Repeat after me: Bloggers are NOT mainstream media

Wed, Nov 13, 2013

Blogger Outreach, Blogging

Now, I don’t get pitched that much. I’m not a lifestyle blogger, after all. But, I do get a few emails from time to time–”pitches”, if you will.

But the pitches I typically get are far less sexy than those my colleagues on the lifestyle side typically receive (I did some blogger research with my friends at Weber Shandwick earlier this year; if you’re interested, that info is here).

And, they’re off-target in one other key area: They typically treat me the same way they treat mainstream media.

What do I mean?

Blogger Player

One pitch I received a few weeks ago asked me to help promote an event by blogging about said event.

Another talked about an upcoming business awards deal. Again, the pitch was to basically promote the awards for the organization.

These are mainstream media pitches–and, I might add, not the best pitch for mainstream media either.

But, for a blogger, they’re not even remotely on point.

Now I fully realize I’m coming across as the whiny, entitled blogger here, but there’s a bigger point at play here: Bloggers are NOT mainstream media.

We’re just bloggers.

Most of us have “day jobs.”

Some of us only write when we have time.

And others don’t even work in the industry.

All reasons to treat your pitch to bloggers a bit differently.

Like I’ve said before on this blog, the key with bloggers it to first think: “What’s in it for them?” Answer that question, and you’re halfway home.

It also pays to think it terms of collaboration when you’re approaching bloggers–instead of pitching them an event or idea to “cover.” Again, that is mainstream media thinking–we’re talking about bloggers here.

In the examples above, if the “pitcher” would have treated things just a bit differently, their odds of success would have been greatly improved.

For example, they could have taken the following approaches:

Don’t ask bloggers to promote–just give them access and get out of the way

Instead of asking bloggers to PROMOTE an upcoming event, why not ask them to attend said event and then just get out of the gosh-darn way? After all, that’s really what they want–access and “exclusivity.” In my case, this is something I routinely do (write about events I attend), and if the “pitcher” in this case had done their homework beforehand, they would know this ;) Bonus points for giving the blogger access to content or speakers other bloggers/authors wouldn’t have access to (read: the blogger would have an “exclusive” in mainstream media terms).

Don’t ask bloggers to promote–give them exclusivity

Instead of asking the blogger to PROMOTE a local award, why not see if I’d be interested in interviewing and profiling a few of the winners? Again, in my case, if the “pitcher” took just a few moments to flip through my blog, they would have noticed that I do this ALL THE TIME! And, I LOVE to do it! It’s easy content for me and I get to highlight some really smart and great people. This would be a home run pitch for me. And again, all it would have taken, is a few minutes of homework. But, the overall key here is exclusivity. Think of ways you can give bloggers “exclusive” content they can’t get anywhere else. They will gobble that up.

So, to recap, are we all on the same page? Bloggers are NOT mainstream media.

Let’s repeat that: Bloggers are NOT mainstream media.

So let’s stop treating them that way.

They don’t exist to “cover” events for your client.

They don’t exist to help promote your organization.

And they certainly don’t exist to help you.

Bloggers are actually a pretty easy group to figure out. Much like you, they are out for themselves. They are content-hungry. They want unique opportunities.

Think of your blogger outreach in those terms, and I can virtually guarantee you’ll be successful.

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3 comments
ladysportsman
ladysportsman

Arik, I was chatting with a blogger friend of mine and we agree and disagree on points.

 

We agree about the access issue - haven't really thought of it like that before, but you are so right. One of my clients hosts a huge awards party annually and I was thinking of how I could get a blogger "insider access" to this event. The only problem is all of the TV hosts will be drinking and casual and not thinking any members of the media would attend. And then perhaps they would say something they shouldn't say. So...need to think that on through.

 

We disagree on your point that bloggers don't like to be treated like 'mainstream media." In fact, I've found that some bloggers feel disrespected if you DON'T treat them, or consider them, as MM.

 

And I quote my friend:

 

"However, I think the lines of what is Mainstream Media is getting so blurred these days that I'm not sure in a few years it will really matter.   Granted, the motivations an individual blogger may look to gain out of writing is different than MM, but that is not to say all bloggers should be treated equal, either.   Some bloggers actually communicate in a manner as if they are part of the traditional MM--that is their style."

 

I believe I've said to you before - finding a way to effectively reach out to bloggers eludes me. I keep at it, but the genre is so diverse, putting a label that "this works and this doesn't" isn't working.

apearson
apearson

Arik, have to note that a lot of what you're saying people shouldn't do with bloggers they also shouldn't do with so-called "mainstream media" either.  Promote your event?  Not really compelling.