and in particular, social SEO.
This is a topic close to home because after 8 years of blogging here at Online Marketing Blog attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, nearly 50k RSS subscribers, 13k blog Facebook Fans and 16k blog Twitter followers, I’ve had the opportunity to be pitched, schmoozed and numerous other tactics to get me to talk about companies that want exposure. After all that, I can say I think I’ve found the magic formula that will almost guarantee bloggers will talk about a particular brand.
Are you ready?
I know, the suspense is killing me too.
OK, here it is.
It’s not about you. It’s about them.
Yeah, that’s it.
Bloggers don’t really care about your brand’s agenda.
What DO bloggers care about? That’s exactly the question PR and Media Relations professionals should be asking themselves. The problem is, most media relations people still think of bloggers as if they operate like journalists.
A great example is sending an email pitch (with no previous correspondence or social web interaction) with a press release attached as a MS Word document offering a chance to set up a meeting with some corporate executive to talk about the thing being pitched.
For comparison, imagine someone coming up to you at a party and introducing themselves, suggesting a great new drink and that you’ll need to arrange a time to talk to the bartender for more information about the drink and maybe you’ll like it and maybe you’ll talk about it to others. I don’t think so.
What about introducing yourself, asking about favorite drinks and then getting one of those favorite drinks to try – right then and there? If it’s great, that drink will get talked about, right then and there.
The problem with many blogger relations efforts is that PR pros tend to pitch based purely on serving the brand’s need for exposure instead of thinking about what would make the blogger interested and even excited to use a brand’s information in a blog post. That’s the challenge for PR professionals – reconcile brand needs with those of the media or bloggers.
How to be useful to bloggers as an information source is the key to getting more brand mentions. Dig into what hooks or triggers motivate a particular group or segment of bloggers and then package useful content in compelling and interesting ways that PR can use to engage them. Think about how those bloggers discover new content. Do they search? What do they search for? Where do they search? Do they ping their social networks for sources and information? Which social networks?
Besides optimizing brand stories for easy discovery on search engines and social networks, think about how to get on the blogger’s radar by appealing to their ego – in a relevant way. Create content that is special, that is unique, relevant and timely. Bloggers love to be first. They love to share.
Once you’ve created compelling and useful content, make it easy for bloggers to share on the social networks where they spend their time. Beyond generic social sharing widgets, it might mean the ability to Tweet an individual data point, image or video. easy + useful + relevant = win.
Don’t stop with an infographic, monster list of industry statistics or entertaining video – keep producing interesting content and you’ll not only get on the radar of influential bloggers, you’ll stay there.
Push tactics like media relations pitches to bloggers need to empathize with bloggers’ needs and then package brand content in an interesting and useful way. Pull PR tactics to get on bloggers’ radar means optimizing content for search and social media discovery as well as making it easy to share the the content that has been found.
That’s how you make it compelling for bloggers to talk about brands online.
If you’re a media relations and PR pro, what have you done to become more successful at increasing blogger mentions of your company or your brand clients?
For even more great insights, check out Adam’s article on Ragan. You can also get Blogger Relations 101 here and some useful SEO tips for PR in Optimize.