Alexandra Kirsch and the Perfect Blogger Pitch

Alexandra Kirsch of Planned Televison ArtsYesterday I shared two posts I thought you should read over at the Spin Sucks blog.

One of them was by Gini Dietrich and looked at how the PR industry is letting itself down when it comes to blogger outreach programs.

This post in particular has sparked a great debate in the comments section on good PR, poor PR and more. It’s a great read and well worth checking out.

Today, I want to share an example of a great blogger outreach program – perhaps one of the best I’ve seen. Why is it so good? Read on.

Knowing the Blogger

Last week I received an email from Alexandra Kirsch, Social Media Coordinator for Planned Television Arts. Alexandra was reaching out to bloggers about the upcoming Greg Verdino book, microMARKETING: Get Big Results by Acting and Thinking Small.

A little side-note here. I used to review books on this blog but I stopped last year, after getting tired of the same old copy/paste press releases and books that weren’t right for this blog’s readers.

Alexandra changed my mind.

Her email was personal and it was clear that she knew each blogger she was reaching out to (Greg’s book is being reviewed by various bloggers, a chapter at a time – you can find out more here).

A couple of examples from Alexandra’s email:

Hi Danny,

I’m working with Aaron Strout and Greg Verdino from Powered, Inc. on Greg’s new book, microMARKETING: Get Big Results by Thinking and Acting Small, and they thought that you would be a perfect fit to do one of the chapter-by-chapter reviews.

Because of your experience using the Internet and new media to raise money, in addition to your work with large companies like IBM, FedEX, and RIM, Chapter 7, “From Reach to Relationships: Activating the Many by Resonating with the Right Few,” seemed like it would resonate well with your audience.

Why do I like this? Simple.

From the off, it’s personal and a clear explanation of why Alexandra is contacting me. Additionally, whether Alexandra follows my blog or not, she’s taken the time to do the research and find out about me and my readers.

She then ties that into a personalized approach, which is a huge breath of fresh air from the standard mass mailing one.

Connecting the Story

If you look at the opening paragraph of Alexandra’s email above, you’ll see reference to “chapter-by-chapter reviews”. This is a pretty cool approach by Greg and Planned Television Arts.

By reaching out to bloggers who are relevant for the different parts of the book, it offers a far better chance of getting a review from someone who knows what they’re talking about.

Additionally, the readers of that blogger are already interested in the review, since that’s what they’ve been reading about for however long they’ve been reading that blog. In Alexandra’s own words:

In essence, the chapter-by-chapter review process is a way for us to offer experts in each area the opportunity to review chapters that correlate directly with their area(s) of expertise and interest. We’re also taking this approach to avoid having several bloggers reviewing the book in a general way all at once. We know that is no fun for you. Hopefully this approach gives you a little exclusive room to flex your expertise.

So, not only is it a personalized approach, but the blogger outreach team really want to connect with the right audience and make it a win-win for everyone involved.

Continuing the Relationship

A few days after the original email, Alexandra realized that there was an error in the editorial calendar and needed to reach back out to the bloggers to confirm the chapter review dates.

The quickest way to do this was to send a mass email. Which, as we all know, can sometimes be impersonal depending on how it comes across.

Yet again, Alexandra quelled this with her own words:

Hi everyone,

So sorry for the mass e-mail, it’s usually not my mode of operation, but I made a small error on the calendar PDF. Attached, find a corrected calendar. Thanks so much. Hope you enjoy the book.

The first sentence immediately shows Alexandra isn’t a fan of mass emailing either, and the reason for it here is just to update everyone effectively.

Again, it’s a very personalized touch that enhances the relationship that’s been building from the initial contact.

Lessons to Learn

Bloggers are becoming an ever-important part of any promotional campaign, whether it be PR, marketing, advertising, product or book launches and more. Yet for some reason, many PR agencies and professionals don’t see bloggers as anything more than a second-class media outlet.

Alexandra Kirsch and Planned Television Arts know this isn’t the case. Their highly personalized approach has already won them fans (both Lucretia Pruitt and Ari Herzog have already praised them), and shows that, when done well, bloggers and PR folks can be a great team.

If you’re a PR person reading this now, think about how you want to share your client. Think about how the smallest difference in approach can be a huge one. Think about how it’s not all about the influence of the blogger, but the influence of that blogger’s community.

PR gets a hard time from a lot of areas. Sometimes it’s deserved; others not. Sometimes it brings it on itself.

But as Alexandra Kirsch proves, sometimes it can do everything right and more. And that’s all anyone can ask for, isn’t it?

Note: My chapter review will be published next Tuesday, September 28.

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