The 5-step plan for getting exposure from bloggers, tweeters and fans

Social media appears to be here to stay, and with it come a whole host of changes to the way businesses approach PR, marketing, and communication in general. One of the changes is that high-visibility bloggers, or Twitter accounts, can provide a level of almost unprecedented, trusted coverage for your organisation, if you approach them properly.  Social media and marketing expert John Jantsch offers a step-by-step guide on how to do just that.  We found this on the marvellous OPEN Forum, please click here to view the article in its natural habitat, or scroll down.

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Any marketer that’s been paying much attention of late knows that bloggers and other active social media folks can be great resources to help you promote your business, products, service or brand.

But, there’s a right way and wrong way to enlist blogger support, just like there’s always been a right way and a wrong way to attract the interest of any journalist capable of writing about your business.

In this piece I’ll give you my perspective as a blogger and marketer on what I think the right way is. I’ll also use this as a plea to all PR folks out there that haven’t figured out that blindly emailing bulk press releases to members of the media has never been an effective strategy. And blindly emailing 2000 word bulk press releases to members of the media is a really, really stupid waste of your client’s money. There, I feel better now.

So, what can you or the fledging PR intern do to get exposure from bloggers?

Consider these five tips:

1) Don’t target the usual suspects

Every start-up wants TechCrunch to write about them, but the competition is fierce. Better to drill down, do some research on sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and delicious and find some blogs you may have never heard of that are getting lots of mentions and action under the radar. Create a list of 25 of these kinds of blogs that might still be glad to hear some pitches and you might score better coverage.

2) Listen before you speak

Invest the time to read these new found blogs and pay attention to the comments, retweets and trackbacks. Subscribe to these blogs and track where these bloggers hang out by tracking their comments on other blogs through a tool like BackType. If you take the time to listen to what they like and don’t like, what else they read and promote, you might just be able to influence their entire network.

3) Hang out a bit

Since you’ve taken the time to subscribe to these new blogs, (and by the way, journalists at traditional publications like Business Week can be on this list too.) start participating in the conversation, get on their radars, make relevant comments. Resist at all costs the urge to promote yourself. Become a resource – do not puke up flattery – participate, comment on comments, tweet their posts if you like them, and use your knowledge to point out other related content.

4) Gift wrap your idea

Once you’ve built some credibility and recognition with a blogger through participation, you might have earned the ability to pitch an idea, but don’t ruin all your hard work by sending a press release. Here’s a solid plan:

* send a very brief note pointing out a story idea that would be a good fit for the blog’s reader (50 words – here’s a great idea) – ask if they want details
* respond with details but don’t write the post – give bullet points and links
* add another reason why it’s a timely/exclusive/trendy story idea
* position the idea as a tweet (120 characters or less)

5) Amplify for them

Once a blogger or tweeter covers your idea go to bat with all your might amplifying, tweeting, sharing and bookmarking the post or tweet. You will spread your story, show some appreciation, and probably stay on the short list for the next go around.

John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author of Duct Tape Marketing.

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So – what do you think? Is it worth all this effort to engage a prominent blogger? Would this provide better value than a traditional PR push? Share your opinions here!

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