In the early days of digital marketing brand marketers, PR and advertising agencies began to explore a different approach to creating awareness and building relationships with customers, prospects and stakeholders. These innovative marketers were beginning to realize that…
… purchase decisions could be influenced through borrowing the goodwill and audiences of bloggers.
Appropriately this new marketing concept was called Blogger Relations. With the onset of social media channels e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snap, etc the name changed to Influencer Marketing.
Every new initiative has growing pains and Blogger Relations was no different. As C.B. Whittemore, one of the social media pioneer brand marketers, said to me, “The challenge is figuring out how all these things can be practical.”
I was curious to understand the challenges and benefits bloggers and people who worked at brands and agencies were experiencing as they navigated Blogger Relations. So I did what any marketer would do ~ I asked those people for their opinions and insights.
The following is a five-part series that was posted on Diva Marketing in 2008. 99 people participated in an online survey. Since the research is not statistically valid let’s call it an industry pulse check from the people who were involved in the space. Their insights are thoughtful and the learnings they shared significant. Surprisingly, many insights are relevant today and are evergreen concepts for Influencer Marketing. I hope you find value in the discussion.
Part I – Blogger or Journalist
Blogging, in particular, has become an important resource not only for people who read blogs but for brand managers/agencies who perceive the blog/blogger is a source of influence and channel for message/idea distribution. A new strategy has emerged that we’ve termed Blogger Relations which grew into Influencer Marketing which takes into consideration people posting on social media channels as well as blogs. How to do it right continues to be a hot topic in many of our digital and non digital discussions.
With so many opinions swirling around I was curious to know what people thought. I also wondered if agencies and brand managers could talk to bloggers what would they say. On the flip side what would bloggers tell agencies and brands about what they did and how they wanted to be contacted. So I did what any good marketer would do .. I asked.
I sent out about 100 emails and I’m not sure how many direct message tweets. Can’t tell you the response rate but I can tell that 99 people answered the questionnaire. My promise to the people who kindly answered my questions was that I would share the responses with our community.
Since this is not a statistically valid research study let’s call it a Pulse of the Industry Insights. For the most, the responses are evergreen and provide valuable information for how-to work with influencers.
My hopes are we can move the conversation a step or two further along. To set the stage, here is a profile sketch about the respondents.
Bloggers associated with an agency or social media consultancy 47%
Bloggers associated on the client-side/company affiliation 13%
Blogger not affiliated with an agency, social media consultancy or a company 29%
Not a blogger 11%
Let’s start with the question: Do you consider bloggers the “new journalists?”
Total responses: 87
55% – Yes
45% – No
I found it interesting that the spread between the percentage of people who thought bloggers were the “new journalists” and those who did not was only 10 points. However, 35 respondents provided additional information.
Several people indicated the answer was not black or white/yes or no but rather there were many shades of gray.
- Yes and no. Some bloggers are practicing a new form of journalism. Others are practicing a new form of passing notes in class. Not all bloggers are journalists of any kind. – Shel Israel
- The answer’s very much ‘it depends.’ For instance, I’d need to know things like who an individual blogger is, what he/she writes about, if the blogger is a full-time blogger or writes as an extension of his/her work before applying such a label. Broadly, though, the label is an invalid one: bloggers are not journalists, new or old – unless the blogger actually *is* a journalist. – Neville Hobson
- I think this question is too generic. Some are the “new journalists” and some aren’t. It is a tool and it is used in many ways. So yes/no answers don’t fit. 🙂 Blogging is diverse. – Nancy White
- I think they add to the information stream, but don’t “replace” it. I tend to shy away from saying one is better than the other- I much prefer the idea of cooperation or information sharing. – Tim Jackson
The definition of what is a journalist seems to be changing to encompass social media and blogging in particular.
- I would also say that journalists are “new journalists” too, as they have to change to in corporate new media and new ways that “citizen media” influence mainstream work. – Anonymous
- News has always changed with times – print, radio, TV and now internet. Journalists are always adapting so bloggers just allows more of us to “report” our thoughts. – Anonymous
- Particularly in traditional and low tech industries, bloggers are able to more nimbly react to happenings in the marketplace. – Anonymous
- I think we’d have to agree what a journalist is and look at every professional blogger to determine whether they are a journalist. Look to the codes of ethics for journalists. One big issue in defining a journalist is if they check sources and facts, see this article.
- So to me if a blogger acts like a journalist, then they are, and if a journalist acts like a blogger, then they may not be a journalist but a blogger. – John Cass
Rather than being perceived as the new journalists some people felt bloggers were the new public relations pros.
- Perhaps they are the new PR professionals, as they often blog to promote something, whether that is a product, service, company or brand. – Elaine Fogel.
Some participants felt that money (getting paid), passion and peer-to-peer communication were where paths crossed between being a journalist and a blogger.
- Journalists are paid to do their job, bloggers write about things because it is their passion. – Anonymous
- Blogging is a part of the larger P2P peer to peer network of people advising people about news, products, companies, etc. – Steven E. Streight
- They are our peers or the people as defined in the Tipping Point, Mavens, Connectors or Salespeople. – Sherry Heyl,
For others the difference between a journalist and a blogger came down to training while for others it was the point of view.
