This is a guest post from Christina Klenotic. Christina is a vice president at Dix & Eaton who specializes in digital communications, media relations and guerrilla marketing. You can visit Christina on Twitter or visit her on her blog, Beyond Social.

It’s been just over 30 days since Mom Dot launched its PR Blackout Challenge. The controversy was covered by a number of bloggers and mainstream media, including Danny Brown, Dave Fleet, Newsweek and PBS. So what have we learned?

As a PR professional who routinely works with clients on traditional and blogger relations campaigns, my most important takeaway is that pitching media bloggers and working with indie/mommy bloggers are two very different things. Here are four reasons why:

Not all bloggers are journalists

Outreach to indie bloggers who are not tied to a media outlet, like mommy bloggers, should be much different than traditional PR pitching to media bloggers. Think of the word “pitch” as a swear word. Instead, engage bloggers in conversation to forge a relationship and accept their honest feedback when they give it.

For moms who write about their experiences as a mom and occasionally pimp out a brand they love, more often than not a giveaway in exchange for an unbiased review is the way to go. The benefit to a company is that an influencer of its target audience will serve as a one-woman focus group about its experience. Blog followers who chime in after a post with their own feedback are a bonus.

Commercial blogging is here to stay

The evolving commercial momosphere was a hot topic during July’s BlogHer Business conference. While the controversy over the concept of mommy blogging becoming too commercial is not expected to dissipate anytime soon, there is an audience of bloggers who embrace their mommy blogger label and also welcome working with PR pros.

Transparency is non-negotiable

Because mommy blogger endorsements are under the microscope, it’s paramount for both PR professionals and bloggers to disclose expectations and commercial ties up front. Following the FTC’s guidelines for blog product endorsements is the only option that preserves credibility on both sides and is fair to readers.

Strategic targeting is essential

More than ever before, PR pros need to be very savvy in helping clients select the right bloggers to approach who can make a positive impact on potential customers. Mommy bloggers are not homogenized. Some write about their experience as a mom related to a niche such as travel, home improvement, work/life balance, etc. It’s a no-brainer that reading and following a blog is the only way to get a sense of whether a blog’s target audience and your client’s are a good fit.

Thoughts?

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
38 comments
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murrayrossnewlands
murrayrossnewlands

AS a blogger I am happy to get pitched by companies with relevant information that I share with my readers. It is down to the relevance of the pitch and the nature of my blog. I also get lots to irrelevant pitches that go straight into the trash.

marcoschueller
marcoschueller

Liked: "Blogger Outreach 2.0" How to approach professional media bloggers and indie bloggers. http://ow.ly/okXm #marketing #blog
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Danny Brown
Danny Brown

That's exactly what the post suggests. Knowing the blogger, seeing if he or she is a fit, engaging a conversation and forging relationships. It's what all PR people should be doing (and, to be fair, all the good ones are, and have been doing so for a while).

Building Materials & Supplies
Building Materials & Supplies

Instead of going this route, why not build up a rapport, a relationship, and you never know where this could go to

Building Materials & Supplies
Building Materials & Supplies

Instead of going this route, why not build up a rapport, a relationship, and you never know where this could go to
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Danny Brown
Danny Brown

That's a great point you make, Laurent - too many agencies go with the blogger that's "right for us at that time". Instead of going this route, why not build up a rapport, a relationship, and you never know - a blogger may just drop out of their "comfort zone" to help you out.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

One of my pet hates is "biz talk", or gobbledygook words or phrases. One of the first things I advise clients is talk with your audience, not to them. There's a big difference, and gobbledygook plays a large part in that.

It's no different from approaching a blogger - unless you know their language, you don't know anything.

CTK1
CTK1

Right on! Great post darling!

"PR pros need to be very savvy in helping clients select the right bloggers to approach who can make a positive impact on potential customers"

Would rule me out as a guest blogger though :=)))!

CTK1
CTK1

Right on! Great post darling!

