name sounds more like a sci-fi character than a
legitimate news source, but blogs are rapidly becoming
authoritative news sources. PR professionals should keep
this new type of media on their radar screens.
is a blog exactly? Blog is short for Web log - regularly
updated online diaries/news forums that feature links to
news items and stories from across the Internet's World
Wide Web. Most blogs are helmed by a single individual
called a blogger.
Some of these sites have an editor
filtering through submissions. A handful also allow
members to grade contributions, enabling the community
to vote on whether or not a suggestion gets prominent
placement or makes it onto the site at all. One of the
most well-known in this category and perhaps the
"granddaddy" of collective blogs is the
popular tech news site Slashdot (www.slashdot.org).
only emerged on the scene a few years ago, a growing
audience of Web-savvy newshounds has quickly taken to
getting their news and views from blogs. This trend has
caught the notice of established Internet news sources,
which have joined in the game. Recently, our client
unveiled a collection of blogs on its site. In addition,
Trylon handled press for the successful launch of the
pop culture blog Plastic (www.plastic.com),
which was begun by the editors behind the Webby
award-winning e-zine Feed (www.feedmag.com).
Blogs have been known to comment on a variety of issues,
ranging from the latest e-mail hoax to a blockbuster
action film to the newest PDA on the market. However, as
with Slashdot, whose primary focus is open-source
software news, many blogs concentrate on a specific
have long sought means for reaching highly targeted
audiences, including media reps, in order to drive buzz
about their clients. With the kind of traffic and
targeting that any of the aforementioned sites generate,
topic-specific blogs can fit the bill.
now the question is how to land your clients in the
right blog at the right time in order to reap the
benefits of their highly receptive audience.
most important thing a publicist can do before pitching
a blogger is to carefully read his or her blog. Unlike
beat reporters at typical news outlets, bloggers are
extremely idiosyncratic in choice of subject matter and
slant. In order to begin a conversation with one - and
it should be viewed as a conversation, rather than a
pitch - it is vital that you are well-acquainted with
the interests of the blogger.
fact, many bloggers have no experience at being pitched
by publicists. Recently, we conducted outreach to
several blogs on behalf of our client Business 2.0
magazine, which had published an article about the Web
log phenomenon (www.business2.com/blog).
What was striking throughout the pitching process was
the discovery that most bloggers were rarely, if ever,
approached by PR professionals. The campaign drove
traffic to the story, but it also created a flood of
commentary on several blogs - questioning how, or even
if, PR pros should get into the mix.
Blogs are a new medium and, therefore, require a new
approach. It is crucial not to spam bloggers and to be
aware of their likes and dislikes before you drop them a
line. Canned, conventional pitch letters can be seen as
Their preferred means of communication is
e-mail and their address is often prominently featured
on the site. When communicating with blogs, make sure to
be completely open and honest about why you are
contacting them, disclosing your organizational
Keep it to the point and always make sure
to include a link to a published story or item that they
might consider featuring. Do not ask bloggers to link to
your client's site or latest press release. Bloggers are
sensitive about becoming mouthpieces for other
organizations and companies, which is the reason they
began blogging in the first place.
what if your client doesn't seem quite right for blog
outreach? Blogs can still prove helpful in terms of
keeping on top of news and trends that may impact PR
a recent decision by the journalism school at the
University of California, Berkeley, to offer a
graduate-level course in blogs is any indication, these
Web forums are going to become increasingly vital to the
news media landscape - and more vital to clients who
require targeted media outreach.
is a condensed version of an article that originally appeared in PRSA Tactics -
the full article can be