Blogging is not real writing. This was one of several memorable lines in Steven Soderbergh’s excellent 2011 movie, Contagion. The apocalyptic medical thriller went on to examine the staggeringly important role freelancer Alan Krumwiede played in the global viral MEV-1 outbreak and ensuing public hysteria brought about in its aftermath. Initially a down-and-out conspiracy theory journalist begging for any sort of attention whatsoever (sound familiar?), Jude Law’s character became one of the world’s most followed icons as a result of his blogging about the film’s far-reaching protagonist, the Meningoencephalitis virus. It was a case of right time, right content.
According to Which-50, a digital intelligence business publisher, online media overtook traditional media as a medium in terms of outright consumption (by total volume) in 2014. To understand this as an exercise in commercial relevance, consider how you start your day; wake up, take phone out of flight mode, get up, get coffee, return to bed … by which time your phone data service has connected to Thailand’s sluggish 3G infrastructure, and you begin receiving your digital breakfast – fat slabs of carb-rich, sugary content, from an overwhelming raft of sweet and not-so-sweet digital sources.
Do you wake up and reach for a newspaper or magazine? Of course not. Unless it is this morning’s rag, it’s already out of date; the magazines are already weeks out of date. We need our news NOW, while the caffeine is working its way through our own sluggish synaptic infrastructure.
In the aforementioned movie, when the US Government eventually tried to reach out to Mr. Krumwiede, they encountered extreme resistance. Partly this was because they wanted to throw him in jail; superficially, it was because Jude Law’s previous attempts to consult with the Centre for Disease Control were met with flippant indifference.
Had there been a pre-existing relationship, a two-way channel of trust, then that information flow would be in place already and serving both parties. Rather than trying to connect with a blogger in a time of need (product launch, by any chance?), put the pieces in place and start talking earlier, in as friendly manner as possible.
After compiling a target list, a proverbial Top 10 of must-have bloggers in your industry, follow this super-quick checklist to ensure the relationship is mutually beneficial:
Get acquainted with the work (and style)
Go through the blogger’s old and new articles, become familiar with their opinions, and have a grasp of their writing style.
Be sociable, be friendly
Join the blogger’s Twitter and Facebook, offer interesting opinions on their posts, and seek to communicate in a friendly, neutral way without pitching your stuff.
Keep it personable when approaching with a project
Use their first name and an example which demonstrates you know their work well, and keep the tone in line; if they’re hard-edged with a dry wit, don’t use a cute and flowery pitch.
Keep the relationship going after the project is concluded, with the aim of working together on a friendly and ongoing basis … the reason for this should be obvious.
Want to become a blogging superstar? Read our guide to getting the most out of your time online