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Social Media Survival Kit For Small Businesses
Part 3: Build Blogger Relations

Inevitably, those that find themselves lost in any forest will happen across tribes of inhabitants that exist to help - and tribes that exist to hurt. And the social SEO forest is no different.

If you are preparing to journey through the social SEO forest, you must also prepare to come face to face with the bloggers - by far, the most powerful tribe in this space. Fortunately, if you are willing to listen, and to speak their language, they are almost certain to help you through. But be warned - any false step can stoke the ire of the entire tribe.

In part 3 of our Social Media Survival Kit for Small Businesses below, find five tips for building blogger relations:

Target Bloggers

1. Target The Right Bloggers

Not every resident of the social SEO forest is there to help you achieve your PR goals. Some are gentle residents, who are simply not a target for your pitch. Others are darker, and are just waiting to trap and expose a lost traveler who dares to cross them. (Learn more about this in tip 2.)

This most important tip for anyone seeking to build blogger relations, and one that will permeate through the balance of the tips on this list: target your pitch to the right bloggers - bloggers that are a vertical fit for your product or service, bloggers that are open to being pitched, and bloggers that offer the network that will help your story travel.

Listen to Bloggers

2. Remember To Listen

A good public relations professional would never dream of pitching a story to a large and influential media outlet, without first getting to know the publication from cover to cover, and journalist to journalist. This scenario should really be no different when building blog relations. And yet:

“It seems so simple and obvious, yet it is the biggest mistake made when pitching bloggers. Look at the categories of the blog and look at previous blog posts. Is your pitch REALLY relevant for the blog? For example, I get pitches about things like online advertising or creative interactive advertising campaigns and if you look at our categories or previous blog posts, we clearly do not cover advertising.”
(Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing).

The danger inherent in Odden's quote above is that a blogger is typically unfettered by any editorial guidelines or time restrictions. If you happen to catch an influential blogger with the wrong pitch on the wrong day, there is very little that prevents your entire pitch being torn apart minutes later - in a blog post read by thousands.

Know the Bloggers writing style

3. Know Their Language

Bloggers don't speak marketing-ese, a fact to which Cameron Chapman and thousands of other bloggers can attest.

The beauty of social media, of which blogging is a cornerstone, is the one on one and straight-forward level of communication that it's defined by. Because of this, some of the purest bloggers will reject any sort of email pitch altogether.

Fortunately, the easiest way around this is to simply toss away the marketing language we've learned, in favor of the plain language communication style we inherently know. Unless, of course, the blogger in questions happens to LOVE marketing-ese. If your blog relations efforts have led you to such a case - pat yourself on the back for adhering to tip #2.

Understand Blogger Needs

4. Understand Their Needs

This represents the next logical step in building blog relations.

In the social SEO forest, not one of us is without a need. If what you need is a blogger to help you capture success in a new and unfamiliar environment, discover what it is they need - and offer it freely, without reservation. This is not simply the cornerstone of blog relations - this is the cornerstone of both relationship building and public relations.

And much like public relations, what the blogger needs to survive is a topic to blog about. If you've followed tips #1 through #3, and find yourself holding the content the blogger needs, you're likely just an email away from achieving the coverage you need.

Join the blogging world

5. Join the Tribe

To truly think like a blogger, become a blogger.

All tribes of the social SEO forest share one thing in common: they live in a place that's only recently become inhabited. You have just as much right to live in the online space as they do, whether you've travelled this forest for years or are just now making your first foray with a blog relations initiative.

And the best part of becoming a blogger is that it automatically transforms you into your own media and publication channel. Rather than counting on blog relations to get your story heard, you now have your own channel - where all you need to begin building online awareness for your product or service is the time to write and publish your own content. Of course, now that you have your own blog, you'll be free to borrow time against your blog relations efforts.

Coming up in part four of our Social Media Survival Kit for Small Businesses, we show you how a tiny spark can become the fire that lights your way in How to Build Media Relations on Twitter.

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