Research, people, research

It's a brave PR who'd pitch to the Devil's Kitchen blog. It's a particularly stupid one who, when emailing said blogger, gets basic information in that email concerning one of the most profanity-filled blogs on the internet so badly wrong:

Here's a tip for you PR people out there (especially given that I am disinclined to punt your clients' products simply because you ask**): if you want me to plug your product, may I suggest that you actually get the name of my blog correct?

Under the circumstances, the Devil was surprisingly restrained.

Seeing pitches like this posted on blogs like that annoys me. Not because it's been posted, but because it makes the rest of us working in similar fields look bad, and suggests the majority of PRs don't know their blogging arse from their internet elbow.

Cold-pitching to bloggers is a tad unnerving, as you never know how they're going to react. A lot of PRs I know are still a tad reluctant to engage precisely for the reason, and when they get pulled up online about to, use that as an excuse to ignore social media communities altogether.

Their loss.

At the risk of sounding like a long-playing record, pitching to bloggers isn't hard. It's the same as pitching to journalists, just in a different medium and with a slightly different technique.

You wouldn't email, say, Zoo magazine and address it to Loaded. Or to the Sunday Times Travel Section to suggest a piece for the Guardian. And neither would you send the same pitch for the same product to the Sunday Times as you would to Zoo.

The same goes for bloggers. Each blogger is different, has different likes and dislikes and there's normally enough information on the blog to give you a good idea of what they're likely to be interested in, and if they're likely to take a pitch badly.

So in the case of The Devil's Kitchen, even a cursory glance will tell you of an interest in politics, libertarianism, alcohol, and Apple products. And while he may come across as an angry young blogger, there's also a lot of humour and incredibly well-argued pieces on his blog.

This could all be worked out in half an hour, although if I'm pitching to bloggers, I like to spend at least a week reading around their writings to get a good feel for the site - it helps if you know who you're pitching to. And the better you know your blogger, the better - and, more importantly - and more relevant it'll be.

It's not rocket science. It's simply modifying dealings with journalists and bringing them into a more Web 2.0 way of working. And if you're scared of having your pitch torn to pieces on a blog, I'd suggest you lack confidence in said pitch. If it's well-written, well-researched and you've taken time to read and appreciate the blog, life should be a lot smoother.

Bloggers are usually as good as journalists at spotting bad PR. The difference is bloggers have an instant medium to detail the worst examples of PR. Journalists tend not to (although there are a few instances in my journalism career where the PR was so bad that blogging about it would have been very cathartic).

Some may be scared by this. Personally, I think it's a great reason for all PR professionals to use the web as an excuse to up their game, assuming they haven't already.