This is a cross-post from my company blog.

Blogger outreach is serious business. But it is also hard work. If you underestimate the level of research and personalization needed to do it well, you will fail. Okay, maybe you won’t fail, but you will limit the level of success that could potentially be obtained with a thoughtful, smart and engaging strategy that is not about you as much as it is the individual blogger and his or her audience.

The term “blogger outreach” is being thrown around a great deal, and from what I can tell, many see it as an extension of media relations. Well, it isn’t. Not from my perspective. And here’s why my perspective is valid:

  • I worked in broadcast, print and online news for 16 years, many of them as an assignment manager who received and discarded tons of pitches from PR professionals.
  • I am a blogger who is pitched from time-to-time.
  • I managed an online community that was quite averse to outside marketing.

You still with me? Good. Allow me to highlight two key differences in reaching out to journalists and bloggers.

Journalists require minimal personalization. What I mean by this is you can send 15 journalists the same press release. As long as you know the topics and industries they cover and you align your pitch accordingly, you can send a blast with very little personalization.

You have to know much more about a blogger before you pitch. With bloggers, topics and industries are not enough. You have to ask yourself these types of questions, and then find the answers before you even begin to craft the pitch:

  • Do they write product reviews?
  • Do they respond to press releases?
  • Who is their audience?
  • What have they written about in the last 30,60, 90 days?
  • Do they have issues with my client or my clients products/services/beliefs?
  • Do they endorse products and services?

And this is just to name a few. Let me highlight another difference between bloggers and journalists:

If you send a blogger a poor pitch, that might not be the end of it. They may write about it, post your words in an entire post and highlight your mistakes for the world to see. Sure journalists laugh about bad pitches all the time and may even circulate it around the newsroom to give everyone else a few chuckles, but they’d never make it public. That’s just now how it works.

You see how this is not the same? Your blogger communications must be personal. You have to have some clue about the blogger, their approach, style and interests to increase your chances of gaining their attention. If you’re reaching out to ten bloggers, you have to perform this research ten times. You have to get to know their space, because there is no way around it if you want to be effective.

One final thing to keep in mind: Your effectiveness will depend on your news, product or service and some will be easier than others. Ford can absolutely get bloggers to test drive a new model. Tech bloggers will be inclined to test a new product by Microsoft or Apple. And mommy bloggers with an affinity for a particular brand may be very willing to write about products that brand produces.

I am not saying those guys have it easy because they don’t. I just want to point out that blogger outreach initiatives should be crafted by people who understand the method to the madness and who don’t crack under pressure or roll over and cry when the rejections start coming in.

They must know how to refocus, consider a different approach and buckle up for a longer ride. Blogger outreach is strategic, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.