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How to make blogs work to your advantage

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A blog, which is derived from the word weblog, as defined by Wikipedia as a personal journal published online and consists of discrete entries or posts. Blogs are usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often are themed on a single subject. Emerging in the late 1990s, blogs are considered to be the pioneering frontrunners for social media, originally setting the tone for interactivity through comment placements, picture, audio and video posting and even chatting by using customized widgets.

Although overtaken by newer social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and the like, blogs still remain a major player in the social media universe as readers still visit these online journals to read reviews on key topics like new products, movies, music, services, books and just about anything under the sun. To date, capitalizing on blogging popularity still means effective coverage. Blogs work effectively in raising awareness on a brand with usual posts include comprehensive details, commentary and links from influential content sources, which are priceless for credibility, awareness and in particular, social SEO.

But how do you make these blogs work to your advantage? PR industry experts have shared that the golden rule in ensuring that bloggers will talk about a particular brand is, 'It is not about you. It is about them.'

Not being able to follow this maxim has resulted in many a media disaster. PR professionals should realize the fact that bloggers are not journalists and usual tactics employed to get their attention do not apply. The usual problem is that PR pros tend to pitch based



purely on serving the brand's need for exposure instead of thinking about what would make the blogger interested and even excited to use a brand's information in a blog post.

The best approach is to first find out basic information on the target blog—who writes the blog, what are the usual topics covered in the blog and how is the blog written? Aim to find out what motivates a particular group or segment of bloggers and then package useful content in compelling and interesting ways that PR can use to engage them. Think about how those bloggers discover new content and provide them with the information and messages you want to relay in that desired manner. Your role, as a PR person, is to help the blogger create content that is special, unique, relevant and timely. Similar to journalists, bloggers love to be the first to write about a topic.

Once you have helped create compelling and useful content, make it easy for bloggers to share these posts on other social networks. But don't stop there. Continue to maintain a strong relationship with the blogger by finding more interesting content that he can write about at a later time or as a follow up post to whatever has already been written.

Pitching to bloggers should reflect empathy on the blogger's needs, which covers the ability to package brand content in an interesting and useful way. In conclusion, utilizing pull PR tactics as a means to attract a blogger's attention and interest means optimizing on content for both search and social media discovery, while also making it easy to share this content online.