To kick off the week, I decided to write a short piece on how to get your company into the mind of bloggers and other niche media representants. This might very well work with larger media companies, but since I have experience mainly from ArcticStartup I can’t guarantee how they work in the end. The reason for writing this is two fold – we want to help startups get their share of the visibility and also help ourselves get better quality material. Furthermore, this is no bible to the way the system works, but a view into it.
An introduction to the ecosystem
To start off with, we need to get everyone on the same line and understand how the ecosystem of bloggers and niche media people works. The main difference between traditional, larger media conglomerates, and bloggers is that much of it is non-commercial or very poorly capitalised. This of course determines the motives behind the writers and is a key point in trying to understand how the bloggers relate to their work. It’s not really work, as in ArcticStartup, many of the writers are passionate and are willing to spend many hours of a perfectly sunny afternoon glued to their laptops weekend after weekend to keep writing those stories (thanks to the whole AS team for doing your share!).
While bloggers and writers of niche topics mainly work for no compensation, you need to tap into the passion these people have towards their work. So it’s no secret passionate bloggers and writers want more content to write about – so in many cases, your press release or contact towards these people is more than welcome. I can say for ArcticStartp that while we get a lot of material, we’re always more than ready to go through more.
How do you contact the blogger?
While it may seem irrelevant on the method of how you get in touch with the blogger – it matters more than plenty. I can say for myself that while I’m very active on many social networks and have several e-mail accounts, I do prefer a single method of getting information on these new startups or tips regarding possible blog posts. The method I have is to get in touch with our info (at) arcticstartup(dot)com -address or then send us mail with the contact form here. I’m sure other bloggers and writers can agree to this – in the end it’s nothing more than just helping the person giving you publicity with their productivity routines.
What do you send?
This again is relatively important. Some people are more specific with this than others, but do read the instructions many bloggers have regardign press release material – you’ll improve the chances of getting your story through by a mile. Some bloggers don’t approve of attachments at all and want everything in text format. Others take attachments and are more than glad to read them. We belong to the latter category here at ArcticStartup.
However, when you send material – do make sure it is relevant. We’ve more than once received a “ton” of pdfs and others just because the PR-agency or media person at the company did not take the few minutes to tailor the material to us. What this means on our end is that we’re clicking through the material and trying to understand what the heck the company is trying to tell us and getting royally pissed of even before we know the company name. Try to avoid this – seriously. It’s a cliche, but in the end it’s nothing more than keeping up a personal relationship with the writer. First impressions do count, just as in any relationship.
Whether or not you send attachments does not matter in the end, but the message you send along is crucial. Take the time to personalise it. There’s nothing worse than starting an e-mail with “dear recipient” or something similarily unintelligent. Write in short, simple sentences and use paragraphs to tell your story. Think of it in this way; how do you want to get your message across to a person that in the first place is passionate about the broader topic you belong to, but has no interest what-so-ever about you, in the swiftest of ways? Once you solve that, you’re ready to write your e-mail.
How do you develop the relationship and help get future releases through too?
Like in any other relationship, it needs to work in both ways to succeed. You cannot forcefully just send material to a blogger and think they will write about it in the end. I can tell you that if you take this approach, not only wil you piss the writer off and they won’t publish your story, but they might get really pissed off and blog about it in the opposite intention you had in mind. Remember, bloggers are not bound by large corporate rules and usually speak their thoughts relatively unfiltered. This applies to us too – if we like something, we say it and if we don’t – we try to be as nice as possible in telling that too.
So, to create a successful relationship with a blogger – you need to keep in touch. By keeping in touch, I don’t mean getting through to them on all possible communication channels. You’ll trip to the thing I mentioned in the paragraph above. Use the channel you originally send the press release – I’m sure they will reply to you if you have written a good, informative piece of text. Furthermore, it’s also about bargaining in the end – we’re more than willing to keep up relationships with a bunch of companies that have given us priorities in their press releases. We work to keep that prioritisation and take a little more effort to write the blog post about them.
In the end, it’s not a big secret how to get your story across to the bloggers – it’s all about relationship management. The most important thing is that you both mutually value each other’s work and take the little extra effort to value their time too. Bloggers and small media writers are more than willing and wanting to hear about new ventures – it’s just the way it is done in that may stop you from getting your story across.
If you got this far, well done – do keep those press releases coming, we’re still in the business of enabling and promoting growth entrepreneurship in the Baltics and Nordics 🙂
Image by cromacom (CC)