Category Archives: bloggersmeet

Do’s and Don’ts of Pitching Bloggers

If you are a blogger from a metro Indian city with decent online presence chances are you might have been contacted for some brand sponsored blogger meet or the other. While I am not sure about how things stand in other parts of the country, Delhi is definitely seeing a lot of activity on this front. The PR firms and Social Media agencies are increasingly going all out to woo the bloggers to help them spread the word about their clients new product, service etc. Given the fact that me and my fellow blogger friends get invited to an event/meetup every ten days you can imagine how things stand today and where they can go from here.

While being a Blogger and Social Media guy I am quite happy to be a part of the new scheme of things but I am not exactly happy with the way ‘Bloggers are being pitched’ by PR, Blogger relation firms and Social Media agencies and I am not alone in feeling this way about the way we are approached and followed up.

While a lot has been said about this already. I’d like to share a quick list of Do’s and Don’t s for approaching us (Bloggers) and hope the local agencies/individuals will learn a thing or two from it and in turn make things better for everyone involved.

The below mentioned list is for people who want to do their jobs better and are willing to make an effort for the same. So if you are one of those lazy guys who don’t want to make an effort, skip the post.

Don’ts:

1) Don’t Send Bulk Emails/SMSes: While it might be the easiest way or the only way you know of to send email to a dozen folks, it is counter effective. Such bulk emails trigger the spam alert which I am sure would be the last thing you want. Also, being personal in your emails shows that you have spent some time on those emails and most bloggers would appreciate that. If you are new to the job or need to further fine tune the sending email bit, you can checkout ‘5 Tips for Writing Better Emails‘. The same applies to SMSes also.

2) Don’t Spam: Contrary to what you might think, sending multiple emails or smses about your client’s product or the agenda/reminder for your meet don’t guarantee any results. If I am interested in learning more about your product I’ll ask for it and the same goes for attending the meet or reviewing the product. If I am keen to attend the meet I’ll attend it, sending me reminders every 2-3 days. Bombarding me with information about your product/meet might make me lose all interest.

3) Don’t Instruct: I am not sure how it works with journalists but telling bloggers what they should and shouldn’t write isn’t the best thing. Giving them pointers or sharing key points is good but telling them you should write ‘this’ or you can write ‘that’ isn’t.

4) Don’t Act Desperate: Yes, it’s plain stupid when PR/Agency folks start acting desperately to ensure a bloggers attendance or getting them to write about something. If a blogger finds your event interesting and they can fit it nicely in their schedule they will attend  it, asking them to send a cab or pay for conveyance generally doesn’t help. Similarly asking them to test a product or share it with their friends multiple times ends up doing more bad(though not easily visible) than good.

Do’s:

1) Know the Blogger: It might sound obvious but I am sure most people who approach bloggers have almost no clue about them. You need to spend some time researching about the person behind the blog. The least you can do is to find out some background of the person and what he/she likes to write about.
It helps you to verify if the blogger in question would be interested in learning/reviewing your client’s product.

2) Plan Reasonably: This is another aspect that needs some fine tuning. Bloggers are people too and majority of them(at least the one’s I know) are not full time bloggers and don’t make their living out of just blogging. Some have 9-5 jobs, some have businesses to run and thus a bloggers meet scheduled in the middle of a work week and that too in afternoon is unlikely to find any takers and pestering ‘em won’t help much. So it’s a good idea to take these things into consideration before planning a meet.

3) Build Relationships: If you are serious about your job and are thinking of long term associations you should definitely spend some time and effort in building relationships with bloggers that you’d like to involved with. Assigning blogger(s) to an individual is a good way to approach this unlike anyone from the PR firm emailing or calling any blogger at random. My response would definitely be better if I know the person approaching me beforehand and have had interactions with them before.

Here are some of the links you might want to read

1) http://www.globalprblogweek.com/archives/the_pr_lessons_of_a_.php
2) http://pulverblog.pulver.com/archives/008349.html
3) http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/08/how-not-to-pitch-a-blog/
4) http://www.ogilvypr.com/en/expert-view/7-tips-pitching-bloggers

How has been your experience as a blogger or PR/Agency person pitching bloggers like?

Update: The findings of a Global Blogger Survey done by Text 100 a few months back should make things even more clear for PR folks


5 Tips for Writing Better Emails

Yesterday evening while trying to explain some best practices for writing emails to my younger brother I tried to make my point clear by showing him some examples and asking him to identify the differences. Given the amount of badly designed/structured emails doing rounds it wasn’t hard to find an example of badly designed email from my inbox.

