The Abbi Agency’s 2014 blogger survey results are in, and as in years past, the insights are both compelling and granular. This year’s responses highlight the many ways in which PR professionals must improve their pitches and the overall way in which they approach bloggers.
The good news is that we are doing some things right, at least some of the time, but as with all things, there is room for improvement. To start, here are five things bloggers love, and five things they hate when working with PR professionals. Check out The Abbi Agency’s 2014 e-book of blogger results
for the rest of the findings.
Things bloggers love:
When you know their name
Bloggers, like anybody else, want you to know their name. They hate when it is obvious that pitches are nonspecific to them, so make sure to take the time and common courtesy to address them properly.
Social media interaction
Bloggers work hard to build a strong online presence, and this includes social media. Only 2.5 percent of bloggers are not using social media to expand their presence, which means that social interaction is a great tool for PR professionals to support them online. Consider re-posting blog posts, tweeting at or retweeting from a blogger, or sharing a Facebook link to their blog to build rapport and spread the love for the relationship.
Bloggers constantly have to come up with new ideas for posts, so pitches can be a welcome source of content to get those creative wheels turning. Respondents indicated they like to receive relevant content because of the added value it provides them or their site.
Consideration for compensation
Whether it is through monetary compensation or free product trial, be clear in explaining how the blogger will benefit. Like anybody else in the world, bloggers prefer to be compensated somehow for what they do. Our survey shows that 85.8 percent of respondents now use paid or sponsored posts to help generate revenue, so consider this when pitching.
Bloggers are open to new ways to make money from their work, and one of these ways is acting as brand spokespeople. Some 57 percent of respondents said they would be interested in this position, and 37 percent said they already have done it. Keep in mind that along with compensation for time and work, bloggers in this situation expect prompt delivery of materials and an offer to pay for travel and lodging at events.
Things bloggers hate:
Not being treated as partners
Be respectful of bloggers’ time, and follow up with answers, images, and content in a timely manner. Realize that it’s a give-and-take relationship and, as with any public relations pitch, you both should benefit.
Sadly, we heard from many respondents that said they had experienced rude encounters when working with PR folks. Bloggers feel that last-minute communications as well as slow responses are very rude in trying to coordinate with PR professionals. They also said some of us were just plain “rude” when communicating with them. Always make sure you are as polite as possible to bloggers, and respect their time.
Unclear and indirect pitches
We found that most bloggers would like to know your objectives and goals with them up front. They also want to be clearly told what you are going to provide for them, in terms of compensation or product.
It should be clear to the blogger that you’ve spent some time looking at their blog and that your pitch is applicable to their topics. One respondent’s biggest annoyance is “being blindly contacted when it is clear that the PR contact has not spent any time reading [their] content.” This is an easy and crucial way to start off the relationship on the right foot.
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Pitches that are clearly not only for blogs
Bloggers expressed frustration at receiving press releases, canned pitches, and newsy verbiage—and yes, they can spot these. They consider themselves an entirely different type of news outlet, and do not enjoy being lumped into other pitches with minimal customization effort.
Allegra Demerjian is a social media coordinator at The Abbi Agency, a PR and digital communications firm in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada. Follow her on Twitter @allegradem, as well as the agency @theabbiagency. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency's blog.