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Blogger outreach is scary

Unlike a few years ago, today everyone at least pays lip service to reaching out to bloggers, the same way that PR people have always reached out to mainstream media. That’s what my company, Gerris digtial, does and lots of other companies try to do it, too. But I am still surprised that many companies don’t do blogger outreach, even today. My conclusion is that what is holding them back is fear. Simply put, blogger outreach is scary.

And it’s not a completely irrational fear. It is true that bloggers are unpredictable and we all know, thanks to posts by the Consumerist and the Bad Pitch Blog, that one false move and you’re public mincemeat.  Publicly shamed, drawn, quartered and, finally, drummed out of the corps.

Actress demonstrating initial reactions of fea...
Image via Wikipedia

We all know this, except that it isn’t so.  The biggest faux pas that most agencies commit when they test the waters with blogger outreach has less to do with the natural meanness of the bloggers  and more to do with the behavior of the agencies.  In many cases, the bad experiences that many agencies blame on the rudeness of the blogger is square on the agency’s shoulders.

It is a case of the abuser blaming the victim, the blogger.

In truth, the blogger often has no context for a PR outreach, has never been part of the publicity machine, and often doesn’t know what’s expected, what proper and improper behavior is, and most often is just behaving naturally and not part of some insidious cabal aimed at defaming you or your brand or your personal reputation.

What’s happening is that a blogger has been blogging for a while, and eventually assumes that nobody’s really reading or paying attention at all. At that point that blogger drops the affectation that this blog is actually for mainstream consumption, develops a small coterie of passionate readers, they become an ad hoc community (maybe a few blogs are part of this evolving tightly-knit emergent family), and then, uninvited, someone who is not part of this close-knit family elbows in and makes a big fuss.

This, often coming across to the bloggers, as “Do you know who I am?” is very rarely taken well, especially after that blogger probably has had to fight insidious attacks from trackback and  comment spam only to receive an email that is poorly-targeted, insensitive, lies about the nature of the reason why he is emailing (“I love your blog and have been reading you for a long time,” when obviously that is not true because the blogger knows everyone who reads his blog), or he even just gets the name wrong, which means that the person who’s doing the outreach isn’t taking the time or attention required to at least give a good college try.

It’s not that the blogger is out to shame and embarrass PR agencies. Most vindictive bloggers are already in the top of the blogosphere and receive hundreds of bad pitches a week. No, the typical blogger would really love to help. It really took a great heap of combined insult to get your client’s and agency’s shame and ineptitude raised up the flag pole for everyone to salute.

Blogger outreach can be scary, but only if you aren’t thinking about it from the blogger’s point of view. If you stop and consider how to make good use of the blogger’s time, you might get what you are looking for with nothing to fear. Feel free to email me at chris@gerr.is or call me at +1 202-351-1235

Learn more about Chris Abraham at Gerris digital.

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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Discussion

  1. Avatar Michael E. Rubin

    Well said, Chris. When conducting blogger relations, it really has to be about giving something first without the expectation of immediate return. The more you can give — whether it be time, credential, status, or access — the more you’ll get in return.

    At your service,
    Michael

    1. Chris Abraham Chris Abraham

      And while it isn’t hard to do that when it is easy to see what the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM), it is harder when the “value” of someone who isn’t an a-lister isn’t clear, and what I am trying to say that, online, you really need — and can — offer concierge service to everyone, and you indeed need to in order for all of this to work — and it works like crazy and really well. It is easy when the person you’re engaging with can immediately make you rich, successful, more popular, etc, but the true nature of the Internet is in the everyone, the network effect. And that’s what I am evangelizing.

  2. links for 2011-09-13 — Chris Abraham

    […] Blogger outreach is scary Unlike a few years ago, today everyone at least pays lip service to reaching out to bloggers the same we PR people have always reached out to mainstream media. That’s what my company, Abraham-Harrison does, and lots of other companies try to do it, too. But I am still surprised that many companies don’t do blogger outreach, even today. My conclusion is that what is holding them back is fear. Simply put, blogger outreach is scary. […]

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