The purpose of PR has never been about influencing press. It’s about reaching your target audience through their published channels. And yes, the traditional media still has significant influence and reach worth pursuing.
But now more than ever, the “blogosphere” offers an even greater opportunity to reach both wide and very narrow audiences. And while some blogs are written and operated by professional journalists and publications, many (if not most) are written by people like you and me – passionate individuals with something to say and share.
In every industry, there’s an opportunity to find and influence these bloggers to tell your story. And the key to doing this is to (temporarily) forget about your objectives, and focus entirely on helping the blogger.
First, understand their situation. If they don’t blog for a living, then what they’re doing is likely a labor of love. They also have limited time to do it, and finding good stories to tell is a primary constraint.
Get to know their content, their angle, their interests. Make yourself familiar to them first by commenting on their posts, retweeting their Twitter updates, and generally helping them extend their audience and facilitate online discussions.
When you do finally reach out directly, do so with value independent of a pitch. Be a resource or expert on a particular topic they care about. Point out an external link or resource or potential story source they may not have known about. Offer an introduction to someone in your network who could give them a new perspective.
Generally, make things easier for them without expecting anything in return. Yes, this is an investment and yes, it takes time. But this is how you can create long-term trust, credibility and eventually coverage for your own stories and priorities through their channel.