What’s The Deal with Blogger PR?

As a blogger and a PR consultant, I’m in an interesting position. I can see how useful it is for companies to have relevant and targeted bloggers writing about their company and products. At the same time as a blogger, it’s really great to receive interesting information from PRs that will help me to write posts that add real value for my readers.

But like David Meerman Scott over at MarcomProfessional I’m a big believer that blogger relations has to be done well to work effectively. Bloggers aren’t like journalists – we are a lot more independent, don’t have set deadlines, write about what ever we like and importantly, we don’t all have a lot of resources.

As a PR professional then, what should you be doing to work effectively with bloggers. Does the standard press release work?

What about as a small business owner, how can you work with bloggers to drive a little traffic to your site, or build a little coverage, interest or awareness of something newsworthy you’ve been doing?

Step 1 – get to know your blogs.

This may seem an obvious point, but it’s strange how many people miss this step. For example, I write about marketing, blogging and web 2.0 stuff mostly, but last year I was approached by a company wanting me to trial a mobile phone and write about it on my blog. First of all, I doubt I’m reaching the right audience and secondly, when are you going to take the phone back, it’s been on my desk for almost 5 months. Had the PR read my blog, they would see that technology reviews are not really my specialism and saved themselves some time and effort. I haven’t even taken the phone out of the box.

On the other hand, a chap from Microsoft sent me some stats about the value of advertising on AdCentre versus Google AdWords which I will be writing about soon. Weloveloval also sent me the results of some research they conducted recently about the value for small businesses of advertising online vs in print. Again, perfect for me and my audience – expect to see that published soon as well.

Step 2 – identify and prioritise

Once you’ve found a handful of blogs writing on your subject area, start to prioritise those which are likely to add the most value to your PR campaign. How do you do that? have a think about:

> PageRank – this is Google’s own score for the importance / relevance of a website. It looks at a number of factors including how many other websites link to the blog – the more of these there are the more likely it will be a valuable blog. The score is available in the Google Tool Bar and goes from 0 to 10 – although there are very few sites on 10.

> Alexa Rank – this is a score that ranks roughly how much traffic websites attract. The lower the Alexa score the more traffic. As an example the BBC has an Alexa Rank of 64 which means it is the 64th most popular website on the (Google comes in at number 38). You can see then that the lower the score the more likely it is the blog gets a lot of traffic. More traffic generally equals more influence.

> Technorati – head to Technorati and search for a blog by name. You will then be able to find a score for the blogs authority – another measure of how many backlinks a blog has, again the higher the score the better.

> Participation – actually head to the site and start to look through the content. Look out for the number and quality of comments the blog receives and how engaged the blogger is with the comments. Consider whether the writing is generally positive or critical and identify if there are adverts on the site other than Google AdWords? Is there a RSS feed published and if so how many people have subscribed?

All of these factors will give you clues as to how popular and influential the blog is.

For some more ideas, head over to Brendan Cooper’s blog and read his excellent post on quick and dirty blog analysis.

Step 3 – participate

Bloggers write to air their opinions, express their feelings and often to make money. The lifeblood of a good blog is the content and the participation it drives with readers.

Once you have identified your top 10 or 20 blogs to work with, start to actually read the content. Add some comments, sign up to the blogs RSS feed, look for flickr streams and twitter feeds from the blogger and start to understand what drives them to write. This will give you a real helping hand for the next step.

Step 4 – engagement

Contact the blogger, have a conversation with them, identify if they are interested in receiving information from you and if so in what format. This doesn’t have to be particularly onerous, a quick email would probably be a good place to start, something like..

Hi Dave / Jessica [insert blogger name],

I just read your post about the use of chocolate for making a good chilli. I had no idea you could use chocolate in such a way.

I’m working with Cadbury’s and would be really interested in hearing some more about your ideas for using chocolate in innovative recipes. Would you be happy to have a chat at some stage? I would really like to keep you up to date with the latest chocolate ingredients we’re making..?

Or something along those lines…

If you are a small business, you might even offer to write a couple of posts for the blog. This is of course a little more than PR, but I for one would be happy to add a couple of guest writers to my blog every now and again.

And there you have it, a really simple explanation of how to manage blog PR / outreach programmes. Remember, the most popular blogs may not always be the easiest to influence. You really should consider reaching out to a mix of blogs, perhaps tiering them based on the factors above. Given that people read blogs in different ways to journals, newspapers or other print materials, you don’t necessarily have to reach out to the biggest blogs to make a difference. TechCrunch would be great, but a handful of other smaller blogs may make an equally impressive impact.

