Like many bloggers, I often get pitched by companies and PR firms about new products, services and general news. I’m happy to pitched – I learn about new subjects which, on the whole, are relevant to me, and it also gives me an insight into common PR practices.
We’re all learning about communicating with bloggers. From the blogger’s perspective, one lesson I’d like to share is to avoid the Intimacy Trap. Much is made of pitching irrelevant material to bloggers (and the media), that’s PR 101. I think one risk with pitching bloggers is almost the reverse. Unlike the media, a blogger will share much of his or her personal information in About Me sections, recent experiences, thoughts and opinions about a wide range of topics. It’s easy for a blog reader to feel a strong connection with the blogger even though the two have never corresponded or met. After all, that’s one of the powers of the medium – intimacy.
But when ‘pitching’ a blogger (for want of a better word), communications professionals must remember the asynchronous nature of their relationship. You may know a lot about the blogger but he or she knows nothing about you. So it’s easy to become over-personal, colloquial or even slack in your pitch. This can come across as being forward, lazy or careless, even though that’s not your intent.
My advice is that if you are reaching out to a blogger for the first time, it’s best to keep the tone business-like. The blogger may reply in a more casual manner, in which case you can lower the register and adjust the tone. In the first instance, I’d accord respect to the blogger by being accurate, detailed and economical with your words. At worst you’ll come across as a touch formal which is easy to relax, but if you lead in with ‘Hiya mate, thought I’d bung you over this cool news’ it’s hard to backtrack and reclaim the credibility.
I know it’s easy to feel you know the blogger because you read his or her stuff. But until you do, best to avoid the Intimacy Trap.
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