As a parent, the first place you may go when little Suzy or Johnny gets sick or acts up (and you want to find out how to deal with it) is on the Internet. If you do, you are not alone.
Blogs, in particular, are growing in popularity, and can be a great resource—whether, as a parent you are looking for insightful behavioral wisdom, observations on the joys of raising kids or helping your family to eat better—if not a great escape to hear from other moms and dads facing similar challenges.
But just as your needs for information vary, so too do blogs, in the ways that they provide it. The following are just a few examples of the types of blogs out there:
- Writers from major newspapers or parenting pubs that have a blog. Increasingly publications are moving a portion, if not all of their content online, as well as making online-exclusive content available. Take the Wall Street Journal’s “The Juggle” and The New York Times’ “The Motherlode” from KJ Dell’Antonia’s, for instance. More and more, reporters and writers are being asked by editors to generate blogs and other fresh content on the web.
- Moms who blog for the fun of it, or to make money, and have their own sites. These blogs are also spouting up, but don’t underestimate them, because they don’t belong to huge publishing companies. Sites like DomesticBuzz, and MommaSaid for instance, can draw thousands of loyal visitors per month.
- Bloggers for major web sites—like Babycenter’s Momformation Blog, BlogHer, or others—that have a parenting or mommy channel. Major women’s and men’s sites like these are packed with great info that address all of the facets of being a women or man (style, beauty, dating, careers, etc., in addition to parenting)
Why is important to know the nature and type of blog that you are contacting?
Blogs are personal. In many cases, they are the writer’s “baby” so to speak. So blanket pitching and blasting out information—if ever appropriate, which it is not—will not be appreciated in most cases.
Bloggers at BlogWorld in LA this past November said repeatedly, that they prefer a softer, get-to-know-you first, dialogue with companies and PR professionals.
As with any communications with the media, understanding the contact’s needs should come first. And, as with any reporter, it all comes down to how they can also benefit. What can you or your organization offer the blogger? Some, but not all bloggers, will appreciate:
- Free content that they can use to make their jobs easier – this can simultaneously offer a great opportunity to expand your company’s reach. In some cases you may even be able to syndicate your content to bloggers or other web sites to increase exposure. In general, content pitched to bloggers should not be promotional in nature.
- Partnerships—many, though not all, bloggers are looking for advertising or sponsorship partnerships to help them to keep their sites going. Some include information about advertising and sponsorships on their web sites. For many consumer companies, advertising or sponsoring key blogs can be a great way to grow your brand.
- Getting and trying your products – Product endorsement can be a great win for brands. Knowing how to approach bloggers to stand out, from the hundreds of products a month some receive, however, can be key in landing them. And we can never overemphasize the importance of knowing the blogger’s coverage area to prevent sending inappropriate or unwanted samples—frozen meat lovers pizzas sent to a vegetarian parenting blog, etc. Some bloggers may have a policy to not endorse products, period.
- Access to experts – Companies can also frequently benefit from opportunities to serve as an expert resource for the blogger, on a topic on which executives are knowledgeable. This can be a great way to position your company as an authority and possibly also get a link or two to your site or products.
In working with bloggers, it is important to first ask, what are my goals in working with them? And how can I also best help them to make it an appealing partnership?
You can then hone in on the potential needs and goals of a select few, targeted bloggers that might be a good fit.