While hundreds of blog posts have been written on the topic of pitching bloggers by both bloggers and communication professionals such as Chris Brogan, Jason Falls and Arik Hanson, not much has been written about the unique requirements when approaching B2B bloggers.
Pitching a blogger is very similar to pitching a mainstream media journalist. Relevance and timeliness remain the two most importance factors in a pitch; in fact, these factors are even more important in the blogging world. Do it wrong and you could be made an example of and outed on the Bad Pitch Blog.
Bloggers tend to be much more specialized than their mainstream counterparts, who, as newsrooms around the world shrink, may cover crime, food and finance beats all in the same day. Bloggers, on the other hand, craft their content more carefully around their passions. This makes relevance even more key, as a blogger can’t e-mail your pitch to his or her co-worker who covers that beat. Similarly, the issue of timeliness in the 24/7, around-the-clock, insta-publish social space brings a new meaning to the news release term “For Immediate Release.”
Some points to consider:
- Actually read the blog. Whether you subscribe to it in a news reader or do a quick scan once a month, get a handle for the blogger’s tone, writing and opinions.
- Search for the term “pitch” and “pitching” among the blog posts. This may yield a post that details exactly how that blogger would like to be approached with ideas for content. Check the about page or other pages on the blog.
- Establish a baseline relationship by following the blogger on Twitter and commenting on his or her blog.
- Make sure the blogger has access to images, screenshots, link, etc. that will help him or her directly drop those into a post.
- Personalize, personalize, personalize. Put yourself in the blogger’s shoes – if you received this e-mail, would you immediately drag, drop and delete?
- Don’t attach a news release. If you can’t relate how your information is important to a blog’s readers in a paragraph or two, reconsider your angle.
What are some things that are different when you pitch a B2B blogger? When you have a story, product, person or example you think could provide great content for a B2B blog, here are some things to think about:
1. Ideas > Products
In the Mom Blogger space, many companies have garnered mentions on influential blogs by sending out products such as toys, food and clothing for review. It’s much harder to send a blogger the latest copy machine or tractor.
Instead, pitch guest posts about your experience in the B2B space. Many bloggers would be hesitant to publish a guest post from a company on one of its products. However, a guest post from a company on its experience with a specific marketing campaign, its social media strategy or its approach to direct mail will be valuable across the board.
“Products” B2B bloggers are interested in: books, upcoming events, software and mobile applications that will make life easier for B2B industry professionals.
Like B2C bloggers, B2B bloggers probably aren’t blogging full-time. They have a day job, multiple part-time jobs, consultancies and a fast-paced travel schedule. In the B2B space, this is multiplied even further when you consider B2B relationships revolve around much longer sales cycles and much more expensive buying considerations.
Also, make sure you know if the blogger you’re targeting can actually write about your pitch. Is he or she writing for a company blog legally bound not to accept products for review? Does the blogger write a personal B2B blog, but works at a competing company? Investigate this by adhering to the bullets laid out above, or by e-mailing the blogger asking about his or her parameters and preferences.
3. It’s a small word, after all
There aren’t as many B2B bloggers as there are B2C bloggers, especially when you begin breaking things down by industry. While that limits the sheer number of bloggers out there who can create content, use this to your advantage.
Curate a manageable list of B2B bloggers that speak to you and your industry and develop relationships with them on a level beyond comments and retweets. Know the players, and know what topics spark their interests. By putting your name out there and delivering valuable information, you can get on the short(er) list of B2B bloggers’ short list of go-to individuals when they need content.
4. You’re probably talking to a marketer. Remember that.
Jason Falls wrote this post on things bloggers should know about PR and advertising, after noticing some bloggers confusing pitches with paid content. B2B bloggers don’t fall under that category.
While they may not have a strict PR, advertising or even journalism background, the simple fact that they’re talking about B2B on a blog shows that they’re in-the-know on the communication mix. Vista Consulting says the B2B buyer “is sophisticated, understands your product or service better than you do, and wants or needs to buy products or services to help their company stay profitable, competitive, and successful,” and the B2B blogger is no different.
Use this to your advantage: Skip the formalities and don’t be afraid to delve into details. He or she will appreciate that you recognize their expertise and experience, and you’ll get to the heart of your message faster.
If you’re a PR pro – do you have any success stories for what worked when pitching B2B bloggers?
Karlie Justus is a Contributing Writer at SocialMediaB2B.com. Follow Karlie on Twitter at @KarlieJ.