One of the things that corporations need to understand is the fact that New Media is different. Take bloggers for example. A blogger is someone who opens themselves up to their readers. A blogger puts a little bit of themselves into every piece that they write.
Most encourage their users to interact with them and most look forward to interacting with their readers. Bloggers are by their very nature, very approachable.
The “traditional” media, on the other hand, aren’t. Over the course of time, they have built walls around themselves, making it difficult for marketers and public relations folks to get their attention. Therefore, one of the tactics that corporations use is to blast off press releases to any Tom, Dick, or Harriet who has at least one of the following two attributes: a pulse or the ability to fog a mirror.
Compare and contrast this with a blogger who opens herself to her readers and then gets a generic Press Release. It’s probably like getting a letter from your mom that says, “Dear Ron, or current resident.” The message is cold and impersonal…something that is exactly the opposite of what the blogger has set out to do.
One of the blogs that I read regularly is The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. Chris is the author of a seminal book about the value of information in today’s digital world. Well, in one of his recent postings, Sorry PR people: you’re blocked, Chris blows a gasket with these impersonal, self-serving press releases and decides to fight back by listing the email addresses of those who he has decided to blacklist. Fascinating. Looking at the names, I see three Edelmans — a company which should know better.
There is a lesson to be learned here. If your company intends to send press releases to a blogger, please, get to know them a little bit. Read their blog, leave a few comments. Then, after you’ve spent some time getting to know them, you can send a pitch for your story. Make sure to explain why you think it is relevant and valuable to their audience. Make some sort of personal reference that you picked up from reading their blog…something…ANYTHING…that shows that you are an active participant, one that is willing to invest a little time getting to understand the way things work on this particular blog.
I’m not saying that the blogger is guaranteed to write about it, but I can guarantee that you’ll have a much better chance at getting read by the blogger, who in turn may contact you.