There’s a lot of talk that goes around the blogosphere about how PR people try to USE bloggers to help their clients – but how can bloggers USE PR people (or at least make the relationship a little more mutually beneficial)? In this post Erik Sebellin-Ross from Ready Aim Reach shares some tips on how bloggers can use PR people to help grow their blogs.
In my last post here at ProBlogger, I tried to help bloggers understand how public relations (PR) people work so, when a flack comes calling, it’s not so much an intrusion as it is an opportunity. Today, I’m going to take that one step further and talk about how you can use PR people, or any of those marketing types, to help build traffic for your blog.
Small fry? How to increase your chance of success
Either the PR people are approaching you or they are not. If they are, then life is a whole lot easier. And I’ll talk about that in just a moment. But if they are not, then assuming your blog topic is not too esoteric, odds are you are just too small.
Well, good news! Good things can come in small packages. You just have to convince the marketing types of that. And this is how you do it.
Take your small package — your blog — and team up with other small packages — other bloggers who share your interests and subject matter — and approach the company as team.
Now you are not one small blog with a small group of visitors. You are one large team with a large group of visitors. And this works because, with marketers, the key is always to convince them that there is something in it for them. In this case, the something is a big group of visitors.
So how does this translate into reality? Well, for one example, you could approach the company with a proposal to run a joint contest. All of you would promote it. All of you would solicit visitors to enter. And all of you, jointly, would give away the prizes.
Which, in turn, exposes the visitors of multiple blogs to the company while it builds traffic to you.
Pretty good, eh?
(And, hey, if your blog is esoteric to the point where you are the only blogger on that topic, assuming the company you want to approach is related to your subject, then it matters less that you don’t have many visitors because you are the only game in town. See? Being different is good!)
Big fry? How to get beyond the press release
If your blog has been noticed by marketers, odds are good that you’ve received a few press releases or pitches asking you to write about a product or service. The trick now is to go beyond the press release and build some hefty traffic for your blog.
And here are a few ways to do just that.
1. Get free product or access to services
Publicists can often send you product (or give you access to a service) for free. They obviously don’t do this without expecting something in kind – a mention is good for starters, a review is better. But take this a step farther – rather than getting something just for yourself, ask for things you can give to your readers.
Because, when it comes to traffic, while original content is good, prizes are great.
2. Information, logos, and other visuals on tap
If you need information, logos, or other visuals from a company or government office, or about a person working at one, you can save yourself a lot of time by writing to the public relations (sometimes referred to as “corporate communications”, or even “public affairs” for government workers) department and asking for what you want.
Now, be prepared for a wait of at least a few days – PR people are gatekeepers, not librarians, which means they have to gather the information from others. You also have to be prepared for some sugary marketing fluff. Feel free to take that out. For example, feel free to change “Acme is a leading innovator of widgets” to “Acme manufactures widgets.”
3. Experts and researchers on tap, too
If you’ve ever wanted to interview an executive, engineer, or anyone else at a company, your best chances for success are to go through the PR person. They’ll be able to schedule meetings for you. But keep in mind that one rule – it has to be worth their while. These requests have a good chance of success when you’re writing big-picture posts — “state of the industry” types, for example.
4. Get them to link to you
Many companies have blogs now. Many have newsletters, and some are even creating social media news releases. Be it on the front page of their main Web site or some other client-facing digital medium, if you think the content of your blog is valuable to a company’s client base, consider asking them to include you on their blogroll, or offer to create guest posts. After all, everyone benefits from a little link love.
What about you?
Some of you have been at this for awhile. I’m curious to know about your experience in this area. Have you encountered a different way of working? Come up against a brick wall of some kind? Leave a comment or let me know. Or better yet, both!