Bloggers Speak Out: Give Us Substance and Hold the Hyperbole

October 18th, 2010 by Editor

Engaging bloggers is a careful art, particularly those who are not affiliated with the media. PR professionals have been ostracized for sending bloggers spam mails and press releases, and several brands have been blasted over the years for sending “gifts” that were perceived as “bribery”.

The simple rules of blogger engagement over the years have been:

1.       Be transparent on who you are and who you represent

2.       Read the blog thoroughly before engaging

3.       Blogger relationships should not be approached as transactional; Make the engagement conversational versus a pitch (specifically with those who are not journalists)

4.       If you’re sending product, make sure to make it is super clear there are no strings attached

5.       Avoid buzzwords

6.       DO NOT SPAM

Recently, two bloggers added some thoughts to the list I found interesting.

The Reinvigorated Programmer wrote a piece called “How to Render a Press Release Tolerable”. Their advice: pull out all the adjectives and get to the point.  Examples used:

Original:

PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 01, 2010 – Newburyport, MA. October 1, 2010 — eZuce Inc. has          developed strategic alliances with several of today’s leading technology vendors to enhance its open       unified communications solutions portfolio. Through collaborative development efforts and ongoing      integration testing and certifications, eZuce delivers next generation technology innovations that         address the demanding, complex requirements of enterprises and enables customers to seamlessly             transition from their existing legacy (IP) PBX systems.

Don’t your eyes just slide right off this when you try to read it?  Now let’s get rid of the adjectives:

PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 01, 2010 – Newburyport, MA. October 1, 2010 — eZuce Inc. has             developed strategic alliances with several of today’s leading technology vendors to enhance its open   unified communications solutions portfolio. Through collaborative development efforts         and ongoing integration testing and certifications, eZuce delivers next generation technology     innovations that address the demanding, complex requirements of enterprises and enables customers             to seamlessly transition from their existing legacy(IP) PBX systems.

[I was generous; I allowed "technology", "solutions", "integration" and "technology" (again) to         survive.]

Mark McLeod Hendrickson also recently wrote about how to pitch the likes of TechCrunch, GigaOm, VentureBeat or ReadWriteWeb. His advice- carefully craft your narrative and make sure it’s thought provoking. Simply sending facts won’t get anywhere.

Hendrickson outlines six types of the most common types of narratives and recommends crafting pitches around one or more of these types of angles.

  1. Competitive or Political Drama – aka “company X releases product Y to kill company Z”
  2. Gossip – “CEO of company X gets tangled up in Y”
  3. Insight – “trend X will change the world because of A, B, and C”
  4. Evolution & Confluence – “service Y is like X for Z, capitalizing on the recent developments of A and B”
  5. Success – “company X has created super impressive technology Y, is growing fast, or has made lots of money”
  6. Failure – “company X is dying or has messed something up”

In many ways, this follows the same rules as pitching business media. They aren’t interested in the product announcement (unless it is a breakthrough or from one of the major players). They’re interested in new trends, controversy, competitive tension, customer stories and the bigger picture impact.

The moral of the story: If you lead with a product announcement, aren’t clued into what the blogger cares about and don’t think through a compelling narrative, you’re wasting your time.

Oh, and hold the adjectives!

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