Of course, if you need a more robust programme, have some budget and tougher targets to reach, you could always get in touch with team Klaxon.

  • http://mextena.com Search Engine Optimization Tips

    Hello Andy,
    I liked the article which is well written. Congratulations. As you said, Pagerank is an important factor which measures your blog.

  • http://www.tahitiannoni.com sainatha124

    I found good advices about pager rank from this article.So thanks for that.Keep touching.

  • http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6366219524616624378 veergativeergati

    I found good advices in this article.You have provided some very sound advice regarding pagerank which I was not aware of.So thanks for that.keep it up.

  • http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2008/05/13/usana-founder-makes-an-offer-to-take-the-company-private-good/ raghuveerr2

    Great article.You have provided some good advices which’ll help people.Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.pressrelease001.com Andy Walpole

    Some good advice in this article.

    Some blogs out there are pulling in amazing audience figures, although a most aren’t…

    It’s actually pretty easy to sift through them for quality…

  • http://www.luggagerepairparts.com Luggage Repair Parts Info

    Great article. You have provided some very sound advice regarding pagerank which I was not aware of.

  • http://www.kango.com/things_to_do/sacramento_ca_vacations_195409774.html UptakeInOH

    I hadn’t heard that Alexa could be manipulated. Thanks for the good PR info. It all still confuses me, but I’m trying to let it sink in and hoping that it will click one day!

  • http://www.hostingref.com web hosting

    Thats very good list. I think most of us are little lit obsessive about getting PR. However, my first Priority is to provide Quality and relevant article for my blog readers. Provide them some free stuff and later newsletter etc.
    PR comes in my mind in 3rd place or maybe its just other side of coin.
    Whatever it is, Good blog never go down and have to deal with it as a living thing to make a better out of it.

    Thanks, Honestly, I really enjoyed reading your blog.


  • http://www.web-trends.net/ web-trends.net

    good post – learned a lot. although a little bit difficult to read…

  • http://www.tommytwice.com/store/ Plus Size Fashions

    Excellent post – the ‘participation’ one is invaluable. It only takes a few seconds to check out a site or a blog and you have a 100% increase of knowledge on that site already.

  • http://takemenowhere.org ally

    These are wonderful tips and I’m very grateful for you sharing them. I’m just a blogger, but this is helpful when trying to figure out what advertisers and businesses look for.

  • http://basementidea.blogspot.com Basement Ideas

    I agree that Google Page Rank is a bit bizarre. I have never been able to understand what makes a high PR blog and a low one other than how old it is.

  • http://www.tucsonseosolutions.com geri

    Thank you for the interesting article it’s important to remember the routine

  • http://rashbre2.blogspot.com rashbre

    A good post, describing it in clear language. Useful. Thanks.

  • http://www.golf-clubs-for-sale.co.uk golf clubs

    I think to find some good reader of a blog the PR is very important.

  • http://tickets.gruvr.com/ LeAnn Rimes tickets

    I also think readers and their participation is much more important

  • http://cmsnerd.com The CMS Gallery

    Great article. It was long but it kept me interested. You’ve gained yourself another reader :)

  • http://www.ankinlaw.com/ JBourne

    I like your engagement idea a lot. I think the only issue to come up would be the blogger you’re contacting to charge you. Normally coming in a writing a few posts wouldn’t be a big deal if you were a close friend, but it someone doing it on behalf of a company (such as Cadbury in your example, which has a lot of revenue/capital), might trigger the blogger from wanting to let him have free advertising for his company.

    Great ideas though.

  • http://www.ronyasoft.com/products/proposter/download.html Rasterbator

    First at all, “get to know your blog” is the major factor. It will not success without this major factor, do what you expert to success

  • http://roseoffuggaustraliaboots rose mary

    Its nice article and informative and more effective for new comers .

  • http://www.momswhothink.com/pregnancy-weeks/pregnancy-week-by-week.html Irene Rose

    today, blogging and PR go hand in hand. even as i say this, blogging is already an integral part of a lot of companies. coz everybody realises that blogging is an informal way of communication and informal way of communication is far more effective.

  • http://homesecurityguru.blogspot.com Chris

    Great post. This is one of the best posts I’ve seen summarizing what goes into making a well ranked blog. Bookmarking this one.

