Nick Wreden, author of FusionBranding: How to Forge Your Brand for the Future and international branding expert, offers seven tips for those who seek to communicate a brand story through blogs,
– Never pitch, personalize: A long-standing tenet of effective PR has been to read the publication and, ideally, the reporter’s work. That has been like preaching abstinence to teens: great in theory, but not very applicable to the real world. No PR person could be expected to read all publications pertaining to a company or an industry, much less of a reporter’s work. But a blog has everything a blogger has written, complemented by relevant links. There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing what a blogger’s passions and idiosyncrasies are before you converse about – not pitch – a concept
– Respect a blogger’s time and intelligence: Start emails with an informative subject line. “Press release” is grounds for immediate deletion. Make emails short and concise. Avoid attachments. Especially avoid PowerPoint attachments. Wreden says, ‘€œIf anyone can show me a corporate PowerPoint presentation that was worth the bandwidth, I will personally clean your cat’s litterbox for a month.’€? Do not send HTML email, which has dangerous potential. Do not kowtow; remember it’s a conversation. No more “read your great post” or other pick-up lines. Do not send an email to a blogger until your Web site is in order, with the information and a contact easy to find and read.
– “A blog is not about you, it is about me:” Never, ever use the words, “I think your readers would be interested in this story.” To a large extent, bloggers are more interested in a point of view or the power of an idea than they are “readers.” While the thought of a worldwide audience is certainly an ego rush, many bloggers would continue blogging for an audience of one. Think less about what I can do for you and more about what you can do for me. Can you get immediate access to a top exec? Provide a customer to talk? What about metrics?
– Quality, not quantity: Here’s a new rule for agencies. Never send out more than one or two communications to blogs a day. Use the remaining time to research the industry and relevant issues, study the blogger’s hot buttons and craft a finely tuned email. Make the email seem like it’s coming from a knowledgeable best friend, not a direct mail house.
– Feed the food chain: In the distant days when Wreden had a PR agency, clients would ask, “How do I make the cover of BusinessWeek?” His response: First make the cover of their industry publication, and inevitably coverage in better-known publications will follow. Already, almost every industry has its blogging superstars, the go-to bloggers for both insight and buzz. Instead of stuffing their inbox, start by conversing with the bloggers who are likely being read by the superstar. That’s not hard; just read blogrolls of the superstars.
– It’s no longer just about the media: Many PR professionals focus on the prominent journalists and influencers who have blogs. That is understandable. But remember that customers, prospects, suppliers, industry associations and others who can influence your brand also have blogs. Converse intelligently with them as well.
– Keep learning: According to a blog monitoring organization, the number of blogs worth tracking has grown from 1.5 million to 7.5 million in less than six months. This emerging field is changing so fast that even these tips will have to be revised in a year. Keep up by reading the blogs of experienced professionals.
(via media release)