All that’s wrong with blogger relations…

Fall photo walk
(Photo credit: edenspodek)

While I consider myself a communicator and I’ve worked for and with many PR agencies over the years, I don’t consider myself a PR person. So PR people, if you’re going to hate me for what I’m about to say, I can live with that.

As some of you know, I’ve been blogging since 2006. I blogged steadily for three years then things slowed down a bit as my interests went in other directions. (Misguided, I know but it’s the truth.) Last year, I published one blog post here and handful of guest posts elsewhere.

Is this really influence?
For some unbeknownst reason – call it SEO karma – traffic here doubled. I hadn’t been paying attention to my Google analytics until recently when I decided to get back into the swing of things.
In the good old days, Bargainista was getting 6K visitors a month. Today, that number has more than doubled. Yes, you read that right, 12K monthly visitors still come to this humble little space on the web. After seven years, 800+ posts, 200K+ inbound links (combining and and activity in several social networks, perhaps I’ve built up a little traction (just ask Klout and Kred.)

Despite these impressive metrics, you may want to be sure Bargainista is the right place for your client’s product before you reach out and try to get in touch with  me.

So tell me, where did we go wrong?

The email pitches didn’t go away. They slowed down a bit but everyday I still get at least half a dozen emails mostly from strangers, asking me to pimp their product. Please introduce yourself and make it personal. I promise I won’t bite.

Before you send me an email, please do me the courtesy of visiting my blog. If you’d done so, you’d have noticed I took a 13-month vacation. Asking me to post your $5 coupons for U.S. customers won’t bring me out of hibernation.

If you didn’t read my blog, at least you should have received the auto-response thanking you for your email, letting you know I write with a local audience in mind and I’ll get back to you if I’m interested.
If you’d been monitoring my blog, you’d also know I haven’t blogged about one of your products.
If your monitoring tools aren’t picking up posts from Canadian bloggers, maybe it’s time to get new ones. There are plenty of online listening tools to choose from. Google has a couple of free ones that work wonders. Yes, they may take a little more time than whatever you’re currently using but they’ll save you lots of embarrassment. Besides, clients won’t start asking why your company’s firewall doesn’t allow you to surf beyond U.S. borders.

Lack of professional development
Agencies: your staff needs to be nurtured and mentored. If you can’t help them, there are experienced consultants for hire who can; or enroll them in a course or two. Interns and co-ordinators: if you’re not getting the support you need, maybe it’s time to look for a job at a firm that will help foster your growth.

Reciprocity helps
We’re all busy. Collaboration and cooperation only makes us stronger but if you’re going to ask for favours on a regular basis, please acknowledge my emails/tweets/FB comments once and a while. I’m happy to help where I can. I don’t keep score, but please remember relationships are a two-way street.

Don’t ask me to do your job
My relationships aren’t something I give away, especially not for free. Just like you, I’ve worked hard at developing my network and social capital. If you need help identifying appropriate bloggers and/or other influencers for your clients, let’s discuss ways I can work with your team.

Here’s a little secret

Blogger relations take work but it’s not rocket science. The secret of success can usually be pinned down to common sense. Don’t be afraid. Do your homework. A little research, sincerity and human kindness can go a long way.
*The examples in this rant we extracted from real communication I received from PR practitioners engaging in blogger outreach over the past week. I swear I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site