Courting Top Bloggers & Etiquette


What are the proper ways to ask Top Notch bloggers to write about your Start Up?

What kind of "Bribes" (if any) are exceptable?

Are there certain bounderies that need to be respected when trying to ask for a bloggers review?

Is it a good idea to invite influential bloggers to Beta test your start up or should you work through as many of the bugs first?

What advice can you give for a start up looking to get the attention of an influential Blogger. 


asked Oct 19 '09 at 17:39
61 points

2 Answers


I recently researched best ways to contact bloggers, so I present you part of my notes:

NOTE:I didn't write almost any of this, sources were answers on this site and various blog posts. Some URLs are at the end, others were forgotten.

It's a tricky balance, building a relationship with a media contact. But I think it's about providing a mutually beneficial relationship: I help you and you help me. But I help you first.

Journalists have rather simple rules what makes an information newsworthy:

  • Prominence: The information involves a well-known person or organization.
  • Currency: The information is related to a topic a lot of people are already talking about.
  • Impact: The information affects (or may affect) a lot of people. This includes direct and indirect effects.
  • Conflict: The information has some kind of disagreement between two or more people or parties.
  • Weirdness: The information is unusual or strange ("Man bites dog").
  • Timeliness: The information is about an event that happened recently. 'Recently' is defined according to the publication cycle of the media.
  • Proximity: The information is about an event that happened somewhere nearby. 'Nearby' is defined according to the distribution of the media.

A "lot of people" often just means a large part of the audience of a certain media.

A better approach is to target very specific media and make sure you have some kind of relationship with them.
I always like to learn about the journalist I’m targeting before I contact them. I start on the media website and read her bio. I then search for her on Google. Find her Twitter profile, Facebook profile and maybe even a personal blog. I study all these sources and connect where I can. Sometimes I find that this isn’t really the right journalist to be pitching. I make notes in my contact database with links to all her sources. I then make a plan to interact with the journalist in her own space. I comment on posts I like. I retweet her content on Twitter. I send a brief note on Facebook (not pitching a story, but sharing one of her posts I liked and asking to connect). This way, by the time I’m ready to pitch her, I’m already on her radar.Pitching a media contact is a process. It’s not something that will happen overnight. Plan ahead and work for several weeks to get to know a journalist or blogger for best results.

How to pitch to bloggers by a blogger

  1. Know Your Audience: We're asking you to know the audience. Our readers come to us for web-related product reviews for example. Figure out what the writer wants and deliver on it. If you don't hit the nail on the head the first time, then try a different angle in a couple of months.
  2. Message Delivery: Try to research the best channels and methods to send your pitches.
  3. The Difference a Day Makes: Slow days are great days to offer demos and pitch company features.The team still works on Friday mornings and Sunday nights despite the fact that few PR pros pitch us on those days. Rather than pitching at the same time as a mid-week Apple release or major acquisition, consider pitching us when you know we're looking for stories.

Extra advice on pitching:

Give them a free license in exchange for a review.

Give them a free license they can gave away on their blog.

Note: do not impose any restrictions on what they write or how they do it. Otherwise you've undermined their ability to be authentic and true to themselves, which is their value to their readers.

answered Oct 19 '09 at 18:50
Slav Ivanov
1,146 points
  • Great quote: "I help you and you help me. But I help you first." The pretty much sums it up! – Barry Fruitman 12 years ago


I am a blogger, so I understand a bit about blogger's mentality.

From my experience, top notch bloggers would rarely want to write about you or your startup, unless what you do is directly related to them. And don't expect them to be your apps beta testers; they are too busy for that.

What you can do, is to target those second rate bloggers who will jump at any opportunity to market themselves. Even so you have to make sure that your products interest them, or else they might just give you a lukewarm review, which is not very helpful anyway.

And, do remember to give them some sweetees, such as a free version of your product, to keep them motivated.

answered Oct 19 '09 at 18:20
871 points
  • This is great advice. Don't expect the WSJ tech blog to review your brand new site, however remember BLOGGERS READ BLOGS so get on the influencers' radar by getting into smaller blogs and work your way up the ladder. – Barry Fruitman 12 years ago

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