Paul Shrater has good reason to love bloggers. Shortly after co-founding Minimus, a site that sells travel-sized products, he landed an editorial mention on DailyCandy, a blog that attracts around 350,000 unique pages views per month. The article went live on a Friday and orders began flooding in.
“I had to call every aunt, uncle, cousin and friend to help me pack orders all weekend long,” remembers Shrater.
Opening the Media Floodgates
Within days, Shrater was getting calls from other bloggers and traditional journalists who wanted to write about his business.
Shrater landed the mention by directly pitching DailyCandy. Instead of sending a press release, he emailed a quick note with a description of his service and how his company would help readers. No only did his plan work, but his public relations efforts have since landed him placements on Hungry Girl (a blog that attracts nearly 400,000 unique page views per month) and segments on the TODAY Show.
Charell Star also believes in the power of bloggers. Just after founding PA For A Day, a personal assistant service based in New York City, she offered a free half-day trial to a DailyCandy writer. The blogger took her up on the opportunity and wrote an article documenting how one of Star’s personal assistants did a great job performing obscure tasks such as fetching alcoholic cupcakes and exchanging foreign currency.
The result: Star’s business doubled in less than a month. In addition to sales, the mention gave her business visibility with other bloggers and since, PA For A Day has been featured on Gotham Magazine’s blog and NY Enterprise.
How to Get Noticed By Bloggers
Bloggers are constantly on social media, so amp up your efforts to increase your likelihood of getting noticed. Lisa Rocha, founder of ilaments, a jewelry business, does this by using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Her efforts are paying off. In early October, her company was featured on Fab, an e-commerce flash site that attracts more than 2.5 million unique page views each month. Her sales have since increased by 50 percent and she’s been asked to appear on HauteLook, a shopping site managed by Nordstrom.
If you’d rather seek out individual bloggers, search online for players in your industry. Try using Google keywords to identify the most prominent bloggers and then run each through a test on Alexa or Compete, two sites that provide data on page ranks and numbers of visitors.
From there, read a few posts to get a feel for what to pitch, recommends Star. Focus your pitch on a topic of interest to the blogger’s readership.
“I’ll find a blogger’s phone number or email address on his or her contact page and then reach out by saying that I’m an avid reader and have an idea that I think would be helpful,” says Star.
Be prepared for rejection; big-time bloggers get mountains of pitches every day. If you are among the rejects, keep the conversation going to help establish a relationship. When one of her ideas is dismissed, Star will ask if she can pitch the blogger again and if there are other angles of interest.
What to Pitch
Bloggers don’t want to read press releases plainly describing a product or service, says Shrater. They are more likely to respond if you incorporate a little creativity.
“Think of their audience as people to entertain,” he suggests. “I’ve don’t a lot of top 10 lists and tip sheets; they love those.”
Giveaways can also work, but be careful. Star once pitched a blogger who said he would only write about her business if she gifted him an iPad for the coverage. In the name of ethics, she didn’t go for it.
“When you do a giveaway, make sure you know the difference between someone who will talk about your business and someone who will take advantage of you,” she says.
Another red flag: buying ads for editorial mentions.
Star says, “This isn’t necessarily wrong in all cases, but if you are buying advertising space, you shouldn’t be listed in an editorial piece—it is a matter of credibility.”
What kind of publicity has proven most profitable for your small business?