Chris Brogan’s post this week about “how to reach out to bloggers” was so right on that I have to share it with you.
Much of what Brogan said is universal for all bloggers and it’s comprehensive. But I’d like to add to his thoughts and continue the conversation by providing a helpful more specific guide for pitching stories and building a better relationship with me and the Live Fix community.
Getting to the Show
Since I’m a baseball fan and a former player and we’re talking about “pitching” stories, I thought of Brogan’s post through the lens of one of my favorite baseball movies: Bull Durham. In that movie sage catcher Crash Davis’s number one goal was to teach Nuke LaLoosh the finer points of pitching to help get him to the Big Leagues.
Sure, I may not be the Crash Davis of blogging but I do know the best ways to pitch to Live Fix blog and get me to write about your story. And when that happens it’s the blogging and PR equivalent of “getting to the Big Leagues.”
When I think about all the PR pitches I received in 2009 that turned into Live Fix posts, I know that they all followed what Brogan suggests. But on the sad flip-side, when I think of those PR pitches that I received and quickly deleted in 2009, I think of Nuke’s clueless behavior and his erratic fastballs that sailed into the grandstand.
So in the spirit of Crash Davis, I’m going to riff on and share parts from Brogan’s post and add a few of my own suggestions in hopes that 2010 is full of more strikes and better PR pitches.
Want to Get Featured on Live Fix?
So how do you get me to write about your music, website or product?
Like Brogan, I suggest first building a genuine relationship by doing a mixture of:
- Follow me on Twitter. Engaging daily or interacting during an Experiment works the best. Lurking doesn’t.
- Comment on blog posts long before you need me to write about your music, product or story. I call this Joining the Community.
- Make your interacting genuine and relevant. Don’t spam comments with irrelevant links or comments that don’t add to the conversation.
- Make your pitch personal showing that you’ve actually read Live Fix before and understand why I started it and what the purpose of the blog is.
- Think about the Readers. I’m always thinking about my readers and you should to. Whether it’s a band, an event, a new social music site or technology, it must have a human element. It must be helpful to my readers. If you’re not sure if your story is a good fit, read this.
- Continue the relationship after the post is made. This can be a thought-provoking comment, a retweet or a quick email with feedback.
- Think like a blogger. Always remember that links are currency to bloggers. Find ways to drive traffic to the post or blog by using social networks like Facebook, Twitter or Digg.
- Understand that blogs (especially Live Fix) have an established editorial schedule and a vision. I occasionally write on the spur of the moment if the headlines or my inspirations demand me to. But for the most part I plan ahead. And if I don’t write about your story once that doesn’t mean that I won’t write about the next one. Be patient and persistent.
- Don’t be afraid to set up an in-person meet-up. This is social media after all and many of the folks that I’ve featured or interviewed on Live Fix whether it’s a band, fans or a brand, I’ve meet in person at concert or a conference.
- Contact me for a guest post, sponsored event or a unique project. I’m always game for innovation and when I experience something really cool or hear about a contest that I think could be helpful and fun for my readers, I’m going to blog about on Live Fix. So if you have an event coming up that’s about live music, let me know.
Easy is Good, Hard is Bad
To wrap this up, I HIGHLY suggest that you read what Brogan suggests about “Making it Easy” for bloggers. Here’s my take on it.
Bloggers aren’t lazy. We’re just very busy. But we need your great and relevant pitches just as much as you need us to write about them. So if you make all the information we need to write the post easily available and clear, then that makes it easier for us to know that we can quickly draft a post about your story.
I especially like Brogan’s points to:
- Make everything dead simple.
- (Tyler in the comments suggested) Be clear what you want the outcome of the outreach to be.
- Provide URLs to everything, so that bloggers can refer.
- Provide photos to go with the piece, or a video, or whatever other content.
- Keep your outreach emails brief, and keep the details highlighted and bolded appropriately.
- Make sure your FIRST email does nothing but get the buy-in to pitch the story.
Again, I share these info with you because I’m all about making it easy and crystal clear for everyone involved.
I want to write great posts ABOUT THE LIVE MUSIC EXERIENCE because I know that Live Fix readers want to read great posts ABOUT THE LIVE MUSIC EXPERIENCE. It’s that simple.
In 2009 — from live music social communities and iPhone concert applications to creative live performance interviews and social causes — I received many PR pitches that were great matches for Live Fix.
But I also received pitches that were so unrelated that I laughed and shook my head as I clicked delete.
Do yourself and all live music fans a favor and make sure your pitches are great fits and don’t get deleted in 2010: bookmark, share, retweet or Digg this post.
We’ll all be happier if you do.
And I’m sure Crash Davis, Nuke LaLoosh and Chris Brogan would all be proud of you, too.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you think about reaching out to bloggers? What can I do better to help you?