Learning To Target Your Audience By Example.

There’s something to be said about trying new things. For me, I’ve been accustomed to working from behind the marketing realmn of it all. I have a marketing degree and am focused on pushing information out. But with me now being a social media strategist at Stage Two Consulting, I’m finding myself thrust into a whole new era of work – and I’m glad that my time going to conferences and reading blog posts and books has prepared me for the situation.

Public Relations and marketing have always been a part of the communication structure. They’re “brothers” in trade, so to speak, and what I’ve discovered while being focused on social media is that you’re going to be able to do both marketing AND public relations.

Take a recent case where I’m helping to choose some influencers to reach out to in order to garner some feedback. As I’m looking through my Twitter stream to find these people and perhaps looking at other magazines or publications to reach out to, I’m reminded that I’m now doing public relations and that I’ve got to be strategic about my communication. And this is all possible by constantly being exposed to the tips and insights from books like Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis, Personality Not Included by Rohit Bhargava, Now Is Gone by Geoff Livingston and Trust Agent by Chris Brogan & Julian Smith.

So what are some good points to keep in mind as you’re reaching out to influencers or bloggers that will help strengthen your return?

Remember what you’re marketing. Don’t forget that you’re trying to sell something. Learn what it is first before you try and figure out who you want to market it to. If you can’t understand what your product does, how will you explain it to bloggers and the media during pitch time?

Ask yourself if these contacts really care about your product. Another way to put this would be to make sure that you’re reaching the right contacts. As I was trying to look at people who might be interested in an unnamed gadget, I thought about reaching out to folks at TechCrunch like MG Seigler and Michael Arrington. This probably would be a bad move because TechCrunch doesn’t necessarily cover product reviews/demos. Instead I recalled that there was a CrunchGear website and sought out the right editor to potentially liaise with, which will get me the results I potentially desire.

Read what bloggers are writing. This is one of the most important things. Sure, you can try and get folks like Pete Cashmore, Guy Kawasaki, Veronica Belmont, or Loren Feldman to read your pitch, but wouldn’t it be more prudent to see if they actually wrote anything related to your product to see if it’s anything interesting for them? Take a minute to look through some of their work and while you might want the editor of a publication to pay attention, it may have more weight to have the associate editor or reporter writing about it – because it’s their area of expertise and it’ll lend to more credibility.

Don’t discount people just because they don’t have as many Twitter followers or a high amount of web traffic. This may seem to be the opposite of what you should do, but if you suspect someone to be an influencer in your industry you’re trying to reach, don’t discount them just because they may only have 1,000 followers on Twitter or perhaps a few thousand unique visits per month. They may be more willing to provide feedback and evangelize your product in real life than online. Sure they can write a post and may very well reference that over time, but there are other offline ways to be influential as well. Don’t discount it.

Take advantage of Twitter lists to keep track of influencers. One thing that I’ve noticed is that often times I’m looking for people who may be tech influencers or are community managers on Twitter and can never remember. To remedy this, I used to have to click and view their profiles and read their biography. Not anymore. With the invention of Twitter lists, I’m able to immediately go to those who fit the profile that I want to reach out to and check to see what they’re saying. From there, I can filter additionally and get the people who I suspect may be interested in my product.

These are just five tips that I’ve encountered over my brief foray into blogger outreach, but I suspect that there’s some weight in these thoughts. What are your suggestions to getting the right people to pay attention to your message?

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