I noticed that you cover developments in online marketing and Web 2.0 in your blog. Would your readers be interested in learning about my company, Veotag?"
So begins an email I recieved in the past week, just one in a growing batch of botched attempts at blogger outreach that have hit my mailbox over the past couple of months. Each one seems to be worse than the last, but at least they usually get my name right.
There's a lesson in this. If you're a company considering blogger outreach and think that a form email is all that you need -- or even worse, if you've hired so-called 'experts" and they've advised you to go this route -- stop now and reconsider. You'll be wasting a whole lot of effort, quite possibly a fistful of money and, in the end, may do yourself more harm than good. Most bloggers, especially those that see a fair number of pitches each week, can spot a form letter from miles away, even if you do get their names right in the salutation. And those that don't react with chagrin are most likely to ignore you outright.
If you want to stand any chance of getting the right kind of attention from influential bloggers (and I'd barely count myself as influential), you'll need to work at it. Get to know the bloggers you're targeting. Spend some time, read their blogs, know their likes and dislikes, try to get inside their heads. You'll find that some are open to outreach, some aren't, and each will be either more or less receptive depending on the approach you take. A little bit of personal attention can go a long way. As will a bit of care and attention to detail.
You mark my words, or my name isn't Scott. :-)
If you're a blogger, I'd love to hear your war stories -- or for that matter, I'd love to hear your tales of influencer outreach done right.