How to Get Bloggers to Write About your Business
by Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
- Created: December 30, 2009, 6:36 pm
Want to give your company a higher profile online? If starting your own blog seems like too big of a commitment for your business, don't worry. You don't have to start your own blog to get publicity-you just have to get mentioned in someone else's blog.
Before you begin your quest to get blogged about, it's important to understand a few things about blogs. Most successful bloggers post new content at least two or three times a week. Of course, many of them post much more frequently than that-several times a day isn't unusual. That means bloggers are always hungry for new information to write about.
Capturing a blogger's interest is similar to getting a journalist's attention was in the 'old days' when print newspapers and magazines were the only game in town. Your PR attempts will be more successful if you pinpoint specific bloggers who are relevant to your industry or your business.
Before you make your list of bloggers to approach, think about the kind of publicity you want to get. Do you want to get your product reviewed? Do you want to be seen as an expert by others in your industry? Do you want to be mentioned in a blog that's widely read by your target customers, by potential business colleagues or by influential people in your industry? You may want all, or just some of these things.
Once you know your goals, make a list of bloggers who might be interested in your business. Include industry blogs you already read, and ask business colleagues what blogs they like.
Alltop.com is a good place to look for blogs. This site aggregates the latest stories from the best sites and blogs that cover topics ranging from adoption to zoology. Alltop's blogs are chosen somewhat subjectively, although the site does include the most respected blogs in each category.
You'll also want to check out Technorati.com. This site's blog directory lists sites in a range of categories and ranks them based on their 'authority' or influence within the 'blogosphere' (the universe of blogs). Knowing a site's authority is important because you should target sites that are widely read and respected. Today, when even niche topics like 'bacon' have dozens of blogs devoted to them, you need to narrow your focus or you'll get overwhelmed by the options.
Once you've got a shortlist of possible blogs, start reading them regularly. Get familiar with the topics the bloggers write about, the kinds of readers they attract, and their general approach (snarky? enthusiastic? reportorial?).
After you've been reading for a while, start posting comments on your target blogs. Be sure your comments don't sound like blatant pitches for your business, but are actually relevant to the blog posts and contain useful information that others can learn from (of course, you'll want to include key information like your name, business name and what you do). By posting intelligent comments regularly and responding to others' comments, you'll become part of the blog's community. That means the blogger (and his or her readers) is getting to know you and trust you.
Now, it's time to start pitching the bloggers-a process that's similar to the way you'd pitch newspaper or magazine journalists. Blogs generally tell you how the blogger wants to be approached-maybe they want you to e-mail, or Tweet-but as a former magazine editor and current blogger, let me tell you that what matters most isn't the medium you use. What matters is making your pitch relevant and tailoring it to the blogger's needs.
If a blogger writes about technology but doesn't review products, don't ask him or her to review your new software. If a blogger writes about baby boomers, don't expect him or her to write about your new Web site for toddlers. Beyond these basics, be aware of what topics the blog has recently covered so you don't pitch the same idea they've just written about.
Do your best to make it easy on the blogger. Bloggers work under extreme time pressure, so the easier you make it for them to cut, paste and link to your information, they're more likely to use it. If your press releases are on your Web site or other PR site, include a link to the release. Also include links to any relevant info not included in the release, such as product photos or where readers can order.
Bloggers not only want new topics to write about, they also want to write posts that will attract lots of eyeballs to their sites. The most popular blog posts are typically those that tie in to a current event (What Business Owners Can Learn from the Tiger Woods Scandal, or What Health Care Reform Will Really Mean to Small Business). Numbered lists, rankings and tips, such as '10 Best Restaurants in Boston,' '5 Ways to Make Money from Home,' or '100 Quick Ideas for Greening Your Business' are especially popular, too. Tie your pitches to the latest news, or use bullets and numbered lists to grab the blogger's attention.
Bloggers love controversial ideas, because they spark interest and discussion. Have you discovered something that goes against the conventional wisdom, or are you using a marketing tactic that might surprise or offend some people? Bloggers will want to know about it.
Finally, bloggers are always eager for statistics, surveys and reports. Has your company done a survey of customers that revealed some surprising or useful information? Can you compile that data into relevant reports? For instance, SurePayroll.com, a payroll service for small businesses, has garnered lots of publicity by releasing monthly reports on the state of small-business employment. You can even increase interest by offering one blogger exclusive rights to 'break the news' about your survey.
When interacting with bloggers, be polite, helpful and deliver what you say you'll do. The blogosphere is a small world where word spreads fast, so you don't want to get on anyone's bad side.
Speaking of spreading the word, once your business gets mentioned in a blog, maximize your publicity by posting links to the blog on your Web site and on any social media sites you use, Tweeting it and mentioning it in your e-mail newsletter or other marketing materials. The more you promote the mention, the more people that will visit the blog to read about you-which benefits both you and the blogger.
Last, but not least, remember to thank the blogger for the mention. All it takes is a quick e-mail, so there's really no excuse not to.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva on Twitter @Rieva. Visit SmallBizDaily.com to read more of Rieva's insights on small business and to buy her newest book, Marketing 101: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Business.
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