Robert Scoble doesn’t strike me as a media baron. When I had lunch with the technology evangelist a few years ago, he came across as likeable, interesting, curious and of course connected to everything technology.

But looks can be a little deceiving.  Since co-authoring Naked Conversations in 2006, he’s built up an army of followers and now wields influence that would make a media buyer drool, particularly in Silicon Valley, home of geeks and early adopters.

Image representing Robert Scoble as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

Super bloggers like Scoble have evolved into a new type of influential media powerhouse, often blowing by the traditional media. Most are not as well known as Scoble, but they often wield influence in their areas (for a glimpse of the new media in one niche, check out this list of top 50 social media and technology blogs). Now if you want to get your story out, you have to deal with the super bloggers.

But how can you connect with the new media elite? How can you get busy bloggers to write about your company, CEO, product-or interview one of your experts? (For now, I’m talking about the individual super bloggers vs the magazine style new media players like Huffington Post, or TechCrunchalthough many of these tips still apply)

Forget “pitching” PR-style to the super bloggers with press releases and canned corporate approaches. Instead focus on leveraging your own content.  Plant your own seeds, grow your own garden and then try to connect with the new media.

Why?

  1. Super bloggers are constantly looking for new content, particularly original content-and there’s no reason it can’t come from you/your company/subject matter experts (companies are now media too). You’re helping feed the beast.
  2. You’re sitting on a goldmine of content in most companies because you’re inside- stuff external bloggers can never access.
  3. Most bloggers, like most editors before, despise being “pitched to” PR style. But when you help develop and facilitate good solid content, you’re elevated in their eyes- now you have value. You’re earning a seat at the big shot’s table.

So first you need to quit thinking of your company as a second class citizen in the media race. You’re now a publisher. Think instead how you can transform that brainpower in your company into compelling content.

Here’s some tips to get started:

  • Identify your heavy (content) hitters- Seek out 3 to 5  internal bloggers with deep, specialized knowledge-willing to share it (critical). In my industry (technology), that might be a lab researcher or microprocessor engineer. These are hidden corporate gems.
  • Develop an editorial framework like the one I outlined recently to keep the trains moving and the post rolling in. This includes an editorial calendar, deadlines, and schedules to crank out copy systematically. Start with weekly blogger team meetings, move to bimonthly later.
  • Create a publishing cadence and stick with it. You might set a schedule for starters of simply one blog per blogger per week, and build from there-if you miss a week with one, so be it. But try to stay on schedule-you’re a publisher, remember?
  • Develop at least six or seven posts before you can start showcasing the work, and they need to be good.  Review other popular blogs in your area and make sure yours matches up- or exceeds its peers.
  • Always have two to three ever-green blog posts in storage in case you hit a dry spell for a week (holidays are notorious time).

If you have a limited budget, hire a free lance editor to come in a few hours a week and lend a hand. Most corporate bloggers need some kind of editorial support and hand-holding, even if it’s just helping them come up with ideas, framing them and doing some light editing.

The goal is to develop real content. Skip the usual corporate fluff and work with the blogger for inside, meaty material- example, “Yesterday, I was in a 3 hr meeting with customers and got an earful-here’s the key idea….”

Think like a journalist: What’s the story? Where’s the “tension” in the story? Secondly, what’s going to resonate with your key super bloggers?

Tackle hot industry issues first. If your blogger’s still struggling with the writing, interview them for a Q&A or podcast.

Once you start cranking out consistently solid, compelling copy, you can start connecting with the super bloggers.

For now you may just want to let the blogger know you’re a valuable resource-just make sure you send them to a relevant, compelling post for starters.

(In a way, you’re not pitching at all- you’re simply sharing your interesting content with the blogger. Let them decide on the angle; think of it almost like a public service vs a hard sell).

If you’re lucky, your post might spark another story idea-or a request to talk directly to your subject matter expert (an interview). Work your content, work your blogger–you’re only limited by your creativity when it comes to sharing and connecting.

For the more ambitious (with budgets), you can roll out your content over time as part of a planned media splash.

Let’s say you convince a senior researcher in your lab to blog about their work. They’re working on a new study that shows how educators are using Twitter to foster classroom interaction and problem solving. Rather send out another lame press release, you can start blogging about the study findings weeks ahead of time- why it’s important, what educators are saying, interesting angles and facets, etc.