- Bloggers and journalists have different experience, different networks, different standards, different goals, and different networks. – Roxanne Darling
- I think that bloggers create them for so many different reasons that it would be inaccurate to call them the “new Journalists.” Journalists focus on bringing news or information to the masses, where as some bloggers really just have created an online journal. – Mei Li Thomas
- Some are breaking news (which is what journalists do) Some are merely interpreting it (which is what columnists do) Others are just providing an echo chamber. – Alan Wolk
- Not all bloggers; it depends on the blogger’s intentions and skill. – Anonymous
- I think journalists still have a role to play, but bloggers can expand the discussion into new areas where traditional journalists may not have all the insight (or all the contacts!). – Becky Carroll
- The term journalism suggests a ‘profession’. – Alanna Kellogg
- It’s not just subjectivity/objectivity — it’s the purpose for writing. A minority of bloggers actually write to communicate facts, context, or understanding. – Ike Pigott
Several people viewed bloggers as the new influencers with as much reach, or sometimes more, than traditional journalists.
- I consider us the new media influentials. Journalism was a very constrained medium. – Jane Genova
- Many are the new journalists, but others are the “new pundits,” the “new experts,” the “new entertainers,” the “new authors,” etc. – Nedra Weinreich
- But rogue journalists at best. We are not bound by the same rules, don’t have the same code of ethics or training. And yet, we are influencers. – Drew McLellan
- They certainly have as much if not more reach than a typical regional journalist, so reaching out to them can be more beneficial than sending another press release to a local paper. – Anonymous
- Sometimes they get the events sooner because of their connections on various vehicles like Twitter, so opinions are formed much sooner before it hits the main stream media and possibly influences main stream media’s own take and presentation on events if they are trying to undo a pervasive opinion. – Susan Cartier Liebel
- In some cases that is true. But there are some bloggers who are not influential and are not at all like journalists. – Mark Goren
Ethics and credibility influenced the opinion of other people. In fact, some felt that bloggers self imposed a higher level to ensure credibility.
- My credibility as a blogger comes from keeping to the higher ground and focusing on what is best for the end consumer. – Anonymous
- There are some bloggers out there w/journalist like ethics, but most haven’t been trained that way, so no. – Anonymous
Part II – How Do You Define A Successful Blogger Relations Strategy? Who is doing it right? Who is doing it wrong?
Social media a credible industry? Yes? No? I vote yes and not just because I’ve had a sip or two of the Kool-Aid. However, with growth comes challenges and questions. I wanted to learn more about how bloggers, agencies and brands perceived a new strategy we are calling – Blogger Relations. Some of my questions were:
- Who was doing it right and who was doing it wrong?
- What did agencies want from bloggers and what did bloggers want from agencies?
- How could we work together for the benefit of the communities and customers?
So I asked a few folks for their views. 99 people participated in an online survey. This is an industry .. let’s call it .. pulse check .. NOT a statistically valid survey. However, the insights are note worthy and valuable. what makes a successful blogger relations strategy.
I was also curious to know, generally, if people were involved with blogger relations. Question: Have you conducted/been ask to participate in a blogger relations strategy?
It seems that marketers, on the consulting, agency and brand side have been busy out reaching to bloggers.
Total response: 99 out of 99 – 100% response rate
My off the record thoughts are this will continue to escalate as marketers understand that bloggers bring not only reach into a niche community but a halo influence of credibility.
From John Cass a comment which helps to clarify what is meant by Blogger Relations. “However, we have to define blogger relations. To me it has two meanings 1) the pitching part in media relations, but to bloggers, 2) having a dialogue with a blogger, without the intent of pitching something, but to share ideas, and discussion.” Read more from Jon.
Question: Other than meeting goals and objectives … how do you define a successful blogger relations strategy? Who is doing it right? Who is doing it wrong?
Total responses: 87 out of 99 responses – 88% response rate
There were three big take aways for me from the responses to this question:
- It’s Not About You
- Relationships Matter
- Honesty Is Critical
However, Francois Gossieaux reminds us that blogger relations is a component of a what should be a larger strategy of the benefits derived from social media marketing. “Blogger relations sounds so PR-ish…I think that if companies are considering just blogger relations that they will get short changed on what the social media-induced changes can deliver to their overall business and marketing.”
In addition, for one respondent participating in a blogger relations program where the blogger perceives that is is all about helping “someone else make money” will never fly.
- I don’t understand why anyone thinks I would use my valuable real estate for free advertising someone else makes money on. I get two or three dozen contacts a week of this sort (including once – honest – adult bibs) and they all waste my time. Until there got to be so many, I answered politely explaining my position. Now I just delete them. Let them buy ads as in any other kind of publication. – Anonymous
Rohit’s simple but elegant statement, “One where everyone benefits” indicates the sentiment of many respondents. A successful blogger relations strategy is a win for the blogger, the brand and the community. Rajesh Lalwani reminds us that it is also an opportunity to co-create. Developing the conversation was important to others.
