Bloggers or Press, Who Should You Pitch?

by David Spinks on Jan 20, 2011
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So your product is built, your site is set up, and you’re ready to let the world know about it.

The next step used to be pretty straightforward.  Write a press release, and pump it out to wire services and the journalists you’re able to reach.

Today, it’s not so straightforward.  Should you turn to the mainstream publications like the New York Times?  Should you pitch Huffington Post writers?  Or should you start swimming through the endless sea of bloggers, Twitter users, Youtubers, and more?

All these choices have their ups and downs. And you can go after them all if it makes sense, but let’s look at a few key factors to consider first:

1. Reach

Bloggers: Because there are so many different kinds of bloggers out there, you can find the ones that have a really targeted audience and are a good fit for your company.

If you’re able to build up enough traction through blogs, there’s a good chance that mainstream publications will find out about it, and write about it as well.

Keep in mind: With more focus comes less reach. Because bloggers appeal to such a specific audience, this often means that their readership won’t be very large compared to more broad publications.

Mainstream Media: They have a huge audience.

Also, the same way great coverage on blogs can lead to mainstream coverage, great coverage on mainstream publication almost always results in bloggers covering you as well.

Keep in mind: You’ll end up a huge burst of low quality traffic.  Out of the millions of people who might read the article and click through to your site, the majority of them won’t be the right fit for your tool or site.  You’ll see the traffic level back off really quickly in many cases.

2. Accessibility

Bloggers: Most bloggers are pretty easy to contact. You usually don’t have to jump through too many hoops to get in touch with them.  They often have their contact information available, or they provide a contact form.  If they don’t, then they probably don’t want to be contacted anyways.

Keep in mind: Some bloggers, especially the most popular ones, can be even harder to reach than mainstream journalists.  It really comes down to the person.  That’s the tough part with reaching out to bloggers.  There are SO many, and no two are the same.  They all have their own needs and expectations.

Mainstream Media: This is one area where mainstream media really falls short compared to bloggers.  It’s understandable.  They get hundreds of pitches every day.  It’s going to be hard to break through that noise.  If you don’t know anyone at the publication, you’ll have to email their designated “news” email address.

Keep in mind: If you’re able to build a relationship with mainstream journalists to the point where you can send them a pitch to their email address, this becomes much easier.

3. Influence

Bloggers: They often have close, trusting relationships with a lot of their readers. Most journalists go out of their way to stay objective.  Of course there’s spin, but mainstream journalists don’t share their opinion very often.  Bloggers aren’t worries about this.  When bloggers review products, they almost always include their own opinion.  That’s why blogs with loyal readers can really sway the opinion of their audience.

Keep in mind: That means if the blogger decides to write something negative, their readers will adopt the same opinions.  This reinforces the important of crafting a targeted and educated pitch to the right bloggers.

Mainstream Media: Provides instant credibility.  That’s why you see so many sites with an “As seen on…” section that lists off the biggest publications that wrote about them.  True,

Keep in mind: The audience isn’t usually very targeted, and you won’t see many conversions from the traffic that you get.  It’s usually a big boost in traffic that peaks, and gradually levels off over the next couple weeks back to where you were to begin with.

4. Odds of Success

Bloggers: It’s really about building the right relationships first.  If you’ve done your research, engaged and built up trust, you shouldn’t have a problem getting coverage.  Overall, you’ll find it easier to get coverage from bloggers than from mainstream media.

Keep in mind: Most blogs don’t post content nearly as often as mainstream publications.  That means if they’re getting a lot of pitches, they’re going to be really selective about

Mainstream Media: It’s definitely not easy… everyone knows that.  Like blogger outreach, you greatly increase your chances if you do your research and build relationships first.  The good news is once you’ve gotten coverage on one big publication, it becomes much easier to get coverage on others.

Keep in mind: Mainstream publications only write full length articles about trends, not specific companies or products unless they’ve got a crazy amount of traction.  You’ll find success if you’re able to tie your product to an ongoing, newsworthy trend.

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Which one you end up choosing really depends on your company, how much traction you have, what your goals are etc…

Both bloggers and mainstream media both hold a great deal of value for businesses.  The value from bloggers is only increasing, while the value from mainstream media is about the same.  If anything, the value in mainstream media is decreasing as content consumers are turning their attention to bloggers and citizen journalists.

It’s not a bad thing to target both bloggers and mainstream media either.  Just understand the differences.  Also understand embargoes.  Many bloggers won’t even know what that means and will just post when you tell them it’s okay.  Mainstream journalists will take embargoes very seriously, and things can go very wrong if someone posts a story before they’re supposed to.

Where do you usually place your focus when doing media outreach?

Post Author

David Spinks is the CEO of LetsFeast.com and TheCommunityManager.com....