It doesn’t take a background in journalism anymore to be an influential reporter. Bloggers are online all the time talking about everything. Some of these bloggers are very knowledgeable and may be even more influential than the most prestigious print publication.
Before engaging with bloggers, understand that the blogosphere is somewhat like the Wild West of journalism. By nature bloggers tend to defy rules and aim to be controversial.
Here are the steps to successfully engage with bloggers:
- Take the time to know the blogger before contacting. Read the blog and look at the archive to understand what the blogger has already written about and what interests him. Scan the site for information about how to approach the blogger: by email, Twitter, etc.
- Engage, don’t pitch. Start a conversation with a blogger and be honest about who you are and with what company you’re affiliated. Build a rapport and a relationship.
- Offer the blogger information. Educate the blogger about your industry and deliver information that’s valuable to the blogger. Although you represent your company, share thought leadership about the industry and give the blogger a reason to cover your company or product.
Finally, it’s important to understand that bloggers don’t always conform to journalistic standards. They may be biased, reveal their sources, break an embargo or print something that’s not 100 percent vetted.
However, if you understand the risks and keep the discussion honest, bloggers can be an excellent way to reach your audience.