"PR pros need to be very savvy in helping clients select the right bloggers to approach who can make a positive impact on potential customers"

Would rule me out as a guest blogger though :=)))!

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Chuck Hemann
Chuck Hemann

I think what John, Danny and Christina have hit on in the post and comments is really essential to understand...the development of relationships and strategic targeting are the bedrock of any traditional or media relations campaign. If you're reaching out to the wrong people (by wrong I mean cannot move the needle), where do you think your campaign will go?

And I'm not just saying this because I do research for a living either :-)

Thanks, Danny, for always providing content on your blog that makes us think.

laurent
laurent

Good points.
To me it starts with being relevant so before any outreach, building the right list is essential. This one step will eliminate 90% or more of the crap and blind pitch that's still happening out there.
Also if possible, getting away from the one time/one campaign outreach and moving into an ongoing relationship dialog with relevant bloggers is a +
L

Christina Klenotic
Christina Klenotic

Danny, good point that not all moms who blog class themselves as mommy bloggers.

Readingtofour, we've reached out to independent bloggers who have said they're not interested in working with PR professionals, and we respect their decision. As Danny said, we all have a choice: to read or not read a blog, to partner with companies or not, to spam bloggers or carefully target those who could be a good fit.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

I think it can come down to perception and acceptance. The mommy bloggers (or any other niche blogging community) that PR is targeting or approaching are usually the ones that are a match for their products or clients. The "power" to accept or reject a PR pitch is always down to the blogger - so it's down to personal choice whether you're a blogger that accepts ads and products, or not.

It may be that there are two different terms needed now - from conversations with numerous moms, not all bloggers who are moms class themselves as "mommy bloggers", more "moms who blog".

Companies are always going to advertise products; how they do that continues to change and I think we'll see even more niches (kiddy blogger?) soon. Then it's down to choosing whether to work with PR or stay a PR-free blog.

johnhaydon
johnhaydon

This post can be used as a strategic blueprint for companies looking to "pitch" bloggers.

I worked with a client recently who had a product release happening in 30 days. They wanted me to help them develop a "blogger outreach" strategy for this product. I recommended that they begin to read relevant blogs - in preparation for the next product release, but scratch "blogger outreach" off their current 30-day goal. Building up a relationship with bloggers months in advance is the only way to lay a foundation for success.

readingtofour
readingtofour

But isn't all the PR going to indanger the life of blogging for "mommies?" Seriously, I am a "mommy blogger" and I really don't like all the PR that is going on. When I come across another mommy blog and all they ever do is review products and do giveaways, I simply click out. I don't have time for commercials, and that is what they seem like. Eventually more will be doing the same, tired of having things sold to them. I hope that the mommy blogging world will back off all the PR.

johnhaydon
johnhaydon

This post can be used as a strategic blueprint for companies looking to "pitch" bloggers.

I worked with a client recently who had a product release happening in 30 days. They wanted me to help them develop a "blogger outreach" strategy for this product. I recommended that they begin to read relevant blogs - in preparation for the next product release, but scratch "blogger outreach" off their current 30-day goal. Building up a relationship with bloggers months in advance is the only way to lay a foundation for success.
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Leavingcubicle
Leavingcubicle

Blogger Outreach 2.0: Some write about their experience as a mom related to a niche such as travel, home improve.. http://bit.ly/8ziWR
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csledzik
csledzik

Christina,
Great points re: bloggers aren't journalists & strategic targeting.

Though I don't find myself regularly *pitching* bloggers, you're right to say that approaching them is much different than reporters/editors who are used to getting their content from PR folks. Mostly bloggers write about themselves and their experiences, so asking them to write about your (client's) product/service means asking them to go outside the norm.

...that is, unless you've done youre research and know which bloggers to target. If they're regularly posting about stuff you or your client want coverage of, then this isn't much of a stretch. Completing that research and engaging with the blogger ahead of time is essential though. Great thoughts.

-- "Sledzik Comment" of the day