Blogger Relationships


Or the power of linking or one more cool Diva dishn'/blog networking story.

Diva Marketing is honored to be part of the blog reading curriculum for several college courses. Last week in true blogger fashion, Mark Muller, University of Delaware's InfoTech Application in Marketing, extended the conversation from a Diva Marketing post about WOMMA's Ethic's initiative.

Low and behold (!) Mark received a comment from Gary Spangler of DuPont. DuPont is the first Fortune 100 company to embrace the WOMMA Code of Ethics and Gary is in charge of the project. Since DuPont is based in Delaware, not far from campus, Prof Alex Brown thought it would be pretty cool if Gary could come to class.

Here's where the Diva dishn'/blog networking comes into play. Since Alex couldn't locate an email address for Gary, I asked Michael Rubin (who is a blog buddy) if he would make the connection. Which he kindly did and Gary is coming to class next month. Cool.

The domino influence is (okay you might need to take a sip of your beverage) ..  I met Alex because of Diva Marketing. Alex and I are now blog buddies. Alex included Diva Marketing in his class required reading list. In the meantime I had developed a blogger relationship with Michael. Michael asked me to post about WOMMA ethic's code. Student Mark read the Diva post and wrote about the ethics code. He linked to Diva Marketing. Gary commented on the post and because of blogger relationships the students at University of Delaware have an amazing opportunity to learn from a Fortune 100 marketer.  Awesome. (If you've read all this you deserve another drink!). 

Dating_1 So I got to thinking about blogger relations, which is one of the newest offerings, for what seems, every PR firm around. Some PR firms even treat blogger relations pretty much the same as good old world media relations.

Know the blogger's beat. Send a personal email. Bring some added value ... blah blah blah. And the PR firm holds the relationship.

But blogger relationships are not even good old world media relationships. Why? Bloggers are different from traditional reporters.

Most reporters and editors are fairly happy letting a PR shop serve as the go between. Let's face it even tho we love them - client relationships can get messy. Sometimes it's just easier to let the PR people handle the work between the press.  And  make  no mistake it is  work. And the PR firm holds the relationship.

The blogger's side: It seems to me that bloggers would prefer to build relationships directly with the client/company. If you believe that a benefit to blogging/social networking is building a direct conversation would you, as a blogger, prefer to develop that relationship with the client or a PR firm? And the PR firm holds the relationship.

The client's side: If the PR agency follows established tradtions the exhange between blogger and client/company continues to be filtered. And the PR firm holds the relationship.

PR Blogger Relationship Questions

  • Are blogs shaking up the traditional PR model or is it still business as usual?
  • Do clients want to own blogger relationships?
  • Are clients willing to take some of the control back from the PR firms?
  • Will a direct relationship between blogger and client result in friendships that produce more relevant, sensitive, frequent posts?

If my relationship with University of Delaware and WOMMA was with their PR firms, instead of directly with the organizations/people, what are the chances Gary Spangler would be going to class? And if he were would it be this semester or in year 2010?

Sidebar: Blogger relations is simply the networking opportunity between a blogger and a company where establishing a blog buddy friendship is mutually beneficial.

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Diva -- I think you're right on the money with this one. In fact, I blogged about this topic last week. It sparked an interesting conversation about marketing roles of the future and what's needed to really address the opportunities of CGM. Keep us posted about your progress in class!

Posted by: Leslie on Apr 26, 2006 3:23:55 PM

Spot on! Yes, marketing and PR are being reshaped by new blogging relationships.

Even I, within the small sphere of influence I am perceived to have, have been approached by a few folks who have wanted to distribute information to the audience I "reach". Why? Because they feel that my audience will find the news/ release/ whatever to be more relevant (or so I was told) if it is coming from me.

Blogger relationships are decidedly becoming more and more like traditional media relationships. I work my blog buddies just like regular media. They are just as important and in some cases even more important. I can really love-up a media contact, but even if my efforts work the information might not see the light of day until a month or longer afterwards. A blogger can get my news out the same day- if not while I'm talking to them. The right relationships have to be defined for the project or client. Some things look and sound better, to the intended audience, coming from print magazines for example. Others want to see the news NOW and blogs fulfill that need more easily.

The only drawback to all of this; virtual cocktail parties are nothing like the real thing.

Posted by: Tim Jackson- Masiguy on Apr 26, 2006 7:10:42 PM

Thank you for this post! It is completely helpful for my MA project. These are such good questions-time to think is needed.

Posted by: Beth on Apr 26, 2006 10:25:24 PM

Oh Diva, I can't resist commenting.

All this mention of Alex Brown takes me back to my roots - he was the one that started me blogging in 2001 while I was at Wharton. Of course, at the time, I didn't know I "blogging" but Alex, who worked in the admissions office at Wharton (yes, this was one of Alex's prior lives) had challenged any of the MBA students to write about what it was like to be a Wharton student and I rose to the challenge. In fact, when I wrote back and said that I was going to try to post on a daily basis, Alex replied in a rather skeptical way saying he highly doubted I could keep that up. Of course, I had to prove him wrong so wrote an entry practically every day I was at Wharton after that. Once I started posting, a trickle of others started the year after and now there are many many students posting their experiences at Wharton and many other business schools around the world. It's a great way for prospective students to get a great feel for the culture of an MBA program (or any other experience they are considering for that matter.)

Now I write a blog for my start up business, Embrace Pet Insurance, which I started working on while at Wharton. It's addictive.

It's a small world. I wonder how many other bloggers were influenced by Alex over the years.

Alex, thanks mate!

Posted by: Laura Bennett on Apr 28, 2006 4:33:48 PM

Laura - and the blogosphere goes round and round! Alex is most certainly an inspiration and a visionary too.

And it appears you are also. What a great concept for a company and a blog to support it .. pet insurance. Maxie would certainly agree!

Posted by: Toby on Apr 28, 2006 4:44:01 PM

laura, who knew we were blogging back then :) hope all is well, course now i have to check out your site!

Posted by: alex on Apr 28, 2006 5:29:22 PM

Nice recap. I was thinking of recapping this story for Alex' class; and you have done a better job.

One thing PR firms seem to focus on for marketers is "blog creation." My [growing] experience tells me that there is an interim step: commenting on others' blogs where there is mutual interest in the topic.

If markets are conversations as stated in the Cluetrain Manifesto, then marketers have a legitimate and critical role in those conversations.

How we as marketers and our companies enter those conversations is evolving. And I am determined to learn how.

Gary Spangler
E-Business, DuPont

Posted by: Gary Spangler on May 4, 2006 4:39:05 PM

Hi Diva,

My name is Chris Einkauf and I'm in Alex Brown's class. I think you have a great site and it's interesting to know that our class is being blogged about. Although we have only scratched the surface of the blogosphere, I'm sure that we will all use our new knowledge to our benefit when we continue with our marketing careers.

Keep up the good work,

Posted by: Chris Einkauf on May 12, 2006 2:41:25 AM

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