In the world of PR, it's all about getting your clients, and their products, ink. And of course, every PR professional wants their clients' products reviewed and featured by the largest, most prestigious national media outlets. Some might even offer exclusives or payment to secure a review in a top-tier publication or blog.
But when you’re pitching your clients' products to the press, there are three big reasons not to overlook the smaller players in the field, or ignore the writers from the lesser-known, up-and-coming blogs or publications. Here’s why:
Holding out for the heavyweight media hits for your client is a risky gamble that your client shouldn’t be encouraged to take. That’s because sometimes, due to circumstances beyond everyone's control, your client's news or product review doesn't get a run. Editorial changes and current events do affect coverage, and in this instance, no news is definitely not good news.
Not only that, but waiting for a more popular blog, or offering exclusive review arrangements may be inherently foolish if it restricts your product or service review to being eyeballed by only one blog/website. It might also be a lot more costly (if the blogger charges for reviews) and may not generate better results, particularly if the review isn't a favorable one.
Sure, audience size is a factor when it comes to gauging a writer's influence. But while a site’s traffic can be high, the level of influence the writer has over his or her audience may not be, and a strength of lesser-known blogs and publications is often their level of influence over their readers. This means significant weight is attached to what they say to their highly engaged but smaller audience, meaning their readers are likely to act on any recommendations made by that writer. This is something some PR professionals and their clients may not always appreciate.
For example, take one PR professional who acted for a business that made shoes. After pitching it to an online product review service and receiving more than 25 requests for the shoes from various journalists and bloggers to review, she removed her client's product from the service. Why? Because she didn't feel the responding journalists/bloggers had sufficient clout to review her client's product. A strange reaction, given the blogs and publications that had requested to review her client’s product had audience sizes ranging from 5,000 subscribers to over 4 million unique monthly views. The issue then? This PR professional hadn’t heard of them.
Another big reason not to put all your eggs in one big basket relates to search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. Having a large number of reviews, via big and small publications and blogs, can be incredibly powerful in raising the likelihood of that product appearing in an organic search on Google. And when the client and PR professional team together to get the right messaging and key words included in the pitch (and consequently the review), the SEO value of those reviews can become quite potent.
For example, the maker of a family-oriented calendar pitched her product on a product review service and received more than 40 requests for the product from journalists and bloggers from all over the world. By responding to all of these requests (both big and small), not only did she drive significant traffic to her site, it also helped her product to rank as the first result in Google for her keyword search terms, which were used in the pitch and the reviews.
So... when it comes to getting your product into the minds and hearts of your target audience, don't hold out for the heavyweight media outlets and blogs to deliver the knockout punch. Sometimes it's better left to the ‘little guys’ who, with repeated hits in the right places, can give your clients' products the knockout blow they're after.
(This post first appeared in The Bulldog Reporter Daily Dog - The Leading Source of PR Views, Tools and News.)