If you’re a public relations or communications person who works with bloggers, you’ve probably figured out by now that every blogger is unique. Pitching bloggers is not the same as pitching traditional journalists, because every blogger is motivated differently, whereas journalists are generally motivated to write because they’re being paid to do so and with a (usually) clear editorial direction.
Bloggers, on the other hand, work mainly for themselves. (For the purposes of this post, we’re talking about non-corporate bloggers – those that create and maintain blogs for their own personal use, or as a small business in and of itself.) So determining the motivation of an individual blogger is the key to pitching them successfully, because if you can address their needs, you can often get them to write about your product or service.
Public relations professionals responded en masse to last week’s post offering some guidelines for email pitching. My assertions that PR outreach via email is, indeed, a commercial communications and, thus, falls under the regulatory purview of the Federal Trade Commission and the CAN-SPAM Act was polarizing.
Many did not agree with my opinion that the CAN-SPAM Act also encompasses public relations communications, particularly when a PR person is reaching out to a media outlet or blogger to just establish that all-important relationship. Honestly, I do think there are a lot of gray areas here, but when it comes to following the letter of the law, can we really afford to play in an unclear pool?