It’s amazing how the tables have turned and public relations professionals are getting a taste of what it’s like to be the “reporter” of the news or the new influencer. It is one of the greatest experiences to finally understand what it’s like to be in a “journalist’s’” shoes. Of course, I use the word journalist in quotes, as I’m certainly not formally trained as a journalist. I just feel like I’m a born writer at heart.
I’ve been blogging at PR 2.0 Strategies since 2007. However, it’s really been this past year or so that has made me feel that I’ve taken on this new and very interesting role – blogger. As a PR person, I was trained not to send anything to anyone without researching first and learning about the person’s audience and area of expertise. These were the golden rules of media relations. And, not too far off, are the magic rules of blogger relations where people who want to connect with bloggers must learn how to listen first and then figure out the best type of information/content and manner in which to engage with the blogger.
There are people who definitely approach me the right way and then there are those who still send the blind “pitch.” I don’t really feel annoyed or aggravated at these emails or DMs on Twitter. It’s just such a waste of their time to even reach out because this type of correspondence is usually deleted. I see a lot of emails with news releases in the body of the email, which tells me that I’m on some kind of a blogger/media list that was blasted out to a group of people in hopes that someone would take the time to report the news, or perhaps interview an executive of the company. On rare occasion, I’ve actually reached back out to say, “Yes, I find your product or platform really interesting and would really like to speak with your CEO.”
I think the LinkedIn or referral approach works. So, if you reach out to me and say that you know “so and so” and they are behind the connection, then I might be interested in hearing about your new service for PR professionals. That’s definitely a foot in the door and I’ll want to speak with you (at least you get a next step). I also think that if you just take a little time to pay attention to what I’m doing on Twitter, Facebook or to check out my last three blog posts, you can tell a lot about me. Then you can say that you saw I was writing about PR 2.0, monitoring, measurement, social media plans and policies, etc. Checking out my content is the best way to learn what I’m interested in and better yet what I think interests my blog community.
Now if you really want to go the distance, you will check out the comments on my blog and even try to interact in my community (of course after observing how the community behaves) or by checking out the monthly #PRStudChat discussion and interacting with me there or even on #journchat, where you can usually find me every Monday night. I think there are a number of ways to connect with me. I actually think I make it pretty easy for people to talk to me. I guess that’s just because I’m in PR and I love to meet new people and uncover interesting ways people are connecting and learning new strategies in public relations, marketing and social media.
Once you have the connection with me, you’re automatically a part of my community. I’m very appreciative of all of my community members. Chances are, if the information you share is relevant and valuable, I’ll use and/or share with my friends. Many of you who know me, see that I enjoy helping people with their research, homework, interviews, Q&As, etc. But, I think that new friends also have to remember (and this isn’t just for me, but for any blogger), as much as we love to write, report and provide information time is always of the essence. I think that if you are working with bloggers, you must be respectful of their time and deliver quickly to reach their deadlines (similar to what you would do with a traditional journalist). I also think it’s important not to overwhelm the blogger by saying, “I have a few questions for you to answer.” I think I can speak for many that we love to help out; it’s just when you send 15 questions or more, it may be a bit too many for us to tackle all at once (unless it’s a two part Q&A). My own rule, for when I want to interview a fellow blogger, is to send about five to seven questions and then give that person the option to answer my questions, swap out a question or two if they want to focus on another topic, or they can always add a question or two, if they feel really ambitious.
For me, if you take the time to learn about me and you are truly interested in providing information that my community will find meaningful, I will always be happy to hear from you. It takes a minimal amount of time to learn about a blogger and the results could be a relationship/friendship that lasts a lifetime.
For all of my PR/social media blogger friends who I rely on, interview on occasion, who I interact with daily and who teach me so much…I can’t thank you enough for your knowledge, loyalty and friendship! And, to all my PR friends who want to interact with me, I look forward to hearing from you…maybe even about this post. 🙂
How are you working with bloggers and/or how do you want PR people to approach you in your new role?