  • http://freestuffslinks.blogspot.com free stuff

    I don’t agree with the last comment. If there is no good PR then no new and good reader will come. For getting good readers to increase in number there should be good PR for getting the benefit frm the search engine.

  • http://www.buytimeshares.co.uk/ buy timeshares

    Blogger PR is very less important than the readers. I think if anyone have good and regular readers then there should be no tension of PR.

  • http://musclepost.com Muscle Post

    Great post! I agree that Google Page Rank is a bit bizarre…not quite sure how they come up with that. Does anyone know when the next PR update is supposed to happen?

  • http://bestcoffeemakerratings.com George (Coffee Lover)

    Very informative article. Bookmarked you for weekly check of your blog.

  • http://www.terrydean.org nancy

    I’ve read today a lot about alexa changing its algorithm. They say it will make it more accurate. What are your thoughts?

  • http://www.momswhothink.com/chicken-recipes/chicken-recipes.html Irene Rose

    google PR is still an enigma. last heard, alexa is making huge changes in its algorithm to broaden its criterion of traffic received by a site,.

  • http://www.winningponies.com/results/picks/tips/Kentucky-Derby-2007.html Mark – Kentucky Derby Tips

    Awesome Post! BTW alexa just change their ranking algo.

    Checkout your new rankings

  • http://www.reliablesite.net business web hosting

    I disagree with the whole “bloggers don’t have deadlines”. If someone hired you with a press release you should have some sort of idea when you should be able to finish it by. Other than that, great post.

  • http://www.building-skills.co.uk/home-dvd-courses/plumbing-home-study-courses/ Phil the Plumbing Course Expert

    Thanks for sharing that great information and for giving a through explanation. I’m sure this really helped a lot.

  • http://www.sboresaletreasures.com Private Label Rights

    i really like your post is really good

  • http://www.AureliusTjin.com Aurelius Tjin

    This is very interesting! I have enjoyed reading this very insightful post. Very engaging and informative. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • https://members.directbuy.com Gus Direct

    I just signed up for Technorati. I have a decent page rank, and alexa traffic, but I still want more flow and the thing I really crave is feedback. Hopefully your tips will help me out.

  • http://www.shinyred.tv Lewis Webb

    @Kurt and @Kristian I’d have to say that PR isn’t in the right place for dealing with bloggers as yet. It’s true that there are a good number of people working to make PR more blogger-friendly, but there are still many PR professionals both agency and in-house that don’t “get it”. Posts like this do a lot for helping the PR industry walk before it can run.

  • http://www.realdealdocs.com mark

    Great Read!!

    Very informative article thanks for the info.

  • http://www.4smartmedia.de Kristian Liebrand

    Very good concept and thanks for mentioning about the rankings which seems difficult to understand. Believe it or not, but from quite a few months I’ve been watching that blogging and PR are in the same place.

  • http://www.apuestasdeportivas-apuesta.com Kurt

    believe it or not, but blogging and PR are already in place since some months. with the humans getting wired to the net in huge numbers, blogging is thebest way to market urself.

  • http://www.schufafrei-24.de Schufafrei

    i m agree with you Andy..I like your post.

  • http://www.onlinegambling-free.com Quentin

    if u haven’t noticed yet, but bloggers r already a mouthpiece for various companies. they r essentially the external observers and some maybe feature on full time payrolls. so blogging is a serious business.

  • http://www.marketingblagger.com Andy

    A rain of cash hey, sounds good. But it sounds like that would mean bloggers becoming more of a corporate mouthpiece than a commentator..

  • http://www.bettingfootballbetting.com Jesse

    nicely written. what if bloggers and PR come closer big time? i m sure it can only be a rain of cash.

  • http://www.marketingblagger.com Andy

    Thanks Edward. I agree on Alexa rankings, I understand they can be fudged reasonably easily by the unscrupulous. That said, they are worthwhile investigating.

    Hi Lewis – happy to mention you guys as from what I’ve seen so far, the Shiny crew is pretty clued up. Feel free to expand on the ideas above. Would love to have your input!

  • http://www.shinyred.tv Lewis Webb

    Hi Andy, Thanks for the mention – and it’s good to see you supporting the “walk before you can run” approach to PR relationships with bloggers – something we’re often recommending to marketing folk as the best course of action.

  • http://www.bettingsportsbetting.com Edward

    of all the things, alexa rankings r the most dubious one. as for google rank, i dont get how they assign the rankings. but a very good post.