You develop a list of commenters, tweeters and others following your subject, so when you write the big announcement post (the study findings), you already have a following.

The blog posts quickly generates hundreds of visitors and even shows up in the top Google rankings for some key search terms. Over several weeks, hundreds of more visitors swing by. Comments flow in, debate ensues; your blog looks like a beehive of activity.

NOW you have something to talk to Scoble and the super bloggers about-not just your study, but the overall buzz and debate around it.  Naturally your management thinks you’re a genius.

(This is just one hypothetical example of leveraging content-you can also launch webcasts, Facebook events and more- again, the sky’s the limit).

Building a powerful corporate publishing machine won’t be fast or easy. But it’s really one of the few ways you can level the playing field and connect with the big guys.

Welcome to the new media business. Now what are you waiting for?

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About Mark Ivey

Mark Ivey

Mark Ivey is a social media consultant with the ION Group and a published author with a broad corporate background in editorial, marketing, social media and executive communications. He’s served as a Bureau Chief at BusinessWeek magazine, national media spokesman for Intel, and recently, as Editor in Chief for Hewlett Packard, where he pioneered a new program to drive its enterprise blogs and other social media activities. Besides family, friends and good wine, his passion is social media-training, strategizing, and exploring new digital paths for his clients. Find him on Twitter at @markivey.

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Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/blog/official-black-seo-guy/ Black Seo Guy

    Mark..content still and continue to play a big role in the every day lives of corporation..those who do it well are those you get the most out of it.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://everything-everywhere.com Gary Arndt

    I have a hard time thinking of examples of when what you outlined works.

    I think a far superior approach is to get to know them in person at conferences and just talk to them.

    I’m not sure why making a blog is going to attract another blogger to write about the same thing that you just blogged about.

  • http://everything-everywhere.com Gary Arndt

    I have a hard time thinking of examples of when what you outlined works.

    I think a far superior approach is to get to know them in person at conferences and just talk to them.

    I’m not sure why making a blog is going to attract another blogger to write about the same thing that you just blogged about.

  • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

    Gary (and Black SEO Guy)- thanks for the comments. Great idea to connect with these people at conferences for those who have the time. But at the end of the day these bloggers will judge you by your ideas and content, and whether it adds value to their blogs/social media efforts. You’re trying to spark an idea in their minds. They’re not going to rehash your material, as you mention–instead they’d put their own spin on it or pick out a particular angle, statistic or other nugget that appeals to them. Basically I’m suggesting people think like an editor/blogger vs a marketer or PR person.

  • http://www.secretsushi.com/ Adam Helweh

    Great article Mark. I like the suggestion to keep some evergreen posts in the hopper. I often forget that. I think this article really emphasizes how you can approach blogging in general and not just reaching out to influential bloggers. I find that it takes some work to get my clients to release their need to broadcast about themselves and move into creating great content that includes useful information, compelling stories, etc. There is so much potential in blogs. It just takes commitment and a little creativity. Thanks for the reminders.

    • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

      Evergreen posts, yes.. Also remember to repurpose some of your older content and posts–not just rehash them but rework them creatively, say, if a relevant issue comes up.. You can always come up with a new angle, yet leverage work you’ve already done.

  • http://www.russhenneberry.com/ Russ Henneberry

    Mark, great stuff.

    I think the key thing to remember is that these “super bloggers” are in the business of supplying interesting and valuable content to their “fans.” By building a corporate blog you are then able to communicate to these super bloggers that you understand how to speak their language.

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Mark,
    Great post! I think what makes an influential social media powerhouse or leader is their capacity to “be influenced” by others. The most powerful are always looking for fresh ideas, insights, and new voices in the conversations.

    Thanks for encouraging organizations to reach out. I would also give the same advice for individuals;reminding them to not be surprised when we see a hand extended back!

    Jason is a perfect example of this in action; look at me on Social Media Explorer…who would have thought it was possible!

    • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

      Good point about Jason, a good model and the master of organizational collaboration-why else would we be here having this discussion?

  • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

    Thanks for all the great comments.. Couldn’t agree with you more on these points.. It is about “speaking their language” (Russ) and SoMe leaders and their capacity to “be influenced” by others (Angela). Also agree Jason is a great model.

