Inspired by this post on PR Couture (they have a fabulous blog, by the way - anyone in fashion marketing or PR should definitely check it out). Anyways, I've been blogging for almost two years now, and I contribute to several other blogs (check the sidebar), so I have plenty to say on this topic.
Lots of public relations professionals want to get their client's name out in the blogosphere and leverage the social media networks/vast web 2.0 world to promote, well, whatever it is they have to promote. However, the community is vast and intimidating - so where do they start?*
1. Target - this one is really obvious. Look for fashion blogs that discuss things related to your client. Where would they fit in? Perhaps subscribing to popular fashion blogs - RSS and aggregators are your friends here - would be helpful too. Also, try searching with google blogsearch or on technorati for keywords related to your client and their product, and see who is already talking about them. Check out del.icio.us or Stumble Upon too - the social bookmarking sites are becoming increasingly popular and valuable in terms of traffic.**
2. Tailor - you definitely don't have to read the entire blog (seriously, mine is almost 200 posts - no one is going to read all that), but an awareness of what they've been talking lately is key. Check out the profile/about page (chances are this is where the email address will be anyways) too, because this is probably where the most important info about the blogger will be (who they are, where they are, what they do besides blog if they aren't a full timer, and other relevant stuff). You don't have to write a book on the blogger, but you are much more likely to get a positive response if you prove that you specifically chose their blog to pitch instead of sending out a blanket email to entire blog network or something. After all, would you pitch a print magazine or other traditional media for a story without getting some background as to who you were pitching?
3. Participate - I know you're busy, but leaving a few comments on blog you'd like to pitch can go a long way towards building goodwill, especially if they are substantive contributions - or even just to compliment them. Also, by reading blogs, commenting, and clicking on links, you may come across new blogs that might be perfect for your client or other useful websites, communities, and online magazines. You may find some of the best resources when you're just "clicking around." The "participate" message also applies to social networking and forum sites - active involvement is the way to go.
4. Respond - quickly. The online community moves very fast, and today's hot product can become yesterday's news literally overnight. If a blogger emails you with questions or a request for pictures about your client, try to respond in a timely manner (personally, I've had plenty of PR reps not respond AT ALL - I don't know if my email got lost in the shuffle or what, but guess what? I didn't write about their clients).
*I apologize if this whole post seems overly pedantic, but you should SEE some of the pitch emails I get.
**I know Digg is probably the most popular social bookmarking site, but you'll be hard-pressed to find anything fashion-related on there. Also, does anyone else wonder how they survived before del.icio.us? That site makes me happy.