- Positive reaction from bloggers, providing something of value to THEM, not just yourself, communicating as a human, not just like a company, understanding both the blogger and his/her/their audience. – Anonymous
- Did you strike a ‘relationship’? Did you gain insights from the blogger and her community? Did you co-create? If you did, or will, to me is a successful blogger relations strategy. – Rajesh Lawlani
- A great blogger relations strategy is about connecting entities together — people, companies, and organizations. It’s about starting conversations and dialogue in a very real sense. – Michael Rubin
- There is a genuine mutual interest created between blogger and subject trying to maintain blogger relations. – Prashant Kew
- I’d say that success is collaborating for the greater good and ultimately to help get the truth out to the end consumer. – CB Whittemore
- I have been approached by a few companies in the not for profit field to write about their programs. The content fits well into the scope of my blog. When they provide me with an outline of their service it and how it fits well into my blog I like it even more. – Randal Moss
- For a corporation or business, effective blogger relations strategy involved educating a reader, NOT promoting products or brands.- Michelle Miller
- Blogger relations strategy is a success when bloggers are talking about a company without necessarily realizing that there IS a strategy. Precious few companies are doing it right as of yet, in my opinion. – Dave Taylor
- A successful strategy is one isn’t a “strategy,” but a way of being and respectfully interacting with others. Would you pass the small town test? Are you contributing to the town structure or using the town structure for your own gain and not giving back your fair share? Are you putting as much energy into the blogging relationship as you are expecting them to put into you? – Mary Hunt
- Blogger relations to me encompasses good dealings with other bloggers, the client you are serving as consultant or official blogger, and with readers who interact with your blog via comments, links, quotes, email, and real life meeetings. – Stephen Straight
From the comments it was evident that building relations was considered the cornerstone of this type of communication out reach. How do you create a relationship? For Dina Mehta “Doing it right is engaging in meaningful conversations in a transparent fashion with an involved target audience.”
- Building relationships and really telling you what consumers are thinking/doing. It’s viral and the absolute best WOM marketing out there. – Kate Spencer
- A successful blogger relations strategy does just that – builds relationships. It reaches out over time and adds value to the blogs that it seeks to partner with, in addition to understanding their readers. It gets the conversation going around the product or service in question, and success occurs when the discussion builds beyond what was expected. – Becky Carroll
- The relationship comes first. As Jason Falls says, “you have to live it.” The folks who are doing it right are almost invisible as blogger relations. They talk about the same things and show concern for the same things we do. – Liz Strauss
- The idea of a blogger relations strategy begins with the words relations – it is all about building a mutually rewarding and inspirational relationship between the blogger and the agency/client, and sharing that passion and insight with the readers. Those who attempt to skip this step, or pretend to be involved when they are really not, are doing it all wrong. – Anonymous
- Developing a relationship with blogger over time & participating in comments/discussions to the point where blogger would consider me/client a go-to source on my topic of expertise. – Anonymous
- Those who do it right realize they are engaging in relationship management, those that do it wrong are just looking for the mention/hit. – Kami Huyse
Honesty & Trust Are Critical
Is it really a surprise that in the social media world where virtual relationships are formed without the benefit of a physical handshake or eye contact that honest, trust and let’s add in authenticity would be a given in working with bloggers?
- Communication and honesty is key. Providing and receiving honest feedback regarding what works and what doesn’t helps. I think like any other relationship, opportunities need to be mutually beneficial to both parties. – Anonymous
- Full disclosure of the relationships – Marianne Richmond
- Trust (that) is real, authenticity (that) can be counted. – Beth Kephart
What Constitutes A Successful Blogger Relations Campaign?
Respondents offered several different ideas of what “success” meant to them. A few people indicated success was a change in perception while others felt it was the extent of that bloggers engaged with your product/service/brand to several it came back to establishing trust on both sides of the equation.
- As far as defining a successful blogger relations strategy, it depends on the scope of the program. The best strategy is a long-term plan for building relationships with key bloggers, but it is possible to start small and identify the right bloggers to connect with for a certain campaign. – David Berkowitz
- How your (agency, marketer, consultant) reputation emerges at the conclusion of the process. – Anonymous
- Changing perceptions of the public. – Anonymous
- A successful strategy is when a) the bloggers you want to help move your story know you and trust you as a reliable source of trustworthy and interesting information and b) the bloggers know you will give them the information in easily bloggable form (elements at least of the Social Media Release) – Des Walsh
- Creating buzz for a project/product and changing consumer perception, which is hard to measure – so many things are at play, including the product or service itself- is it buzzworthy? – Alan Wolk
For most of the respondents a successful blogger relations strategy has many moving parts that support success. A few people commented on how to measure success.
- Success is measured in many different ways depending on the campaign. Is it a product launch? You probably want as many review posts as you can get, and secondly, comments/trackbacks on those posts. Depending on the item and the collateral you make available, this might also include UGC videos with your products, that are then distributed and shared. Is it an ongoing branding campaign? Then this is harder to measure, as in traditional campaigns. Is it part of an overall marketing strategy? Then posts, views, comments, and trackbacks become relevant metrics. – Roxanne Dahling
- The success isn’t necessarily numbers, or big numbers. If you’re key influencers are 5 people … and you reach them, well – “Victory is mine!” Look at the small nonprofits that are engaging just their key/core stakeholders. Many are doing it. They just don’t get the big time buzz from the high profile bloggers. Why? Because they are not corporate and don’t present potential clients (or huge linkbacks) for the bloggers. Crass, you say? No. Reality. – Robert French
- 2x the ‘blog mentions’ than blogs pitched – Anonymous
- A good blogger relations strategy can be wrapped around a few benchmarks that can define success. one being branding, 2 being exposure, 3-product release, 4-customer relations 5-corporate communications. Rather than give you specific examples I would implore people to read Naked Conversations by Scoble and Israel – Marc Meyer. Note: I am honored to be included in Naked Conversations which IMHO is one of the best books on how ‘conversational marketing’ changed how we communicate with our customers.
