PR 2.0 Blogger Etiquette
I’m a PR person, so I can admit that media relations was always a challenge for PR professionals. With clients demanding to be placed in top tier publications and the amount of legwork that it takes to learn about the journalists on your media list, the media relations process often skipped very important steps just to obtain quantity coverage, rather than the quality of the editorial. At the same time, we also missed an opportunity to build better relationships with journalists.
Well, guess what? Blogger relations is a great deal of legwork and it’s time consuming. And, you risk more than just sacrificing quality of coverage, if you make a mistake in your PR 2.0 approach. You also risk your reputation if you don’t go about reaching out to a blogger the right way. Brian Solis and I wrote a great deal about blogger relations in our new book, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations.” Here’s a brief excerpt that explains a best approach:
“First and foremost, successful blogger relations are built on respect. It all starts with understanding what you stand for. We’re not convinced that every PR person actually takes the time to fully “get” what he or she represents and why it matters to the rest of the world. And more important, how will it help others to make a decision and help them do something more effectively than they could before? For this simple reason alone, we challenge you to a quick test. And yes, the clock is ticking! If you had to tell us in one sentence why we should write about you and why our followers or readers will care, what would you say? It’s not as easy as you think. It’s amazing that many “PR pros” can’t pass this test. Brian, who is also an avid writer outside of PR, is pitched every day and has been for years. It still blows him away how few people take the time to read what he writes and match their products and services to the most important part of his writing-his loyal followers. This is the listening and reading part we emphasized previously. The next step is to really think about why you should reach out. What is it about what you represent that will compel others to share it with their communities? Remember, bloggers have a responsibility to their readers to maintain credibility, along with the trust of the community. In today’s attention economy, bloggers must actively compete for readers’ precious time, so you can bet that good bloggers will be selective. We have a strong suspicion of what you might be thinking: “Who has time to do this? Dedicating one-on-one time with bloggers in addition to traditional media exceeds the number of hours in a day.” We’ll say this as clearly as possible: Make the time. Prioritize the people you want to reach (and, no, you won’t find them through a database).”
Our book goes on to say that many PR professionals are being blacklisted by bloggers who think their communication is no more than spam. The blacklisting is occurring in more than one place as bloggers “… leveraging the reach of the blogosphere to share these lists with each other as a form of public humiliation and education.” This has serious implications for the professionals and their respective agencies. We believe that bloggers and PR people can benefit from mutual respect and connections that lead to strategic relationships.
What are some ways that you are connecting with bloggers and finding great communication success?