One of the central tenets of Blogger Relations is that the PR pro should develop a relationship with their so-called “target.” Bloggers (and mainstream journalists, for that matter!) generally don’t care for cold-calls, particularly if the pitch is irrelevant to their beat. Remember, most bloggers are “passionate experts,” and that passion leads them to think that you really ought to care about their brilliant musings!
As I’ve written before, this relationship-building is both tough to scale and to maintain, but is still mandatory practice.
But how long must you cultivate relationships with bloggers before you get up the gumption to make your pitch?
Quick answer: it depends. It depends on the blogger, it depends on the pitch. A brilliant and spot-on pitch might be enough to convince a blogger to give the PR pro a pass on the whole relationship-building thing. And anyway, some bloggers are still so pumped to be noticed (and pitched) in the 1st place, they don’t think twice about the fact that they’d never heard from the PR pro before. It depends, it depends.
Given this unchanging level of uncertainty about “how long is long enough,” it’s worth wondering if the ever-changing dynamics of PR, personal branding, and social interaction might evolve the concept of Blogger Relations.
As a reader of PR-Squared recently commented, “In today’s world of instant access to information, the relationship-building process doesn’t have to take as long as it used to…”
In other words, maybe it is becoming a little bit less important that the PR pro develop a day-to-day relationship with the blogger, and more important that they establish a personal brand that suggests to the targeted blogger that “this is someone I can trust.”
Think about it: the blogger gets a pitch. “Who is this person? Why are they pitching me? What’s their agenda?” A Google search reveals the PR person’s blog, their agency affiliation, their Twitter handle. “Hmm, she looks like a decent sort, actually; I can tell she means well, by looking at her interactions online. OK – now, what did she pitch me about, again?”
This personal brand potency is NOT an excuse to NOT develop a relationship: in all cases, a realtionship-building approach is absolutely, positively preferred!! After all, the PR pro can’t presume that the blogger will perform that Google search. And, dammit, the pitch better be dead-on relevant!
But, in our hustle-bustle to get results, a strong online presence for the PR person might short-circuit the need for a strong and lasting bond with every single blogger.
Before you suggest that this post (potentially) sends the message to some numbskull that they don’t have to develop a relationship so long as they “tweet a lot,” keep in mind that a.) I’m assaying some bleeding-edge thinking here, about how personal branding might change the nature of PR tactics … and b.) numbskulls don’t read this blog.
Posted on: January 27, 2009 at 9:08 am By Todd Defren