Doing It Right
The following is a list of companies and consultants that some respondents felt were doing it right. The numbers represent the times mentioned by different people. Note: this list was developed in 2008.
Toby Bloomberg -3
Smaller, nimbler companies
Larger companies with dedicated resources
Social marketers whose everyday revolves around blogging
Cyndee Haydon felt blogger relations involved continuous active participation in social media conversations and offered an example.
- “I think @ComcastCares is doing it right on Twitter – By participating in the conversation and being responsive. I know of 3 people who have had Comcast problems – went the traditional route to get help and were completely frustrated and writing about that then they used twitter to get to ComcastCares and the problems were solved – and they told everyone about the great service on large blog networks (one with 95000 members) – the viral marketing and PR was “priceless”.
Doing It Wrong
- Walmart – 2
- Most PR agencies
Anita Campbell brings another perspective that reinforces social media marketing is a young industry and we have much to learn from each other.
- “As for anyone doing it “wrong,” I simply prefer to think of it as them not quite being where they need to be yet — not that they are wrong. All this openness makes us pass judgment too harshly and too quickly I think. Let’s give companies and people time to learn and grow in their blogging.
Other respondents provided specifics of how people were off track.
- Doing it wrong: 1. mass mailings of generic promotions and press releases 2. false statements such as “I’ve been reading your blog and – followed by boilerplate 3. promoting products and services clearly unrelated to the blog’s topic, intent or audience 4. continuing to email after having been told the blogger is not interested. – Anonymous
- Doing it wrong? Most companies who look at social media as another channel. – Anonymous
- “Unsuccessful blogger relations all have one thing in common, which is that they are one sided and offer little value to the bloggers and therefore come off as nothing more than spam. – Anonymous
Several people included specific ideas on what it takes to implement a successful blogger relations out reach.
- Successful blogger relations campaign is only going to bloggers who might actually have a reason to be interested in what you’re selling, approaching them as if they were human beings, knowing what they write about, and giving them the story before you give it to everyone and her dog. – B.L. Ochman
- The ones who do it right don’t blanket e-mail, do know their audience in advance. They create relationships and value before they ask for value. (Sounds like social media mores, eh?) – Drew McLellan
- One in which there is a product/service related rationale for soliciting the bloggers opinion (i.e. the product is for babies and mothers are askd to try the product) and the value of the product is not perceived to be “payment” for a blog post/recommendation (e.g. Nikon, Microsoft Vista)….and there is full disclosure of the relationonship. Another “right” would be if I have written something negative about a product or service, an acknowledgment of some sort from the company that addresses the issue should also be part of a “successful blogger relations strategy”; similarly a successful blogger relations strategy should include contacting bloggers writing negative or positive posts about competitive products or services … a reach out to “try ours”. – Marianne Richmond
- Develop highly customized and personalized programs for the client to reach out to the bloggers. These programs should add value for the blogger. – Dave Williams
- (With caveats of my answer to #2 above) 1) has the person/org looked at the diverse strategic application of blogs as a communication medium. Have they then been strategic about their selection/use? 2) are they ready to use this particular medium, understanding it is not simply a “broadcast as usual” medium? 3) are they getting and productively using the feedback and connections made through blogging? 4) Is blogging done by more than one person (i.e. moved beyond centralized, controlled information dissemination)? – Nancy White
- Successful strategy includes finding the bloggers that reach the audience you want, making sure that your product/service is something that fits within what the bloggers write about, reaching out in a respectful and compelling way to offer something of value (info/news/an experience), and being available for follow-up dialogue with the bloggers. – Nedra Weinreich
- Success means being accepted by bloggers (i.e., conversing and interacting), without you sticking out like a sore thumb or it seeming forced. – Anita Campbell
- It’s also to help create a community that feels comfortable having useful discussions about a product or service. – Yvonne DiVita
- A successful strategy is similar to any journalist outreach, read our stuff first, don’t spam us with the same bcc email you send to 50 people. Be a part of my small online community first, then craft a custom message. – Jay Berkowitz
- Folks who do it right don’t try to control the outcome of what bloggers cover, but do offer them full and equal access to their business/event/whatever. – Ann Handley
- Personal mailings indicating the topic and reach of the blog are understood and suggesting there might be a fit, with appropriate facts – Anonymous
- B/c of the topics in my blog, I’m in the pool of bloggers that the Pentagon invites onto conference calls with various military experts; they are doing a good job of connecting bloggers with experts or actors who have specific knowledge of topical newsworthy issues. – Winds of Change
- A successful blogger relations strategy discusses thought provoking issues which leads to meaningful comments and gets readers to become and stay engaged in the blog. – Merrill Dubrow
Part III – Agencies Talk to the Bloggers aka The Influencers
In the spring of 2004, when Diva Marketing launched, social media marketing was not even a buzz word. In the business world of new media blogs were the big deal along with a vague notion of RSS. Podcasts and videos were beginning to find their place as more than just a cool new toy. Flash four years into the Future Is Now and writing a few blogs posts, recording a podcast, taping a video or joining a social network are only a few of the tactics that marketers have to choose from in their social media marketing tool box.