Here are two emails that I picked up for him, both are regarding bloggers meet.

bad_email

and

good_email

Instead of pin-pointing the differences I asked him spot them and it didn’t take him a second to say

“The second email is addressed to you while the first one is SPAM”

Though I wasn’t expecting him to flag the first one as spam but I guess that’s how it would appear to anyone who doesn’t know the context beforehand.

Trying to figure out what was really bad about the first email isn’t rocket science. It’s essentially two very simple things

bad email marked

1) ‘To’ Field: I try to find some clues like who all was the mail addressed to etc,  from the ‘To’ field (some people put their entire list in to field btw). As you can see here the email’s ‘from and to’ fields are same. Thankfully email clients don’t work like packet sniffers else this mail would have reach spam folder directly, no questions asked.
Perhaps like we used to think during our college day the sender thought it’s mandatory to have an address in ‘To’ field and therefor it’s their name in the ‘To’ field while the addresses email id’s are shoved in the ‘BCC’ field.

2) ‘Greeting’: It’s basic courtesy (common sense?) to greet someone by their name (unless you are not sure about their name) when sending email and it’s even more important when you are sending mail to a blogger on behalf of a client. The last thing the recipient should think is if it’s a bulk email or worse spam.

Given the fact that recepients of such emails wouldn’t be numerous I don’t think it would have bee a tough job.

5 Tips for Writing Better Emails:

1) Don’t send bulk emails. And if you have to then don’t make it apparent that it’s a bulk email by addressing it like ‘Hi Bloggers’ or ‘Hi Guys’ .

2) Write personal emails:

Emails starting with just ‘Hi’, start on a fishy ground(unless you know the recipient)

bulk emailThough the ‘To’ field here has your name unlike in example 1 above since it starts with just ‘Hi’, you can’t assume that this email is just being sent to you.

3) Avoid generic statements:

‘Your blog makes for very interesting reading’. That’s the kind of lines spammers use these days. Avoid them and insted writing something that seems more genuine and believable.

4) Be relevant/targeted:

irrelevant email

Now that’s seriously lame. Thankfully they didn’t add neighbours and relatives to the list.

5) Have an opt-out link: If for whatever reason you plan to send emails to people regularly without asking them before hand at least have a link for them to opt-out from your emailing list.

As with other things finding bad examples is quite easy but finding good examples isn’t. Here’s an example of what could be called a better designed/structured email sent for the first time (to some email list I suppose)

nice_email

second half

nice_email2You might want to checkout this awesome email checklist by Seth Godin and writing more effective emails by Chris Brogan for more on better/effective emails.

Got some tips to share about writing better emails?

Samsung Jet Bloggers Meet

As mentioned before Brands in India have started to open direct communication channels with bloggers for sharing a sneak preview of their new products and getting some community insights among other things. Samsung  also took a formal plunge into direct conversations with bloggers in the form of ‘Samsung Jet Bloggers Meet’ (#sjbm). Samsung called upon select bloggers and mobile enthusiasts from the town to share more about their latest phone ‘Samsung Jet’. Jet is a smart and powerful phone with loads of interesting features. You can checkout their microsite for more details on the phone (and in case the site takes too much time to load, you can checkout the specs here.

After the introduction by a professional (and good looking ;-) ) emcee, Sarfaraz Borah, Product Manager, Samsung  kickstarted the session by showing a demo video for ‘Samsung Jet’ and then explaining its features in details while answering audience questions in between. While Sarfaraz was explaining the new model in all seriousness, a caricature artist (which was hired by organizers) was busy making interesting caricatures of the guests, btw here’s mine (How’s it ?)

caricature

The talk by Sarfaraz was followed by a quick summary of the whole thing by Ankur (Digital Marketing Manager – Samsung) and the summary was followed by a quick Tweet Q & A competition regarding the Jet presentation. @praval was the lucky winner and managed to closely beat @twilightfairy to get Jet as a prize. With another phone left to give away there was a lucky draw in which @twilightfairy, true to her name, pulled off a great trick and picked her self as the winner.

It was really nice meeting the blogger folks and friends over beer and snacks at the meet @ TGIF.  Thanks Samsung, Starcom and Blogworks for the nice event

PS: In case you missed the meet, I shall try to make pre-event posts for future events.