Blogs are becoming a very effective, if not more effective way, of doing publication relations than traditional PR. May sound nuts but I would rather my company, LexBlog, be mentioned on a few well read blogs than in the New York Times. My target audience is reading those blogs everyday.

Nick Wreden, with more than 20 years experience in integrated advertising and public relations in both agencies and corporations and publisher of Fushion Brand (book and blog), gives legal marketers some great advice in '7 Habits of Highly Effective Blog PR.' Wreden covers the need to use blogs for PR and the 7 steps for doing so effectively. Here's the highlights.

Need to use blogs for PR

  • Must distribute stories to blogs, for the same reasons that have distributed stories to print, radio and TV.
  • Must use blogs as a corporate and crisis communications tool.
  • Must use blogs as a periscope that can provide insights into what customers, prospects and even the disenchanted are saying about offerings.

7 Rules for doing PR via blogs

  • Never pitch, personalize: A long-standing tenet of effective PR has been to read the publication and, ideally, the reporter's work. That has been like preaching abstinence to teen-agers: great in theory, but not very applicable to the real world. No PR person could be expected to read all publications pertaining to a company or an industry, much less of a reporter's work. But a blog has everything a blogger has written, complemented by relevant links.  There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing what a blogger's passions and idiosyncrasies are before  you converse about – not pitch – a concept.
  • Respect a blogger's time and intelligence: Start emails with an informative subject line. 'Press release' is grounds for immediate deletion. Make emails short and concise. Avoid attachments. Especially avoid PowerPoint attachments. Do not send HTML email. Do not kowtow; remember it's a conversation. No more 'read your great post' or other pick-up lines. Do not send an email to a blogger until your Web site is in order, with the information and a contact easy to find and read. 
  • A blog is not about you, it is about me: Never, ever use the words, 'I think your readers would be interested in this story.' To a large extent, bloggers are more interested in a point of view or the power of an idea than they are 'readers.' While the thought of a worldwide audience is certainly an ego rush, many bloggers would continue  blogging for an audience of one. Think less about what I can do for you and more about what you can do for me. Can you get immediate access to a top exec? Provide a customer to talk? What about metrics?
  • Quality, not quantity: Never send out more than one or two communications to blogs a day. Use the remaining time to research the industry and relevant issues, study the blogger's hot buttons and craft a finely tuned email. Make the email seem like it's coming from a knowledgeable best friend, not a direct mail house.
  • Feed the food chain: In the distant days when I had a PR agency, clients would ask, 'How do I make the cover of BusinessWeek?' First step: Make the cover of their industry publication, and inevitably coverage in better-known publications will follow. Already, almost every industry has its blogging superstars, the go-to bloggers for both insight and buzz. Instead of stuffing their inbox, start by conversing with the bloggers who are likely being read by  the superstar. That's not hard; just read blogrolls of the superstars.
  • It's no longer just about the media: Many PR professionals focus on the prominent journalists and influencers who have blogs. That is understandable. But remember that customers, prospects, suppliers, industry associations and others who can influence your brand also have blogs. Converse intelligently with them as well.
  • Keep learning: According to a blog monitoring organization, the number of blogs worth tracking has grown from 1.5 million to 7.5 million in less than six months. This emerging field is changing so fast that even these tips will have to be revised in a year. Keep up by reading at least the blogs of two experienced and thoughtful professionals: Tom Murphy and Steve Rubel.

Thanks Nick, we in the LexBlog community appreciate these words of wisdom.

Source: Steve Rubel's Micropersuasion