Blogger relations prime option for emerging companies

Maybe your client is not quite ready for the cover of Time magazine. Perhaps it is a new company, and there are some unanswered questions about its future. Consider floating the basics about the company in the blogosphere.

Maybe your client is not quite ready for the cover of Time magazine. Perhaps it is a new company, and there are some unanswered questions about its future. Consider floating the basics about the company in the blogosphere.

This is what a lot of technology companies are doing as an alternative to pitching to mainstream media. In fact, many tech PR agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area have utilized blogger relations, and continue to do so with emerging tech companies.

According to tech agencies, the reasons for doing so are simple: Bloggers have a limitless audience, they require less preparation to take a story, and their reporting is more fluid. The process of briefing bloggers is informal, quick, and effective, as there is usually no need for the more formal press kit or conference calls, notes Jason Throckmorton, principal and cofounder of San Francisco-based Launch Squad, which serves many emerging tech clients.

"With blogs, it is much more conversational," Throckmorton adds.

Text 100 employed blogger relations with Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency when it created a Web portal, game&game, to feature new games and introduce them to the US.

South Korean games had been having trouble reaching an international audience, so the agency pre-briefed a small group of influential bloggers.

"As a result of doing outreach to those blogs, it spread the word about game&game," says Radley Moss, account manager at Text 100. "It created a lot of chatter. The strategy proved to be the right one; peer endorsement brought gamers to gameNgame.com."

"Choosing the right bloggers to pitch is "more of an art than a science," says Throckmorton. "We do it more based on gut."

Paul McNamara, CEO of Coghead.com, a b-to-b software company, notes that he has already approached bloggers with information about the company, even thought it has not launched yet. By pre-briefing about five, he adds, 150 bloggers picked up on Coghead.

"It is interesting how the blogging is changing PR," he says.

Key points:

Approaching respected, influential bloggers allows companies to disseminate information much sooner than is likely with standard print and broadcast media

Pre-briefing bloggers also makes for a two-way conversation between the agency and the journalist

Targeting bloggers ensures that both the company and the agency become players in the blogosphere, and thereby are knowledgeable about the space

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