A few surprises have come along with the growth of social media. One big surprise is the extent of influence that people providing the content for blogs, podcasts, vlogs and social networking communities enjoy within their communities. Influenced was/is based on relationships.
Marketers are tapping into that concept and what is emerging is a new strategy that we are calling – Blogger Relations or BR. The halo effect from a post or a video about a brand may be more beneficial to changing perception and encouraging purchasing than a traditional ad or PR campaign.
I was curious to know:
- Who was doing it right and who was doing it wrong
- What did agencies want from bloggers and what did bloggers want from agencies
- and most of all how could we work together for the benefit of the communities
Blogger Relations On Its Way To Main Stream Marketing
With almost all, 90%, respondents anticipating that they will be involved in a blogger relations strategy within the next 12-months, it seems as though Blogger Relations is positioned to become an accepted marketing tactic.
Total response: 100% – 99 out of 99
Yes – 90%
No – 10%
Question: If you are working with an agency/social media company … what do you want to tell Bloggers when it comes to blogger relations?
There has been much written from the view point of bloggers about how they would like to be treated. However, I wondered what would agencies and consultants say to bloggers about their side of blogger relations.
43 self selected they worked for an agency/social media consultant and were bloggers. I don’t know the total non bloggers who worked for an agency/social media consultancy.
Responses ranged from talk about values to reminders that we are still early in the game and to be patient to ideas how to work together. According to Drew McLellan, ” I think everyone has to find a way to the middle. I don’t think posting black lists is right. Nor do I think badgering bloggers is right.”
The big take-aways for me were:
- Concern about values
- Post blogger relations policies
- Give feedback
- Reminder that we are early in the game and are learning together
- Agencies should be part of the conversation
It was important for that bloggers are real, transparent and authentic. Marc Meyer put it this way, “Be genuine. Think openly. write down any and all ideas. Keep an open mind and be respectful of other people’s thoughts, ideas and opinions.”
Be real! Even if you aren’t (a real person). Genuine emotion and a willingness to share and address all sides of issues will win you acceptance. Also, don’t use SEO releases. It just adds noise and devalues the worth of ‘real’ releases. – Robert French
Listen first, build on what’s there. Do not try to reinvent the wheel. – Katie Paine
Never become self-absorbed. It shows and your page views will immediately plummet. – Jane Genova
Be frequent. Be relative. Be real. – Kim Haynes
What goes around comes around. But always be authentic or you will lose your audience. – Alan Wolk
Be transparent. – Kate Spencer
Be transparent. A good company does not want fake hype as it will be exposed in time and will not have lasting value to either party. * Be fair. It’s less important what your opinion is, more important that you evaluate things from your perspective, documented when possible, and handled maturely. * Ask yourself frequently – what’s your point? Know that, communicate that, adhere to that. Consistency gives cred; the details are secondary. – Roxanne Darling
Most agree that this is a path we are forging .. together. The rules are being defined with each new out reach and what worked today for one blogger may not work tomorrow for another. But what happens when someone makes a mistake or doesn’t know the rules?
Respondents asked for feedback and help understanding what individual bloggers want. Dave Taylor put it, ” Cut the “new pr people some slack for mistakes, but
flakes flacks need to pay attention and respect bloggers too, not just do the same “paid by the # of releases sent out” goofiness.”
Be patient – this is an emerging area and we’re all trying to figure it out. Don’t be so quick to criticize; offer suggestions rather than excoriating us. – Anonymous
I have worked with an agency before as the emerging media guy who connects with bloggers. I would want to tell them to give PR people a break and realize that they are NOT EVIL. Instead of reacting like a pissy little child, how about reacting like an adult and helping to educate him/her about how they can do their job better? – Michael E. Rubin
To provide constructive criticism – those of us who are “doing it right” so to speak are always looking to do better, and present opportunities that are beneficial to both the client we represent as well as the blogger – often we are willing to be flexible to work with the blogger to make that happen.
I would love to hear more candid feedback from the bloggers I work with regarding how they’d like to be pitched, the kinds of opportunities they’d like, and what works for them – I’d love to accommodate as best I can, and offer opportunities that are relevant to them. – Anonymous
We want your insights – not coverage on your blog. Give us your feedback. We don’t want to influence your feedback – be true to yourself. We don’t want to lure you with gifts – try the product, and return if you think of it as a bribe. – Rajesh Lalwani
Work with us – if we approach you in an offensive/unnecessary way please tell us. it’s a new media and the rules haven’t been set (yet) – Anonymous
What Do Bloggers Want?
Kami Huyse suggested that, “Bloggers need to be clear about their preferences for companies that want to share information.” A solution would be to pick up on Roxane Darling suggestion of posting a Blogger Relations Policy page or as Rohit called it a pitch page.
The more info you can provide upfront somewhere on your blog about how you prefer to be contacted and what topics you are interested in hearing about, the more likely you will get relevant pitches. – Nedra Weinreich
Make it easy for us to learn about you and your likes and dislikes and we can tailor our “relations” to you much better.
Often the information that could give us these clues is hidden and we have to struggle to find it.
