Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Don't Call Me Cleveland - Working With Bloggers

Pearls Before Swine is an amazing cartoon. Read it.
A funny conversation happened on Twitter today, and it hit on something as a blogger, irritates me to no end. Honestly, it irritates me in real life, you know that place with fresh air and a little sunshine, as well.

I have received numerous blog pitches (people/companies wanted me to hawk their product on my little bloggity blog), with the introduction of "Hello Cleveland." There are certainly much worse things to be called than my hometown, and in fairness, my name isn't listed anywhere.

But, when I respond to an email, signed with my name, and I am referred to as Cleveland again, or the dreaded, Dear Blogger, you go right to the virtual circular file.

Bloggers are no longer the techno nuts rambling on about which Star Fleet Captain was the best (ok, some, like my cousin do). Bloggers are everyone. Moms and dads, sports nuts, professional people looking for a way to connect to their community - no matter how far from home that might be.

Bloggers are also a great resource to share your message about your event, your nonprofit or your home grown product. But, here is a little understood fact - bloggers are also professional people.

Here are a few tips if you want to enlist the army of bloggers in your area:

1.   When you connect to the blogger, remember it is a person. Use their name.

2.   Some bloggers are waaaaay organized with their own editorial calendars. If you have a pitch, toss  it to them at least 6 weeks before the event.  Don't get cranky pants if they can't fit you in. Bloggers also talk.

3.   Don't offer a product or service for a blogger to promote if it doesn't fit with their blog. Case in point - I had someone that sent me numerous emails to promote a scrapbooking software. Never have I ever, except for right now, talked about scrapbooking. If you read a few of my posts, you could see that.

4.  Read the blog before you send something to the blogger. It is frustrating for someone to send me an email and then ask me what my blog is about.

5.   Offer the blogger something. Look, we are all pretty good people, but if you want me to promote your event, a pair of tickets would be nice. My favorite giveaway so far was from GVArtwork. I got a t and got to give one away. Awesome fit.

6.  Don't ask for editorial control of a blog. Look, you wouldn't go to the NYTimes and demand editorial control of an article, so why would you ask a blogger that?

7.  Expect a blogger to be honest. The Feds require a blogger to state that they were somehow compensated if that was the case. If you blogger doesn't, they might be a bit on the shady side. Also, understand, if your product is stinky, you run the risk of a blogger saying that. You get what you get and don't throw a fit.

8.  Be timely and give your bloggers more info than they would ever need. Everyone has a different writing style, and there may be different interests in your product from blogger to blogger.

9.  Don't ask for too much. Here is another pitch gone crazy. I received a pitch from a UK energy shot company. In return for one 5 ounce sample, they wanted 3 blog posts (which they had control over), ads on my blog, and a week worth of tweets and facebook posts. Umm...no.

10.  Have fun. Remember, (points above), bloggers are professional people, with jobs and families and skills you never dreamed of. Treat them the same way you would treat anyone else from the media.

What else do you have to add?

Cartoon by Dave Walker.

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