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Blog Outreach: Beyond the Basics

by shackbarth

Over the last few years we’ve seen the merging of professional journalism and weblogging. Still, the vast majority of webloggers you will deal with write online as a hobby. Here’s some additional tips to add to Daniel Huey’s previous post.

Ask before adding to your list

My first piece of advice is to ask if a weblogger wants to be on your e-mail list. Don’t start sending e-mails to them without building a relationship. Filling inboxes with spam will not get you in good graces.

Webloggers are picky

Unlike reporters, webloggers live in a world where they’re working, taking care of their kids, etc. They aren’t like professional webloggers who have a huge appetite for content all day (and night) so they can be more discerning about what they write about.

When building your relationship with webloggers figure out what each person is passionate about. They may care about tax policy or education or they may be interested in the raw politics of Congress. It will take a lot of trial and error and to determine what each weblogger cares about.

Occasionally you will find some webloggers who will post anything you send them. They may be trying to transform their weblog into a money-making site by building their traffic. Take advantage of their need for content.

Get your boss to talk to them

Webloggers are a combination of activists and writers. They care deeply about issues and have an agenda. At the same time they use the Internet to educate, persuade, and rally others around causes. Having your boss talk to them will build trust and be a source of ideas and feedback. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Hold off-the-record conference calls with a select group of webloggers to give them a candid take of how your boss and Congress is performing, how he or she can improve, and what the grassroots cares about. The goal of the call shouldn’t be about pushing a message. It should be about your boss listening.
  • Talk one-on-one with a weblogger. This could either be on the phone or over a cup of coffee. Your boss will have lists of calls to make everyday. Add a weblogger to the list to build deeper relations with the blogosphere.
  • Give exclusive guest posts to webloggers. Unique content will attract eyeballs for the weblog. The weblogger will appreciate that. Also, follow up by responding to comments. Readers will respect your boss more if they know he or she is being a part of an actual conversation.