If your pet peeve is getting press releases about product launches, let us know in a prominent way linked from your homepage (such as a “how to pitch me” page off your about page) and the good agencies will respect that. When that fact is hidden in a blog post you made 3 years ago, it’s almost impossible for your regular readers to find it, much less any agency person just getting familiar with your blog. – Rohit
I want them to tell me what is ok and what is cheap promotion. I want them, since it is their media outlet, to share with me what is appropriate and what is cheapening their space. What incentives are good and what constitutes selling out. – Anonymous
Interacting With Agencies
Neville Hobson’s response hit’s the high notes – “I promise not to spam you and will treat you with respect.”
I know who you are because I read you. I know what you are looking for because I understand. Sometimes, I think my agency has some content you might like to see. – Shel Israel
Work with us – if we approach you in an offensive/unnecessary way please tell us. it’s a new media and the rules haven’t been set (yet) – Anonymous
I think the bloggers need to be easy to access like “standard” media. I wish there was a way to send out a media release enmasse to bloggers. – Carolyn Wilman
Much as a good relationship between a reporter and PR can benefit both parties, so can a good relationship with a blogger. A relationship with us could get you great content. Example, we recently got an interview with someone a blogger was over the moon to speak to, and she would not have gotten that interview without us. – Sally Falkow
It’s all about making sure the message or the connection adds value for all parties. – Sherry Heyl
There is a fine line when it comes to pitching a product versus engaging a blogger to discuss the product/service/client with you and their audience. Realizing that there are agencies out there that read your blog for more than just the opportunity to have you highlight a product, that is where the mutual respect comes in. We regularly read your blog because your industry is our client’s industry.
Your interests and passions are our client’s interests and passions (and sometimes our own, too!). We look for client opportunities, sure. That is our job. But ultimately, we are mostly there to further the conversation amongst you, our client, and all the other interested parties out there. Sharing information and sharing that passion – that is where blogger relations turn into an actual relationship between a blogger, an agency and their client. – Anonymous
It is important to develop highly customized and personalized programs for bloggers and not just a cut and paste program being executed by interns. This could be your most important PR strategy. – Dave Williams
A few comments reinforced that blogger relations is a different game .. one where more than your client’s reputation can be involved. The agency has skin in the game too.
We know that our reputation is always on the line, and that keeps us especially rigorous in customized outreach, relationship-building, and being 100% transparent. It’s a tremendous amount of risk we take in engaging with bloggers. If a PR person writes a bad pitch to the journalist, the worst that’ll happen is the journalist ignores it. With bloggers, the upside’s great but the risk is much higher. – David Berkowitz
We understand that your blog is your territory and we very much appreciate it when you’re willing to talk about our clients there. – Anonymous
Be Part of The Conversation
A few people felt that actively participating in the conversation was important too.
Join the conversation first. – Jay Berkowitz
As an agency it is critical that I blog too – so I have my own credibility and my own space to share “me” and not just my product/brand or service, rather than pushing out tactical messages in-the-cold. This way, when I do have messages to send out, they follow a more natural flow that bloggers are comfortable with. – Dina Mehta
Rich Brook’s comment appropriately concludes Phase III of the Blogger Relations Series
You must give before you can expect to receive.
IV – Brands Talk To Bloggers aka Influencers
Social media is growing up .. as an industry and as a marketing strategy. From blogs to widgets to social networks and micro blogging marketers are exploring how to tap into the communication tools that were not developed for business tactics. But were created for communication between and among people. Just people.
Along the way, we (I’m in this deal with you!) marketers realized that the people who were using these, let’s call them “tools” – you know what they are .. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and the zillions of other social networks that are launching daily .. might be an interesting way to reach people who might care about our brands. So we began to read, build relationships and reach out to bloggers who were interested in the topics that we and our clients were .. like cars, parenting, photography, etc. What happened was a new marketing tactic emerged: Blogger Relations.
I was curious to know:
* Who was doing it right and who was doing it wrong
* What did agencies want from bloggers and what did bloggers want from agencies
* and most of all how could we work together for the benefit of the communities
Question: If you are working with an agency/social media company … what do you want to tell Bloggers when it comes to blogger relations? 29 responses.
Important to people who worked on the client-side were building relationships, values, respect and a willingness to learn what bloggers wanted. We are no longer in the wild wild west of social media and “etiquette” and we should be playing nicely together. One respondent even took bloggers to task for what she considered inappropriate behavior.
The big take-aways for me were:
Relationships are based on communication. Educate us about what you want and need.
Values are important
Etiquette Is Important – Please Play Nicely
For C.B. Whittemore if you are a consistent participant in the conversation blogger relations happens naturally. “I”m connecting as a blogger. Plus, not that many in the space so formal blogger relations haven’t been necessary.”
Relationships are based on communication. Tell us what you want and need. More than a ‘campaign.’ Educate. Patience
Tim Jackson feels that the phrase developing a relationship is over used but it “really applies.” People like to do business with people they like and trust. As Tim says, “I get many bloggers spreading my message FOR me because they “like me” and don’t see me as cramming things into their faces. It’s built on sharing and conversation for me.”
