I’m certain that identifying, and building relationships with, targeted print and broadcast journalists is a core component of your nonprofit’s marketing strategy. But I’m (almost) just as certain that you’re leaving out a vital cadre of new media conduits — bloggers.
Tremendous growth in blogging by and on nonprofits is just part of the broader emergence of blogs. You’re likely to be a regular reader of blogs, and it’s probably occurred to you that some of the bloggers you read are folks who should know about what your nonprofit is doing. These blogs are likely to reach some of the same audiences targeted by your nonprofit, and many traditional journalists covering related beats.
I urge you to move forward now to integrate blogger relations into your media relations work as a formal commitment. When you do, you’ll find that bloggers are far more likely to post accurately on your nonprofit’s mission and programs, and far more likely to contact you with questions when they’re critiquing one of your organization’s programs or policies.
Here’s how to build strong blogger relationships:
- Research the key blogs that cover the issue areas in which your nonprofit works, the related policy arena and other relevant topics. Find these by searching (Technorati works well) for coverage of these topics and of your nonprofit and colleague and competitive organizations.
- Subscribe to these blogs via email download (you’ll find a button for this if it’s offered) or your RSS reader.
- Become familiar with what the blogger(s) cover, their purpose in blogging and their points of view. During this process you’re likely to cut some blogs and add others to your target list.
- Begin to build relationships with the top 20 bloggers. Do this over the course of a couple of weeks by participating in the conversations on the bloggers’ blogs, via the comments field. Make sure your comments are relevant rather than gratuitous.
- If your nonprofit blogs, blog on a recent posts by these bloggers, linking to the Trackback links (which flags the blogger that you’re linking to one of their posts) to the posts so they know you’ve featured them. But be genuine. Do this only if your citation and analysis fits well within your nonprofit’s blog content strategy.
Nonprofit communicators, start tracking and getting to know bloggers today. This strategy is low-cost, high benefit, with the potential to reinforce key messages and calls to action for your target audiences, and to reach beyond existing targets to audiences likely to become supporters, participants or volunteers.
Learn more about how to get a reporter’s attention in this Getting Attention article.