Friday, December 14, 2007

10 Tips for Asking Bloggers to Write About Your Cause

A friend recently asked me, "How can I get the word out about a court case surrounding the harmful effects of uranium mining in the Lakota (Sioux) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation?" There are a lot of answers to that question, but if you want to do outreach to bloggers about an issue you care about, here are a few tips:

1. Search for bloggers who write about topics related to your cause on Technorati, Google Blog Search and's blog search engine.

2. Search for blog posts tagged with words related to your topic.

3. Read blogs. Just like you would read a magazine or newspaper to decide if it was an appropriate place to pitch a story, you need to read the blogs you are considering too.

4. Find the name and contact information for the blogger. A personal email is more effective.

5. Think about who you are pitching to. Most bloggers aren't paid to blog. They post whenever they can. They write in coffee shops, during lunch breaks, at kitchen tables and in bed. They are a person, not a corporation. Keep that in mind when you email them.

6. If you have lead time up until you'd like them to write about your story, comment on their blog. Bloggers can sniff out a fake commenter a mile away so steer clear of comments like, "Great stuff. Check out my site:"

7. Start your email with a compliment, or some indication that you have read and enjoyed their blog. I'm telling you, they'll know if you are faking, so be real.

8. Make it easy for them to post about your story. Send them all of the information they would need to write a post without ever having to contact you again, but not in a press release form. Remember, you are one person asking another person to spread the word about something you presumably both care about. Be sure to include:
  • The who, what, where, when, why, and how of the issue, campaign, event or product.
  • The date, if any, that it should be posted by.
  • The action you want their readers to take, if any.
  • An image they can illustrate the post with.
  • Your web site's URL.
  • A short "about" paragraph for the lead organization, person or business.
  • Where they can find more in-depth background information, if they have time.
9. Choose a subject line that tells them that your email contains possible blog post content. Steer clear of vague subject lines like,"Interesting event," or "Fair trade business." Here are a few I've received that I opened because I knew what to expect:
  • Story of Stuff Live with New Youtube Teasers
  • 100K Prize for Social Innovation
  • Annie's Homegrown/Scholarship Program Launch
10. One follow up email is helpful, more than one is annoying.

Bonus tip: If they write about your cause, thank them and link back to them!

For more ideas, check out Reaching Bloggers on Spare Change and a cute little video Blogger Outreach 101 on the Common Craft blog.

Also, check out what 10,000 Villages did. They contacted bloggers and asked them if they would like to join their blog press list.


  1. This is really good advice. I hate it when people (often PR people) want me to post something on my blog that just isn't relevant. I am most likely to link to a cause if I know someone involved and if they have a compelling story.

  2. Hi Britt,

    I wanted to let you know about the Nonprofit December Giving Carnival. Deadline to submit your post is Dec. 20th.

    Here is the link,

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Christopher S.

  3. I'm glad you liked the advice, sueb0b.

    Christopher, I don't think I'm going to be able to contribute to this carnival, but thanks for the advice!

  4. As always (nonprofit or for profit) it's about "target marketing" for the mass media message.

    Excellent distilling of information into digestible capsules for the masses, Britt.

    I can speak to some tenacious PR folks that 'know their stuff' and core audience...e.g. the Edelman PR person in L.A., Susan Mills, I think? pitches me the Habbo/eco angle of online edutainment in virtual worlds, knowing full well that Shaping Youth is all about using the power of media for positive change. Brilliant.

    In fact, I'm compelled to 'pay it forward' w/their recent survey of 50K teens concerned about global warming in-world via a Greenpeace survey to present to the U.N.!

    Bravo, Britt! ;-) Thanks, for always.


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