Blogger relations is not a campaign in of itself. It’s a process, and needs to be thought of in broad strokes and in the long term. – Michael E. Rubin
Just like with any relationship, tell those trying to engage you what you want — what you want to know about and what you don’t, how you want to be approached and what annoys you, what you consider valuable to your work, etc. It’ll help lower the number of totally off-base pitches and help everyone get what they want. – Anonymous
From the client side, I think we mean well. Sometimes the company is “green” and needs to be educated. Sometimes the company won’t learn. The question is how do you differentiate the two? – Anonymous
There needs to be two way education — and we need to learn to speak each others’ language. – Anonymous
Be patient, companies are only now understanding how to handle bloggers. – Cece Salomon-Lee
I want them to know that we respect them, we read them and we want to be a part of the conversation around our Brand. The good and the bad. If we do something bad, tell us. If you do something bad, trust me I will let you know! – David J. Neff
Start a conversation and begin a relationship before trying to sell me. Just like you (hopefully) would in person. – Anonymous
We’re listening, and want to talk with them to improve what we offer. – Anonymous
Simply, I believe what I am working is of value to your (the blogger’s) audience which is why I’m contacting you. If you agree that it is cool, please spread the gospel. I will reach out to you only if I feel what I want to communicate adds value to your audience. We believe in a mutual exchange/benefit! – Prashant Kew
I want to tell them about my company, and myself as its founder. For me, they are one and the same. – Anonymous
Willing to work with bloggers to provide their side of a story. – Anonymous
Neville Hobson’s simple promise should underscore any out reach, “I promise not to spam you and will treat you with respect.” Yvonne DiVita reminds us that respect is what opens doors to communication. “That they will always be respected, that their open, honest comments are very valuable, and that there is an open door to communication for and with them.”
Another respondent felt strongly that respect is a critical factor to building a relationship and insults do not foster friendships.
Relationships are built on mutual respect. As a representative of my company, I’m committed to showing respect to any blogger with whom I wish to communicate. The reverse is true, too — for a blogger to insult (not merely criticize) my company and then expect for my company to engage in a dialog with him or her is unreasonable. – Anonymous
Following up on the noise of SEO releases (just for the sake of search engine placement), follow the rules. Don’t be stupid! Respect others as you would like to be respected. Scattershot releases and contacts are causing more harm than good. – Robert French
As with agencies values such as honesty and transparency were important to several “brand” respondents. Also appreciated was an effort to represent companies/brands fairly.
Be honest. – Kate Spencer
Please don’t masquerade as someone other than who you really are. – Anonymous
If you consider yourselves journalists, strive for accuracy and perspective. We’re anxious to work with you. If you have a question, please come directly to us. We’re more than happy to give you accurate information. – Anonymous
Just tell the truth, spark controversy, add value to the conversation, avoid trolls and spammers, and be fair to all. Before complaining about a product or company, do all you can to resolve an issue directly with the company. If the company ignores you, or is obviously unethical or uncooperative, then you can rant against them if you feel others need to be warned. – Steven E. Streight
Etiquette – Play Nicely Please
Susan Cartier Liebel reminded us that we are no longer in the wild wild west of social media. “There is an etiquette. Failure to follow the etiquette can quickly tarnish your name and your ability to effectively use blogging as a way to promote yourself, your services, your brand.”
Even though blogging is much more casual than writing for more mainstream forms of media, they should act professionally. – Carolyn Wilman
Get both sides of the story – be objective. Tell the story and stop trying to be a tabloid. – Anonymous
Part V – Bloggers aka Influencers Talk to Agencies & Brands
Social media marketing combines the innovation of technology and the internet with an old fashion concept .. building customer loyalty by creating stronger relationships through understanding. However, social media as a new marketing strategy is more than a blog or a social network or a tweet. Unlike any marketing technique I know it involves reaching out and connecting with and to people.
Blogger relations is a new tactic that some say is it a form of public relations. Perhaps. Perhaps not. However, swirling around BR are many discussions on the expectations of bloggers, as well as, agencies and brands. Susan Getgood has written some great posts on the topic. I was curious to know what bloggers thought was the “right” way to reach out to them. I also wanted to know what agencies and brands have learned in the early stages of this emerging industry.
So I conducted an online survey and tapped a few bloggers, agency and brand people. 99 people participated. Since the research is not statistically valid let’s call it an industry pulse check from the people who are working in social media. Their feedback is a good starting point to understanding expectations and continuing this critical conversation about how to create value for bloggers, their communities and our client brands.
It seems appropriate that the last question in this series about Blogger Relations should go to the bloggers. Warning! This is a long post. However, the insights were so valuable that it was difficult to cut back much. Delicious the post and read at your leisure.
Question: If you are a blogger … what would you tell people on the agencies and the client side who ask you to participate in blogger relations strategies? 68 responses
The big take aways for me were:
- Read my blog. Know who I am. Target to my interests. Personalize.
- Provide value to me and my community.
- Tell me about you. Ethics count.
- Treat me with respect. Treat my community with respect.
- It’s a two-way conversation.
Katie Paine, hit the high notes, “Listen for a long time before you take action. Get a sense of the conversation. Only contribute what the blogger will see as valuable and relevant.” In her kind to be cruel way, Nicole Simon advised, “Become less clueless. it is basically the same game, with new rules and new participants.”
Read my blog. Know who I am. Target to my interests. Personalize.
Liz Strauss offered her insights to how bloggers are different from journalists and continued on on to tell how to create relationships with bloggers without spamming.
Most bloggers are not journalists in the way we view our readership. We view them as communities who share a bond of trust. We don’t offer that relationship to someone we don’t know. Email blasts insult us. If you don’t know me or my blog, what you’ve sent is spam.
