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The Big Ask.  How social media marketers effectively and efficiently build relationships with social media influencers and bloggers to build message amplification.

While we do call it social media, pitching bloggers and online influencers is nothing like traditional media relations. Motivated by different priorities on when and what type of content to craft and share, online publishers often do not have the same mindset, staff or budget of traditional publications.

While some best practices and techniques of “traditional” media pitching translates to blogger and social media outreach, here is a compiled list of additional tips to consider when building and executing a social media pitching campaign.

Social Media Relations Rule #1: Make your communication clear and easy to understand.

Prepare “pitches” in the classic “inverted pyramid” format with the most important information at the beginning.  Be sure to include important details such as the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Write your pitch in a professional, yet conversational, tone so it is easy to read and digest. Watch your subject lines and avoid sending just a press release. Personalized emails are more likely to be opened and read.  Keep your pitch as short as possible and save attachments for future emails to avoid the junk folder.

When appropriate, attach ready-made content for easy sharing and language to pull from.

Provide pre-made, social media optimized copy and graphics to have at their ready.  Make sure to convey any important deadlines or expirations up-front to avoid sending the wrong communication. Explain they can still create their own messages but they are welcome to use your pre-packaged copy if that makes it easier on them.    

Be ultra clear with your objectives and explain what’s in it for both parties.

Ask what might be a fair trade or find something they might find value in.  This may help entice them to come onboard. Maybe a VIP event ticket to your event, recognition on your website or even a sponsorship/cash exchange if appropriate. Remain ethical and always followup with your end of the deal. If you’re not able to meet their requests, then respectfully decline.

Watch your individual pitches, don’t just blanket a bunch of contacts.

If you do use a pitch email template, be ultra careful before you hit send to make sure names and titles are correct. Avoid using email marketing programs as this is not how they are to be used.  Email Marketing programs are for opt-in based marketing campaigns, not for pitching.  

Things to avoid and not ask in your first couple of correspondences:

  • How big is your list?
  • How much traffic do you get?
  • How are you comparable to {insert competitor}?

Questions like these will often put off influencers. It can be comparable to asking someone their age or weight. Avoid asking unless they are willing to share. Some of this information is publicly available, just review their social followings for a gauge.

In summary, be ultra respectful when reaching out to social media influencers and bloggers and always do your homework before asking them to do something for you.  Remember, great PR is based on established relationships so don’t expect to cozy up with a new connection at first.  Design a way to build a value-based relationship that has long-term benefits for both parties.