    Truly we are just scratching the surface of what we can do in this area… Adam sums it up perfectly: “There is so much potential in blogs. It just takes commitment and a little creativity.”

    Creativity, along with energy, passion, persistence,will go a long way in this battle…

  • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

    Thanks for all the great comments.. Couldn’t agree with you more on these points.. It is about “speaking their language” (Russ) and SoMe leaders and their capacity to “be influenced” by others (Angela). Also agree Jason is a great model.

    Truly we are just scratching the surface of what we can do in this area… Adam sums it up perfectly: “There is so much potential in blogs. It just takes commitment and a little creativity.”

    Creativity, along with energy, passion, persistence,will go a long way in this battle…

  • http://twitter.com/kenekaplan Ken E Kaplan

    Good advice, Mark. I totally agree with you: think like a journalist. Might even try writing like a journalist.

    It’s different than blogging your thoughts and experiences — it’s even more reflective, inclusive of other’s ideas and data, and often it’s not about you or your company but the world in which we live. We’re trying this with Intel Free Press (http://freepress.intel.com). I found it challenging for the first few months — and still do — to get into the editor and out of the PR/Marketing/advocate mindset.

    Reporting from inside Intel, we may never completely shake biased favor towards our employer and coworkers, but we aim to do authentic reporting, sometimes critical or questioning strategies, approaches, visions of our own leaders or taking on and exploring controdictory views.

    Good ideas don’t always translate into good or useful stories, but a good writer/story producer can help weave together interesting ideas, compelling evidence and meaningful anecdotes to create inspiring and motiviating “content.” Anyone can write, and everyone should, but we all benefit from people who can help us edit and craft our stories so they connect with and engage influencers like you, Scoble, my boss, family and friends.

    Keep writing!

    • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

      Ken- I’ve been fascinated watching you develop the Freepress, a good example of corporate creativity and new types of content development at work, with a rich mix of stories (ex: the Intel tatoo story) . Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.peoplebrowsr.com PeopleBrowsr

    Extremely interesting. Amazing that “super bloggers” are as influential or in some cases more influential than the traditional media outlets

    • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

      Right. I came out of the old media world (BusinessWeek editor) and have watched this rapidly evolve the last few years with interest. So now if you want the latest on technology, you might ck out Scoble or Techcrunch vs the big media pubs. Most people still haven’t realized that this decentralizing of media power is and will have enormous ramifications, a sea change of sorts.

      • http://www.peoplebrowsr.com PeopleBrowsr

        Particularly interesting is that information and influence on blogs is no longer random. It used to be, “Did you see that story on the internet?”, Now news articles brought to you by bloggers have a face, a (semi) credible source. I’m still not sure how we can remove the bias though . . .

        I agree the best place for tech news is the individual super blogs. However, sports blogs are for the most part still developing that influence. I am a huge sports fan, if you have any interest you should check out http://www.bleacherreport.com, they serve as a portal for fans to express their true voice.

        Business Week huh? How was that experience? Why did you leave?

  • http://twitter.com/markivey mark ivey

    Ken- I’ve been fascinated watching you develop the Freepress, a good example of corporate creativity and new types of content development at work, with a rich mix of stories (ex: the Intel tatoo story) . Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    I’m loving your suggestions here as they’re far from the usual ‘kiss my a$$’ advice that many are giving on the topic of pitching to top influencers/bloggers out there. I think that it’s all simple: You’ve got to have something valuable to share and unless you do, save your email for later. Thanks for the awesome tips!

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    I think that it’s all simple: You’ve got to have something valuable to share and unless you do, save your email for later. Thanks for the awesome tips!

  • http://mohulghosh.com Mohulghosh

    i sometimes wonder why all super bloggers belong to tech related niche.. or weight loss or travel market.. y doesn’t any super blogger exist in music? or astrology?

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  • http://www.magicupload.org mJ Admin

    nice article indeed, soon i’ll also be a super blogger :) I love blogging :)

  • http://twitter.com/GoodwinMeyers Goodwin Meyers

    Thanks for this post, it will for sure help me in my blogging. I’m new to it, I need lots of talent and practice to become a professional.
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  • Wabisuke

    I think the key thing to remember is that these “super bloggers” are in the business of supplying interesting and valuable content to their “fans.”
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