Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

How to Pitch Bloggers: Quick Notes from the New Communication Forum

Posted by Candida Kutz - January 28, 2005

by Tom Foremski for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

I went to the workshop on how to pitch to bloggers, which I thought might be so bad as to actually be good; but, actually, it was good-good!

The workshop was presented by Alice Marshall, founder of Presto Vivace Communications. Presented to you here are some of her insights:

+ It is OK to pay bloggers to review a product; but you must disclose that fact, and not only disclose it, but brag about it very visibly on your web site. Make sure the blogger discloses it too.

+ There is an A-list, or what [I] call the "Box-Office" of blogs, and competition to reach them is fierce. It's better to look at who the box office bloggers are linking to; because that's who they are reading, and those are the bloggers you should pitch to.

+ [You can] tell a large newspaper that they should cover a story because several of the leading bloggers are covering it -- that is something that has worked for [me] in the past.

+ Do not lie. You will be found out and exposed.

+ Try to do some original reporting, because other bloggers will link to you. If you go to an event, write up a report. You will find out how difficult a reporter's job is -- making those deadlines. It takes [me] at least a week to write up a report on an event.

+ Offer exclusives and access to company executives to bloggers; but make sure that the information is exclusive. This is also a way to push bloggers into acting: by putting a deadline on the exclusive story.

+ Read the blogs and leave comments -- those are always appreciated and build goodwill.

+ Don't be afraid to make a mistake; a lot of this is new, and you will make mistakes. That's OK; but make sure that you highlight them.

+ Do not travel under false colors. It's a huge mistake and you will be found out.

+ Salespeople usually try to be direct and honest, and do not want spin. They want a happy customer, because referrals are so important to sales. Engineers can be worse, because they get religious about things.

+ Blogging is great, because it means we are no longer at the mercy of a small group of editors who control the news outlets.

+ Clients of PR companies do not pay for mentions on blogs; but I think that they should, and I think that will happen.

+ Keep your moral soul! Do not use underhanded techniques.

+ We have to remember that blogging is still new and there is so much more to discover. It's as if we discovered America, and have just landed on the beach and are trying to explain it to people back in Europe.

Links:

Presto Vivace Communications

Alice Marshall's Technoflak blog

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