The real answer to the question, “How do I get placement on blogs?” is simple: You don’t.Read the whole thing - it's pretty good.
Jason, like Susan Getgood and Todd Defren and Kami Huyse (and if I may be so bold, me) is essentially saying that you have to tap into the passions of an individual blogger to engage them, and you can't expect results like you would a traditional media pitch. It's a solid summary of best practices.
But the more I think about it, the more I think we have to scrap the whole model - PR pro's have to stop thinking about blogger outreach as media relations, and start thinking about it as coalition-building or ally development.
The easiest way to get a "placement" on a blog has always been buying an ad. If blogs are such important online properties with growing readerships, then buy the ad and use the metrics commonly associated with advertising. The better your ad, the better your response.
Of course, Some clients will still demand "earned placements," and a lot of them. And they don't particularly care if a blogger isn't passionate about the pitch topic. So we're faced with a few choices:
- Become a glorified direct-mail service and just blast-email every blogger you can find;
- Sell your soul and set up a bunch of fake spam blogs or hire pay per post;
- Push back on the client because you can't possibly do the job given the restrictions; or
- Anticipate the needs of your clients and build relationships in advance.
If you're actively pursuing option 4, you either work with me or you should. I ask my team to explore online communities, learn more about the subject matter, join the discussions and build relationships there before they ever have to worry about "pitching" anyone. I also think it helps if the people on my team have some input on which communities they explore - so they have a natural passion for the subject matter and they're able to be themselves.
Typically, when a client calls, they can't give us the time it takes to build relationships and alliances in online communities transparently and credibly. So to the degree possible, we're taking care of that step right now, doing the things we enjoy most. Today, I try to "pitch" as little as possible - I'd much rather reach out to people who already know me.
Of course, I realize some people are saying reaching out to bloggers isn't important at all, given some research that suggests bloggers aren't trusted, while "peers" or "friends" are. I think that actually flies in the face of reality. While I don't think "technorati rank" is an accurate assessment of influence, within communities, bloggers are often peers or even friends. And since we know that journalists are relying on blogs more for story ideas and sources, and more leading bloggers are prominent beyond their own blogs, I think building relationships organically makes a lot of sense - "placements" may follow.