On How to Hail a Blogger

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(Photo: We bloggers aren’t always this full of hot air, I swear–Chicago’s 2006 Thanksgiving Day Parade from Devyn’s front door. Credit: Looper’s flickr photostream.)

I owe a healthy debt of gratitude to Howard Dean. It was through his 2004 presidential campaign that Internet outreach finally grew up from its netroots origins, maturing into a respected–and highly sought after–aspect of contemporary media relations.

I based my Internet media work for this year’s AFL-CIO/ACORN 7 Days @ Minimum Wage video-blog campaign on the Dean campaign’s 2004 model. My work was successful (we won wage increases in six states!), and I learned a lot along the way.

That, in turn, caught the eye of Chicago’s Community Media Workshop, one of the nation’s most respected grassroots media training organizations, who last month invited me to lecture on the topic of blogger outreach. Given that I had done continuing-education media training at the Workshop last spring, the invitation to lecture was both an honor and a thrill.

However, more thrilling was the invitation to submit a best-practices guide on blogger-media relations to the Workshop. I considered what I learned from my experience on 7 Days, and summarized everything into “Seven Success Strategies for Pitching to Bloggers“. And damned if CMW didn’t immediately post it to their website as part of their media training canon.

In a nutshell, if you really want to reach out to the blogosphere successfully as part of your media relations plan, there’s no other way to do it than the personal (bloggers can smell spam a mile away–so don’t spam us). To wit:

1. To Pitch to a Blogger, Be on the Internet Yourself;

2. Be Personal with Your Pitch;

3. Have a Heartfelt Message;

4. Join in the Resulting Debate;

5. Don’t Shy Away from Opposing Posts and Comments;

6. Use ALL Available Content-Distribution Tools;

and, for God’s sake (and I mean this truly),

7. Express Gratitude.

Oh, and please, please remember, we’re on a first-name basis here on the blogosphere, and we’d like to keep it that way.

You can read the fully detailed “Seven Success Strategies for Pitching to Bloggers” on the Workshop’s website, here. And thank you, CMW, for believing in my work.

And thank you, too, Howard. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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