5 Tactics Bloggers Should Borrow from Traditional PR

This guest post is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, an online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab a free copy of the Big Press Release Book – Press Releases for Every Occasion and Industry.

Bloggers have been hailed as “citizen journalists” and powerful influencers for years. But bloggers have another, less frequently discussed role – they’re also citizen PR experts. Bloggers who intend to stand out need to manage their brand, interface with readers, snag media exposure wherever possible, and craft compelling messaging.

If you’re interested in taking your blog to the next level, consider these lessons from the public relations world.

1. Network, Network, Network

Networking is a big deal in the PR world. Clients who pay through the nose to work with a big PR firm are paying as much for the firm’s contacts as for its employees’ technical skill.

As a blogger, you’re probably practicing DIY PR, which makes networking even more critical. You might not be able to afford ad space for your blog, but you can definitely afford to call a friend, write a thank-you note, ask a pal about guest posting, or attend a social event. Take time to maintain existing relationships and build new ones.

2. Plan Ahead – Way Ahead

Most bloggers respond to current events as they happen. PR pros also have to respond to news events rapidly, but they also take time to plan for what’s coming next. A Christmas pitch might well be perfected by July, leaving plenty of time to work on placing a client’s product in gift guides and other holiday-related editorials.

Top bloggers plan ahead without sacrificing the spontaneity that makes blogging unique. If there’s a big event coming up in your niche in the next few months, you should already know what angle your coverage will take and how you’ll publicize your posts. You should also be reaching out to other bloggers who plan to cover the same story.

If you want to interview anyone who is speaking/competing/doing something else important at the big event, get in touch with them (or their PR people) well ahead of time. Tie this in to your blog marketing plan to keep yourself on track and focused on goals.

3. The Art of the Press Release

As founder and president of eReleases, I’ve seen press releases on just about every subject imaginable. There’s no PR tactic more iconic or more broadly applicable than the press release. If there are a handful of people interested in a subject, there’s a reporter somewhere covering it who can be reached with a press release.

A great press release can help you promote your blog. If you’ve also got truly great content and a perspective found nowhere else, media coverage might help you turn a moderately successful blog into one that pays your bills and more.

Take the time to craft your blog’s press release carefully and distribute it effectively. Don’t issue a press release just because your blog exists; wait until you have something newsworthy to say. Do something innovative and exciting through your blog. Then craft a press release around that news.

4. The Talk Show Circuit

When celebrities have something to promote or want to respond to criticism, they suddenly pop up on every talk show in town. You’ll also see them in weekly magazines and hear them on morning radio shows.

You can use the same classic PR tactic to draw attention to your blog. Use HARO to locate reporters seeking sources in your niche.

Consider reaching out to local radio shows and offering yourself as a guest, especially if you’re a genuine expert who blogs about a subject which the show’s hosts frequently discuss. If you’re friendly with a group of bloggers whose blogs are similar to your own, you could turn the tables and ask to interview them on your blog.

Editor’s Note:

Interview series usually go over very well, especially if you can get them on video and promote them on YouTube.

You’ll create interesting content and your interviewees will help to promote the posts featuring them.

5. Get an Angle on the News

PR pros love using current events to their clients’ advantage. When Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, separated recently, newswires were deluged with releases relating to divorce. Would you be as interested in a scientific study about how divorce spreads through social networks if the story weren’t tied in to news about the Gores’ separation and that of their daughter?

Great bloggers might be even better than PR pros at using news to promote their expertise. Even the slickest PR firm has to give journalists a little lead time. As a blogger, you can publish a story immediately, just as interest in related news is peaking. Don’t just comment on every news story that makes waves. Make sure you have unique expertise that allows you to add something to the story.

Your Thoughts on PR and Blogging

Do you implement any of the above PR strategies or others for your blog? Do you utilize press releases for things such as changes on your site, contests, and other blogging news? Please let me know in the comments below how these techniques have benefited your blog.

