You give me way too much credit if you think your potential customers read my blog. You misunderstand and misapply influence and you're giving away your inexperience with new media. Let's be clear, I still like you, I just find it easy to skip over your pitch. Go build your own audience.
New media is not traditional media, only on blogs. PR is very much in need of a reinvention beyond pitching bloggers press releases, signing people up to moderate communities, and building lists instead of relationships. What does it take to do PR in new media?
I'm thinking that a non PR person will revolutionize the industry by forgetting the following three things:
- never mind whether PR means press releases, let's start a new conversation
- moderation goes beyond answering on behalf of someone, it means enabling connections
- building relationships means understanding the social graph
It's no secret that public relations is the last conservative stronghold inside organizations. Even branding people have relaxed into the joy and fun of collaborating with customers. So how can PR professionals stop drinking their own kool-aid when pitching bloggers?
Start a new conversation
Write content worthy of attention and not just propaganda. Some ideas on what you do when they don't write about your story range from completing an existing story by providing additional insights, actually doing something interesting or worthy of notice, developing the story so it captures the point of differentiation.
There is no scarcity of the same very topics. What is missing, for example, is a well-researched approach focused on what makes a product or service different. Better today is relative and you still need to prove it.
This goes beyond just moderating a community, sending @replies on Twitter and reporting a KPI like say someone answering a tweet as a result. None of this is inherently bad, mind you. It's just not enough. There are at least three ways communicators can help businesses move the needle online.
Enable connections by finding fans and organize them, listening and learning from negative sentiment, creating interest around something the people you're looking to attract have in common. Get into the action.
Understand the social graph
With social tools, the purpose of business has now become to create a customer who in turn creates customers [thank you, Shiv]. Here's where you need to pay attention to the social graph, loosely defined as the global map of everything online and how we're related.
Your audience is not my audience. So you have a couple of options and they both revolve around relationships, something you should know a lot about.
You either appeal to my audience directly by offering content and news that fit and align with things that are helpful to them, which, let's face it, is probably quite rare. Or you are in a relationship with me not so that I publish your content, if we can call a press release that. You are in fact building that relationship to be introduced to my social graph.
Do I know or read someone who would be interested in your news? Chances are I am loosely connected to them. How can you help people share your news with their networks? By executing on the first two points here and sharing with me who your news is intended for and what makes the product/company/service different.
The fragmentation of new media is such that without direct knowledge and experience, you have no idea who those people would be. So be creative, help me and people like me help you find those people your customers trust. Then take note and learn to value those relationships, including the one that got you there.
Whatever you do, please stop writing that my readers would be interested in a pitch you just sent to a massive list of blogs, each unique and with a unique audience, unless you're willing to take the time to tell me exactly why and how it would benefit them.
If this sounds like a lot of work you're not getting paid for, then go out and build your own audience.