In my day-to-day life I am usually found telling any PR that will listen that bloggers don’t need their content and they need to come up with a better offer than a press release. I stand by that belief – I think there are myriad of better ways to engage with bloggers than via a press release BUT today I want to talk to the bloggers out there and give you some reasons why it might be smart to pay attention to the content of that release and, even do something with it.
I recently shared why I believe bloggers need to be spending more time cultivating trust with their readers and how they could go about this. One of the key ways I mentioned was to become an authority in your niche. Be an authority doesn’t mean knowing everything, but it does mean establishing yourself as a credible source of information. In order to do this you need to have a commitment to sharing information that your readers want to know.
But it doesn’t interest me.
One of the main objections I hear from bloggers about PR/brand pitches is that they aren’t interested in the content. On the one hand, I hear this problem – I really do; if you can’t write about something with authenticity then why write it? It’s important to be authentic, absolutely. I would like to show the other side of the coin on this one though and suggest that one reason to consider content that you don’t like is that it might be simply a matter of taste. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that your readers won’t.
Let’s break this down using an example from the parenting niche. Let’s assume that your blog is focused around natural parenting and you are an advocate for a certain babywearing company when you find out that another babywearing company has released a new product with certain features. Now just because you use one babywearing product doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about competitors or that you couldn’t feature more than one product.
If you choose to only feature one brand then your readers will know that that’s the brand you support BUT you miss out on reaching a bigger audience of people who share your interest in natural parenting. If you chose to feature a variety of brands and talk about their benefits and disadvantages all of a sudden you are demonstrating your authority on this topic.
To give you a quick snapshot of the different approaches:
One brand only
Talks about lots of brands but declares their preference
|– Strong brand alignment||– Strong category alignment|
|– Ranks well for brand search term in google and is found by people who are already aware of the brand and are looking for information about||– Ranks well for search terms on the topic and is found by people who are looking for information and recommendations but haven’t decided yet.|
|– Consumers will likely look for other reviews and recommendations from other sites before deciding to buy as they haven’t seen a comparison.||– Can still align with a particular brand as their preferred option and is likely to have influence as they have demonstrated why they have chosen this brand over all the others.|
|– Builds authority on the item||– Builds authority in the category|
We say this to our clients too – occasionally we will have a client who asks us to make sure that we don’t suggest any bloggers who have talked about another item in the same category. While this might seem sensible, actually a blogger who regularly talks about a category will have more authority and influence in it that one who is talking about it for the first time. To continue the above example, a parenting blogger with established credibility on babywearing will be a better person to speak to about a item in that category than a parenting site that never talks about babywearing products. BUT if the blogger has positioned themself as aligned with one brand and one brand only then they wouldn’t be a good site to place the content and they miss out on the chance to develop their authority in that area.
Getting the most out of the press release
So back to the press release and other completely hopeless PR pitches you get…they can be used to your advantage if you use them to help establish your authority in your niche! Here’s why…
1. Most other bloggers will ignore it, this gives you an advantage.
2. People like to consume, especially in the west. They are looking for the best ways to spend their money and they are increasingly looking at blogs as trusted sources of information. If you put your readers onto something and they like it, you have just earned a bit more of their trust.
3. It’s part of building a relationship with the PR contact which can lead to other opportunities moving forward.
Sometimes the conversation about bad pitches stops before it even gets started. Yes, it would be wonderful if every email you received from a brand or agency lived up to the best practice standards of blogger outreach by while we wait for that to happen (and it may be a looong time coming) don’t let a bad pitch get in the way of a good opportunity for you.
Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments…