Today I was honored to be a guest on Blog Talk Radio’s Chicks Who Chat with @sugarjones and @extraordmommy (regular host @keepitclasseyjen was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras). I was also a panelist on the #GNO Party on Twitter tonight(it takes place every Tuesday night from 7-10 pm MST). I was among the elite with @barbarajones, @nancy_martira and @todaysmama. It was a fast-paced conversation (I have hand cramps to prove it) but a lot of good questions were asked.
This post is for bloggers looking to reach out to companies or media that align with their brand. I titled this post PR = Personal Relationships because that is what it is. You may be saying “but I’ve never done PR, I don’t know what to do.” My response would be “Have you ever engaged someone in a conversation?” That is what PR is. It is about engaging a company/journalist in a conversation.
As a PR professional for over 10 years I have had a lot of experience and I must say, that I have had to evolve with the times. 10 years ago I wasn’t reaching out to bloggers, as they really didn’t exist. Now, I mostly focus on outreach to bloggers because I know that they have a big “Sphere of Influence” (more on this later).
How do I start a conversation? Seek them out in the community’s where you are. Let’s say you love to ski (as I know you all do!) and you would like to reach out to ski resort to see how you can work with them. Use the search.twitter.com tool and search your favorite resort. Say you type in “park city” and find @snowmamas @reply and say how you love Park City. Build up that relationship first, because remember that is what PR is.
Why would a company want to work with you? Because you can help them share their story. I have shared this before, but it’s worth sharing again. David Armano, a genius in my mind, created an “Influence Ripples” chart. Basically, you as a blogger, have a sphere of influence that has a ripple effect. You may have 10,000 followers or you may have 10 followers, either way these people trust you. And if they trust what you are saying, they are going to share it with their “sphere of influence” and so on. The ripple effect keeps going and going.
How do you prove your ripple effect? First, it is true that some companies are not as “educated” on social media and they may just want your #’s like Unique Visitors. Yes, number are nice, but this is your chance to educate them. First, Google Analytics is a must. If you don’t have it, you must get it. It’s free! There is so much great information that you can track with it and it creates really cool graphs/charts. You can get your unique visitors, page views, etc. But you can also drill down into your readers engagement. What’s the Avg time on site? Are people staying for 10 seconds or are they engaged with your content and staying for 10 minutes?
Second, comments on posts show engagement. I heard it tonight, and I’ve heard it before, but please leave comments on someone’s post that you’ve enjoyed. It’s ok to twitter them and say how you loved their post but complete the circle and comment on their post as well. Comments show that your readers are engaged in what you say and that they trust you and your opinions, which is important for our third point.
Use “corporate” jargon like ROI but don’t use it in the “Return on Investment” sense. Use it in the “Return on Influence” speak. Show your ROI to a company. If a company sees that your readers/listeners are engaged in what you say they will want to work with you.
But what is the most important thing? Be authentic! Work with the brands that are true to you. If you hate dogs (not that you would) don’t agree to do something for Purina Dog Food. Your readers know you, which is why they love you, and they want to see your opinions on brands you really would use!
Have fun and make new friends! PR people are no different than the ladies you meet at #gno every Tuesday night (ok maybe our fangs come out at night)! Start a conversation, you might be surprised what could come of it.
I am happy to answer any questions you might have. DM me at @kristaparry anytime.