PR Professional By Day, Blogger By Night: Best Practices for Influencer Marketing

I remember it like yesterday – my first interaction with bloggers. It was 2008, and I was tasked with pitching an annual invention contest for moms on behalf of one of the world’s largest appliance manufacturers. Back then, there were no blogger networks, no blogs listed in a media database, no money exchanged for sponsored posts. It was simply me, Google, and blogrolls.

Through this outreach, I uncovered how influential bloggers could be. It was the first year we had reached out to bloggers to cover this program, and entries and web traffic were at an all-time high. I wondered, what could I be influential about? I had a feeling that this blogger movement was hot, and I couldn’t help but want to join in.

And thus, was born in October of 2008.  I wrote what I knew - deals, restaurants, Broadway shows, and New York. As a PR professional it was interesting to be on “the other side,” and see the pitch process unfold. I began to understand the frustrations of off-topic pitches, slow response times and lack of personalization.

Laura Zanzal

Now, 2,425 posts later, here are my tips when reaching out to bloggers:

 1. Not all women are moms. The amount of times I’ve received pitches calling me a “hot mom” or referencing my kids is absurd. Childless women can be bloggers too. Avoid making generalizations when pitching bloggers.

2. Make bloggers a priority on event lists. I’ve been in meetings before when clients dictate that they want magazines at an event and in the 11th hour, finally make an exception to add bloggers to the mix. As a blogger, we know when you are trying to fill a room because we get the invite that comes the morning of an event. Make bloggers a priority and invite them at the onset. We’re busy too and won’t clear our schedules for a plate of free appetizers and a few glasses of wine.

3. Avoid media databases to build blogger lists.  It’s so easy to log on to a media database and pull a quick blogger list – but often, you won’t get the right people, and not all bloggers are listed. Since I write about Broadway, I’m listed as entertainment and I often end up getting pitches about music videos and concerts: two things I don’t cover. If you need a quick fix when building a media list, consider using an accolade list, such as “top food bloggers” or “top craft bloggers.”

4. Never forget that bloggers talk. The second anyone in my blogging circle gets an invite to an event, we pass it around and see who else is invited, since it is no fun to show up to events alone. Consider inviting guests with a “blogger friend” to expand your network. This ensures a blogger’s attendance, and maximizes coverage.  I’ve introduced several PR people to my blogger network over the year, and as a result, they’ve generated some great pieces of coverage.  

Think you have something that might be a fit for my blog? Pitch me at - just make sure you don’t call me a hot mom.

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