How You Might View Bloggers

So Close I love reviewing business and “thinkers” type books. I love reviewing all different kinds of things. One reason is that I love the opportunity to write from my perspective, and I’m grateful for those opportunities.

Every now and again, something pokes up, a reminder of how people see bloggers. I was once called “inventory,” as in, that stuff you could put ads up against. Sure takes the wind out of your writerly sails, eh?

Hell, even I sometimes jokingly refer to social media efforts as “Hamburger Helper for your marketing.” Face it: we’re less expensive than traditional paths. One year of services with New Marketing Labs, with all the trimmings, costs less than many agencies’ two-week engagements.

But we are human. (So it seems.)

So, the next time you’re contemplating a blogger outreach program, and if you haven’t contracted me to do it, please pay attention to just a tiny few details, like putting my first name on the letter you include with your book that you’d love for me to review. It’ll make me a wee more interested in helping.

The Little Things

In doing a blogger outreach campaign, please consider a few of these points:

  • Is my product relevant to the blogger’s audience?
  • Is the company/product community-minded? There will be discussions.
  • What has the blogger done before? Any risk potential?
  • What is the blogger’s audience reach? (Check their authority on Technorati, their reach on Compete.com, perhaps their RSS subscriber count, if it’s visible.)
  • Write a personal message. Even if the first part is the only personal part, at least the name and first few lines should be 1:1. (The payload of the data rarely changes, I realize).
  • Follow up. Even though the blogger should be compelled to reach out and thank you the moment they receive what you’ve sent them, it doesn’t often work that way. Politely check in.
  • Follow back. When a week has passed, double-check that there aren’t questions and the like.
  • Follow through. When (if?) a post finally comes about, be sure to drop by and comment a simple something or other, to show the audience (not the blogger) that you’re responsive and that you care about the community. This often amps up the discussion in a good way.

Now, if you want the bonus round, read Susan Getgood. She’s building quite a body of work about blogger relations. Wherever my ideas contradict hers, use hers.

**Update: I found this piece by Todd Defren really good, too.**

I know it seems like this post is stacked against marketers and PR people. I’m on both sides of this particular fence. I do blogger outreach projects, as well. Maybe, you might consider this my offering of advice to you. Or, if you see it as a slap at you, I can understand that. Either way, maybe we’ll all learn a bit.

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