Chris Reed of PR company Fishburn Hedges explains the five rules you should always obey when pitching to bloggers
1) Total transparency - To steal a phrase from Cilla Black, always say "what's your name and where you come from
2) Know the blog before you approach the blogger. Make sure it's relevant for your sector/product. Use the free (or not so free) tools available to find out how influential the bloggers are in your space and identify the ones you think are important
3) Engage with bloggers before you want something in return. Leave comments. Understand what the blogger is genuinely interested in. If you've got a blog yourself, then carry on the conversation. Link in and listen.
4) When it comes to pitching, don't oversell. But if you can give bloggers something others won't have, then do. That could be information, pictures, video or any other content. Or it could be a new internet application to test, or even a mobile phone or laptop to try out or a new car to test drive (but do clarify at the outset that you want it back - or not). They will have an opinion on it. They will publish it. And if you're seen to take that opinion on board you will have strengthened your relationship - and may even be able to improve your product as a result.
5) Don't expect bloggers to spout the company line. They won't. They're fiercely independent. So don't criticise them if they criticise your product. If you genuinely want their opinion, you have to appreciate that it won't always be the same as your opinion.