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Comments

  1. says

    Planning ahead is a big deal. If a blog entry can be written and indexed by Google long before an event happens, all sorts of traffic is available. We try to do this with local events in our area. Often times, we will outrank the event’s website for longtail phrases.
    Colleen just posted Full Disclosure

  2. says

    Indeed there are many traditional tactics that works well in today’s online endeavors. PR (Public Relations) is a well known strategy and the tips you provide are good tactics to achieve this. I for one have neglected the use of “Press Releases” as I have not seen it as effective as networking. Then again, I have not really jumped into the band wagon and use it to my benefit. I should probably visit eReleases and find out more about the subject :) Thumbs up!
    DiTesco just posted Top SEO Plugins For WordPress

  3. says

    Thanks guys. @DiTesco, press releases work are being widely used for SEO, social media, and web exposure — that many people forget they can also get media attention if they are actually sent to the media (many press release outfits neglect that last part).

    @Ari, five, six or 26 tactics? There is no magic number and these were never designed to be the only tactics but five tactics that just stood out to me as obvious targets. Thanks.
    Mickie Kennedy just posted What Are You Really Getting From Social Media Marketing?

  4. says

    I hope you and other other PR companies are starting to recognize Social Media users who are valuable sources for breaking news and who have powerful Social Networking accounts to spread what you are promoting.

    By knowing what circles each of these people moves you can send them a DM and/or @UserName Tweet whenever you have a story that would interest them and their followers. Most will automatically spread the word for you.

    Some like @CommentLuv stay on top of DMs but not @CommentLuv messages while others like me see @GrowMap messages much faster than DMs that get lost in a sea of DM-spam. Ask which they prefer and build lists by niche to take advantage of that huge resource.

    People like Kristi aka Kikolani and I know who “gets it” and will automatically pick up what interests them and run with it. Ask any power bloggers / Social Media Marketers (SMM) you know including us who else they recommend you put on your list of influential SMMs.

    I am searching for a tool that allows us to sequentially DM or @Tweet over time (not all at once) to a list of Twitter users by keyword, topic or list. If none exists I will work to find someone who would create it. That is what we need to more effectively and efficiently spread the word without annoying our followers.

    I have so far been too busy to add press releases to my repertoire but I am actively promoting two very hot stories that a PR person could get a lot of mileage out of so if you’re interested contact me for details. Totally up to you whether you feel they are as important as I believe they are.

    Former Fox News Doom and Gloom Reporter Jeff Crilley has an excellent YouTube channel containing very short PR Tips videos. There are some great tips in them and his excellent inexpensive book Free Publicity. Bloggers and PR folks alike could do something similar to increase their reach.
    Gail just posted Akismet Deletes Comments Bloggers NEVER SEE!

  5. says

    Hi Mickie and Kristi,

    Of all the points presented I’m most interested in the art of Press Release.

    And what you mention as a kind of caution is precisely what makes me stay away from press releases.

    It seems to me that without some earth shattering event to write about nothing is worthy of a press release.

    I really wonder if there are some good event examples you could point out as good subjects for writing press releases.

    Vance
    Vance just posted Internet Marketing Tool, Should You Get Apple Mac Or Windows PC ?

  6. says

    I am pathetic when it comes to networking – social or otherwise. Tried various things with twitter and facebook but I do not have that knack of scraping something and get numerous people lined up behind you. Having said that, most social followers are fake these days I believe.
    Ajith Edassery just posted Updates on blogging

  7. says

    Vance,

    I think you would be surprised how many “safe” press releases get picked up. Just visit testimonials on our website where we feature the press release that attracted media attention. Some will stand out but many are just regular press releases. I believe a company should always push the newsworthiness of its press release, but included here are things many of us might consider mundane: opinion on an industry topic, company sponsorship or partnership, improvements to an existing product/service, etc. There are lots of industry trade publications and websites looking for content. It doesn’t have to be breaking news.
    Mickie Kennedy just posted Break Free from the Basic Press Release Template

  8. says

    There are definitely some ideas here I would not have thought of myself. It’s actually got me thinking about marketing my expertise locally. So many businesses in my area would benefit by adding a blog to their websites. Hmmmm… I should offer my services to help them set up and add a blog to their current websites.

    Thanks for getting my old gears turning!
    Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella just posted Want To Write More Engaging Posts? Think Like A Telemarketer