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How to engage a blogger?

I have had many invitations from pr agencies, companies and all for the past few years. While some were just plain rude, there were some who really did a great job.

As someone who is pretty new in the pr industry, I now understand why some agencies make these mistakes. Here’s some tips of how I would like to be engaged. My humble opinion lah.

1) Introduce yourself

If it is the first time you are sending an invite/press release to a blogger and you have had never spoken to him/her before, it would be nice if you introduce yourself. It would also be nice to show that you actually read the blogger’s blog and actually have an inkling about him or her.

A good example would be:

“Hi Nadia!

First of all, let me introduce myself. I’m Crystel from XYZ Agency and we’re currently representing ABC cosmetics. I saw that you wrote about Majolica Majorca cosmetics recently and I really enjoyed the tutorial you did on how to obtain the smokey eyes look.

I was just wondering, would you be keen to attend our latest product launch? We will be launching the glitzy chapter which would consist of shimmery eyeshadows and glitter eyeliners. We would love to have you try these cosmetics and also share the experience with your readers!….”

Obviously this is fictional. But if this was true, Crystel would have done the following:

– Introduce herself, her company and the brand she’s representing

– Showed that she has actually read my blog and understood the contents

– Introduced the newest range of products

– Invited me to the event and has subtly hinted for a follow up blog entry.

In this way, even if I was not free to attend the event, I would have either asked her to send me the press release so that I could find out more about the products.

2) Don’t anyhow shoot lah.

Look at the relevancy of the products/services with the blogger. If a blogger specialises in food entries only i.e. a food blogger, would you invite him/her to a tech event?

Yes and No.

Look for an angle. It’s like how you pitch to traditional media. You always look for angles.

Ogilvy thought out of the box for one of their Canon events. They invited lifestyle, tech and food bloggers to a printer event where there was a food and photography talk. We had fun learning how to take pictures of food (which we arraged ourselves) and we could print them out with the printers available.

In this case, they made such an “unsexy” product event very fun and enjoyable.

3) It’s all about the experience.

Bloggers are not journalists, well not all of them. While most journalists prefer to go to an event where the information is there, where they get to play with the products, find out more about numbers (revenue numbers etc) etc. Imho, they like it straightforward.

Whereas bloggers like me, where we do not specialise in certain topics are loosely termed as lifestyle bloggers, may not like the straightforward approach. I prefer the experiential approach. Let me experience the product or service. An example would be the Canon event mentioned above, another would be when KLM engaged me for an advertorial. They flew me to Bali, let me experience Bali and the whole airline experience.

While it might be different for other bloggers, I prefer writing about the experience rather than just copying and pasting information.

4) Do not spam

This PR Agency has spammed me countless of times despite me telling them I was not interested in their products or their events. Guys, if a blogger/media says he/she is NOT interested and to remove us from your mailing list, please do so. Continuing to do so will just anger them.

I seriously feel like having a “Wall of Shame” entry for such companies.

5) Follow up

After you have invited the blogger to the event. Follow up. NOT by persistently asking when we are gonna blog about the event, which we are not obliged to do so. Follow up by asking for feedback about the event or share pictures that were taken or offer products to review.

But most of all, try to be friends with us. Honestly, it does work. Be it for traditional or new media, having a great relationship never did hurt. 😉

Hope this entry will prove useful for you. 🙂

Comments

  1. Great write up, i agree with the points! and most importantly, do not address us as “Dear blogger”, at least have the basic courtesy to find out what is our name :p

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  2. Hi sweetie! 🙂

    I agree with what you have written. I think the PR personnel who ever contacted me once should read this post of yours.

    I was rolling my eyes when I read the mail, with an explicit request of “need you to blog regularly on the use of the XXX products…… etc etc”, after I attend the event / try the products.

    I was peeved out by the word ‘regularly’. I’m not their ambassador. Neither I have tried the product long enough to love and believe in its benefits to blog willingly about it. I couldn’t make the promise to that PR person to blog regularly mann, and had to give a subtle hint. Gosh….

    So anyway, this blog post of yours deserves 100000000000 thumbs-up! Hehehe! :p

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  3. Great post, nad!

    I was about to write on the same topic. This is about time PR agencies sit up and start listening. I’ve been hearing a lot of horror stories recently and have a few encounters myself.

    Of course… ahhem… I certainly hope I will never fall into one of the categories above. But before all the bloggers start to name and shame, PR agencies had better start knowing and addressing their names appropriately.

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  4. Brilliant share babe, appreciate the Ogilvy shout out too 🙂
    This should definitely be in every influencer engagement 101 guide. Its just about common sense and people skills, people have to get that sometimes. Hope you’re doing alright, haven’t seen you in a while.

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  5. And months later, you’re still getting comments on this post 😉

    Hey, hope you’re doing well and glad to hear that you enjoyed the Canon events. I’m not with Ogilvy anymore, but do stay in touch. Take care babe, haven’t seen you around in ages!

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  6. love this post. definitely a must share, so i’m going to post it across all my social media networks hurhurhur. 😉 (okay, except plurk cos wrong audience there). 😛

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  7. I find it very interesting that bloggers are blogging how PR should or should not pitch to them, but you don’t get the journalists writing about how PR should or should not pitch to them.

    Bloggers posting on how PR should pitch to them is a good thing as it gives them a insight to understand the blogger. Same goes for media.

    Btw, I need you to blog about.. lol.. opps.. wrong post..

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  8. Excellent Blog post. I came across it because someone posted it to the PR Professionals Group.

    It’s about time Blogger Relations was on the same footing as media and community relations; a.k.a just as important!

    From a PR perspective some of the things I do before approaching a blogger is exactly what you mention, read a bloggers posts before you even find yourself needing anything!

    When it comes time to approaching a blogger for any work related reason, I always read the about page to understand a bloggers likes/dislikes. I also like it when there is a private email address so you can introduce yourself professionally and in a courteous way.

    One thing which I also like from a blogger is when they are open an honest about whether they write freely or are writing an adverterial. It always helps when a blogger states their position on product endorsements and form of payment. Some of the best and most entertaining blog posts I have read are from bloggers who have blogged warts and all about certain things.

    Of course, that being said, when a blogger or anyone else turns up to an event, forwards an invite, posts an event listing etc, I stress to my clients that a token of appreciation goes a long way. It can be as little as a personalised thank you note. After all isn’t that just good manners!

    thanks for the insights – brent

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  9. It is amazing that something so simple has to be taught. Maybe it is the Internet. People just do not write properly anymore with a Dear Sir or Madam… and all the nice bits of small talk before asking for a favour.

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