Pitching the Right Blogs the Right Way

by Mike Phillips, Senior Editor, Website Magazine

A ccording to Technorati's State of the Blogosphere report released in April 2007, more than 70 million blogs were being tracked on the Web, while another 120,000 were being added every day. That amounts to a lot of touch points for your business to reach out to the public. Finding blogs that are relevant to your business is one challenge, while getting bloggers to write about your company or share a link is an entirely different game.

Google Blog Search

Blog Catalog

The various blog search engines will have ways of displaying a blogs "authority" in the blogosphere, so take a look. But there are some other factors to take into consideration when deciding what blogs and which bloggers to pitch.

Frequency: How often does the blogger update? There are tens of millions of "dead" blogs online. A blog that's not updated frequently is a good one to waste your time with.

Comments: Are blog posts commented on frequently? This gives you a good idea about the community surrounding the blog. Lots of comments mean lots of readers - active readers who pay attention to this particular blogger.

RSS feeds: How many individuals are signed up to the blog's RSS feed? If the blog displays an RSS counter on the site, this is a good indication of its reach.

Blogrolls: Most bloggers have a blogroll, or a list of links to other blogs they find relevant to their own. Explore these and you'll find a treasure trove of other blogs that may be interested in you.

Timeliness: It's important to be timely with your pitch. Use a feed readers like Google Reader or Bloglines to sign up to the blogs you're interested in. Keep up-to-date on their posts to make sure you are pitching the blogger at an appropriate time. If they wrote about something related to your company or industry (or a competitor), contact them as soon as possible while the topic is still fresh.

Show your Authority: Explain gently to the blogger that by writing about you or linking to your website they are doing a service to their readers. What makes you an authority and why should their readers know about you? How long have you been in the industry, what other bloggers have mentioned you, what kind of awards have you won and how many customers do you serve in their industry? If you share a common bond in with someone in their blogroll, make sure to tell them.

Add Value: Detail why blogging about you will benefit their readers. Consider a special offer. This will give a sense of exclusivity to the blogger and the blog's readers, while sending traffic your way. Offer to link to the blog from your own site, or if you see a real value to your readers, link to the blog before the pitch then tell them about it. This shows that you have a true interest and it will make the decision easier for the blogger to link back to you. Guest blogging has become popular. If you're an expert in the field, offer to write an occasional guest post exclusive to their blog. Bloggers are busy and writing quality posts every day can be challenging. Most bloggers will welcome the help, as long as it's not just a sales pitch about your company.

Establish a Relationship: Once you've made contact and a blogger decides to give you some attention, be sure to keep the relationship going. A one-and-done approach will leave the blogger feeling used. Continue to add value and alert the blogger to new developments with your company and within the industry. All bloggers relish good comments on their posts. Leave comments without pitching your company - they will know who you are.

Bloggers can make a big impact on your business. Their readers trust them and will follow their advice. It's important to not violate this trust while equally important to take advantage of it. And the best way to accomplish this is to add true value to the community.

Most bloggers receive more pitches than they know what to do with. That's why it is essential to take some time and really show your worth. "Dear Sir" is an immediate turn-off, as are ultimatums. If you need to establish an open dialogue before getting anything in return, most of the time it's worth the effort. On the other side, some bloggers have large, impenetrable egos. If you find yourself getting a flat out "no" or your pitch is ignored, it's best to move on to another source. Once you've built some major authority with other bloggers in the industry, you can then go back to the ego-driven and turn the tables with a hard sell.

Good luck!