Guest post by David Spinks, co-founder of BlogDash.

Creating highly targeted, personalized pitches is more important than how “engaged” you are with influencers when conducting blogger outreach.

Any knowledgeable social media professional you speak to will tell you that it’s important to engage with influencers (bloggers, tweeters, etc.) before you pitch them.

I have two questions:

1)     While it’s definitely helpful to have a relationship, is it absolutely necessary?

2)     Is building relationships really a practical and timely blogger outreach strategy?

What if you don’t have the relationships? What if the journalists and bloggers that you want to reach have no idea who you are? What do you do then?

You rely on thorough research and the quality of the story you’re pitching.

Choosing the right blogger or journalist for the story, with the right subject line and the most efficient approach, will get you coverage regardless of your “relationship” with the writer.

The effort to retweet, comment, and engage with bloggers takes a lot of time. With the most popular bloggers, it probably won’t do anything for you. They glaze over retweets and probably don’t remember names from most comments.

Building relationships to the point where it would actually be helpful in your blogger outreach takes a lonnnng time. It has to be an ongoing thing, not something you do for two weeks in the middle of your “outreach campaign.”

Sure there are people who you can shoot an email and they’ll write whatever you want, because they’re your friend. But think about how long it took for you to build the relationship to that point.

Bloggers and journalists aren’t looking for PR people to be their friend. They’re looking for those PR people who can consistently bring value to their work.

They’re looking for a reliable asset.

I think in a campaign, instead of spending two weeks “engaging,” take another hour to do research. Use that extra time to learn everything you can about the blogger, their audience, and their writing.

Creating a highly educated and targeted pitch will go a lot further than hoping that they recognize your name when the pitch shows up in their inbox.

Keep engaging, but don’t think that a two-week relationship is more important than the quality of your research and pitch approach.

David Spinks is co-founder of BlogDash, the blogger outreach tool, and GM of Scribnia, a social blog reading community. You can read his poorly filtered thoughts at his blog.