Agencies Miss The "Relations" In Blogger Relations Strategies

05/23/2007

Last Sunday I was flipping channels and came across the Frank Capra film Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. You remember .. the flick about this naive senator, played by Jimmy Stewart, who stands up for truth, justice and the American dream.

But it wasn't the political aspects that drew me in to watch this film on a beautiful spring afternoon. It was the story of how in 1939 Mr. Smith was at the mercy of big money, who owned the press, and the media in general, to tell his story. I wanted to cry out .. blog .. podcast .. Twitter!

Flash into 2007 and the media and big bucks don't control the flow of information. There are millions of people who talk to millions of people every day. And millions of people who are listening to those conversations. Bloggers. They are called bloggers. People who write about what makes them laugh and sometimes what makes them cry. People who write about what is important to them. Links build pathways for extended conversations. Along the way they connect with others who feel the same way and create friendships which often morph ito larger communities.

Now a funny thing happened. The very people, who like our friend Mr. Smith, tried so hard to get noticed by the media suddenly found themselves in a position where they influenced opinion. PR and advertising professionals and brand marketers began to knock at their virtual doors. Here was a new channel where promotional messages could be passed along to a target audience. Rather like little online newspapers. Or so it seemed.

Well, not quite. Bloggers are not The Press. They are not Journalists. They are just .. well, people. But the pr and advertising and brand professionals seemed not to notice. They send silly press releases or emails that  pretend to "know" the bloggers. They send messages that are often too jolly, often too crafted and often too slick. They play by the rules of old media relations not of new social media communication.

The Agency's Pitch: Hopefully you're not just learning about the social network Facebook.com from That  Girl. But the truth is, today's media landscape is shifting too fast for even many bloggers to keep up with on their own.

Diva Marketing's Response To The Agency: BTW .. I've been working in the social media space since 2004 ... gosh darn I think that was before [agency] entered the space. So nope .. guess I've been learning about social media from more than from just Facebook; although Facebook is nothing to sneeze about.

So what does a blogger do when she's frustrated with yet one more lame pitch?  She reaches out to her friends who have been down this road more times than she .. like BL Ochman and Jeneane Sessum and Yvonne Divita. Remember she's part of a community so she just might share her views with more than a few friends. She might share her views with her readers and Google searchers as well. Although the pr and advertising and brand marketers were hoping for some buzz, this wasn't what they quite had in mind. For the pr and advertising and brand marketers who are new to social media .. this one is for you!

12 Blogger Relations Secrets For PR, Advertising and Brand Marketers

1. Read my blog - more than one post would be nice
2. Read the About page
3. Targeted is better than slick. Relevant is key. I may write for "me" but I also write for the awesome divas and divos who read Diva. Want to know the secret to that? See #1.
4. Tell who you are and who you are working with/for; a signature line would be helpful.
5. Respond to email requests for additional information
6. Provide live links
7. Offer access to interviews and additional information
8. Ask if I want to receive future emails from you/your organization - and take me off your email list if I do not want to play with you.
9. Join me in the conversations. Drop a comment on a post. Send me an email note about a post I wrote.
10. Remember what your Mama taught you. A follow-up thank you for mentions would really be over the top.
11. Be a bit bloggy .. people like to do business with people they like. Let's face it .. I'm helping you do your job. By providing relevant information you may be helping me with content ideas but your competitors are knocking on my door too and I only write so many posts.
12. Vino,chocolate, trips to Paris are good. Max likes treats too .. only kidding! Don't know who Max is .. guess you haven't read my blog. See #1.

Bonus: In the world of social media relationships are the new currency.

 

Read more
Diva Marketing - From Blogger Relation to Blogger Relations Programs
Marketing Roadmaps - More Blogger Relations
Lip-Sticking - Why Should I Care About You? 
whatsnextblog - Vocus Demonstrates How To Screw Up Blogger Relations

Allied - Bad Blogger Pitch Week 

 

 


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Tracked on May 24, 2007 12:02:42 AM

Comments

I guess after spending years missing the "relations" in "public relations," it's only natural that agencies miss the "relations" in "blogger relations," too.

I like the way you sum it up: "Relationships are the new currency."

Posted by: David Brazeal on May 23, 2007 12:21:57 PM

Diva:

I know you were reading my mind recently. The reviews I publish are those born from genuine *and personal* relationships. My credibility and brand are hanging on the line, so I get to pick, for a change.

Posted by: Valeria Maltoni on May 23, 2007 9:05:35 PM

Ironically, I worked for Facebook at their PR agency and know for a fact we didn't send that pitch to you. Guess folks are grabbing for whatever they can these days to boot.

Posted by: Anonymous PR Flak on May 23, 2007 9:08:38 PM

Smiling... I am a public relations professionals and I write a blog - I so wish I could explain to my peers that you don't just send a press release to influential bloggers...

Posted by: Rajesh on May 24, 2007 12:31:20 AM

blogging is a massive circle jerk and advertising blogging is the messiest. your egotistical stance is amusing - the fact you get offended by a blog pitch reiterates the fact that your life is utterly insignificant.

Posted by: j. on May 24, 2007 12:16:45 PM

David - John Harper, TheHarperTeam, reminded me that relationships have always been the most important currency. So perhaps that last tip should be changed to relationships are currancy that business has always been built on?

Valeria - I often think that PR (& others) who ask bloggers for space on their blogs don't understand that. Sometimes it appears to me they view 'blogger relations' as a cheap, easy way to pick up some buzz and online awareness. Oh yeah, a cool tactic for their clients who can then tell their friends.

A PR Flake - didn't mean to imply Facebook was behind this pitch. As I said, I think Face is "nothing to sneeze about." Continued success!

As for "j" - I agree that advertising blogging messy .. very messy. As for the rest .. no comment.

Posted by: Toby on May 24, 2007 6:42:42 PM

As someone newer in the game than you and your peers, I understand what people are going through that realize they need to start doing something about this "social media thing." I did and continue to study from the pros, but I also allow that others will make lots of mistakes, sometimes in a panic, and will not know where to turn to learn the ropes right away. The more people try different things and make different mistakes, the more we will all learn.

Posted by: sherry heyl on May 24, 2007 7:24:07 PM

Toby--great insights. Your list will serve as an educational tool for many entering the space. You also described OEO to me as jazz, which is a very apt metaphor. I myself am learning the notes, and your advice has been very helpful.

Posted by: Allison on May 24, 2007 9:11:55 PM

Thanks for putting this list together - very much appreciate it. I work at a PR firm and I'm a new blogger so still learning along the way. Thankfully some of the gang who have been blogging for a long time are great about sharing similar thinking as yours. I'll be sharing your list with the team too. Thanks again.

Posted by: Ryan Peal on May 25, 2007 6:09:13 AM

Terrific list. You've said just about everything that needs to be said about blogger relations. Is BR a new subset of PR?

Andrew

Posted by: Andrew Careaga on May 25, 2007 2:13:20 PM

What disturbs me about this post is that you even had to write it. PR is in trouble...

Posted by: Geoff Livingston on Jun 25, 2007 7:25:35 PM

Finding worthy blogs is not easy now and it's a pleasure to run across your site. As they say one cannot be too careful. It must be admitted that your explanation is very easy to take in. I am sure that most of your observations are true.

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