Carefully choose the bloggers you invite to that small gathering at that fine hotel for your client’s product. The event won’t do much if you invite us to something we don’t blog about normally and the hosts aren’t genuinely interested in getting to know us.
Corporate PR releases won’t cut it with Nedra Weinreich. “Read my blog! Don’t send me a corporate press release without showing how your products fits with my blog. A personalized pitch makes it more likely that I will respond.”
Nor will they entice Randall Moss. “I am happy to blog about your product or your service anytime, so long as you ask nicely and the content will fit into my general scope. If you send me an idea you can send me copy as well but please try and make it conversational and not a PR pitch. I can see through that and so can my readers.”
Mass pitches and straight press releases rarely work. Send me a personal email, let me know why this is relevant for me and why you chose to send it to me. Better yet, build a personal relationship with me before you actually need me for something. Finally, give me some kind of incentive or exclusivity. – Rohit
Take the time to read my blog and know what it’s about. I have a unique niche and don’t respond well to mass-market pitches. – Sybil Stershic
Several people reinforced that that bloggers are not under any obligation to write about your company or brand. Keep WIFTM .. what’s in it for me .. top of mind.
- Read my blog first and stop freaking pestering me like I HAVE to write about what you’re pitching. – Anonymous
- Know my name and my blog. Don’t delude yourself that I have any great desire to write about you to HELP YOU (BTW: journalists don’t write about company to help the companies) Ask yourself what’s in it for me, the blogger, not you, the company. – Anonymous
Read my blog … read my blog .. read my blog – please! read my blog.
- At least read my blog before you contact me (and look carefully on my blog for clues on how to contact me). And don’t mass-email me from mailing lists you acquire. Ever. – Neville Hobson
- Please try harder to target your efforts towards me versus just the rough pencil sketch of “blogger.” Meaning, look at our last 10 or so blog posts to see if your relations pitch matches the person. – Anonymous
- Please read the blog first and then contact me with educated questions. Otherwise, I feel like it’s spam. – Cece Salomon-Lee
- Read my blog and website, watch my YouTube videos, search for me on LinkedIn and Facebook and listen to my podcast before you contact me. – Jay Berkowitz
- Read the blogs first, if you think it will be a good fit for your company or product then contact the creator of the blog. It’s important to make sure that you both have a vision that is headed in a similar direction. Kinda like acquiring a new company. The Gap would probably never acquire Hot Topic because the long term vision is too diverse it’s not a good fit. The same way with blogger relations. – Mei-Li Thomas
- Understand our coverage area before pitching to us. – Anonymous
- Don’t waste my time with irrelevant pitches. – CB Whittemore
Relationships are important. Get to know me.
- Relationships are everything. Get to know me before you pitch me. That doesn’t mean we have to be personal best friends, but that you are acquainted with my blog, topics I cover and and interacted with me either through twitter, Facebook or email. – Paul Chaney
- Get to know the blogger you’re targeting. Just sending them a freebie isn’t enough. – Rich Brooks
- Please at least make an effort to seem like you’re trying to personalize an approach – don’t just do a mass e-blast and call that blogger relations. Anonymous
- Since I straddle the two (agency/social media co and a blogger – will take a shot at this too) Its a two-way street here unlike traditional PR activities which were more push. Listen well, engage in REAL conversations, don’t appear to ‘spam’, make yourself visible in the blogworld! Better still, start blogging yourself 🙂 – Dina Mehta
- Get to know the blogger before you ask for exposure on his\her blog. Strike up a relationship first, ask for favours second and make sure your requests add value to the blogger’s community.- Mark Goren
- Build a relationship with me; don’t just tell me you are a “loyal reader”. I would prefer to know you over time so we can trust each other. – Becky Carroll
- Start a conversation and begin a relationship before trying to sell me. Just like you (hopefully) would in person. – Anonymous
- Stay in continuous contact and understand that helping bloggers and the company better communicate and understand each other should be the main goal. – Anonymous
Not all bloggers welcome participating in a blogger relations program with a “stranger.” “Don’t bother. I write what I want anyway. Just be my friend. You’ll have better luck that way.”- Anonymous
- As a blogger, I would tell social media marketers to use 80% education/inspiration/entertainment and only 20% or less sales promotion when interacting with the blogosphere (including micro-blogs like Twitter, Pownce, Plurk, Jaiku). A company or ad agency should delegate the job of interacting with bloggers and social networks to people who have a genuine passion for the problems their products solve, and not just sales of the product.
Contribute relevant insights and helpful tips, and only rarely, almost reluctantly, hype a product, and even then only “product as solution”, as when someone is seeking a digital voice recorder, for example. – Steven E. Streight
Provide value to me. Provide value to my community.
- Give them (my community) the same attention they have given you, by reading my blog and taking further action to learn more about you and your products/services. – Roxanne Darling
In addition to offering dos and don’ts BL Ochman also reminded us, “The bottom line is that nothing you say matters if your product sucks.”
- No Dear Blogger emails – read the blog and know what we write about. Hint: most of us list the categories we cover – no embargos that allow bloggers to run a story after MSM – Google the bloggers on your list so you know if they’ve covered your client’s competitor – don’t say “because your Alexa ranking is amazing” I think you’ll want to cover this (I’m not making that up. It was in an email pitch last week.)
Don’t send a 500-word pitch. – Don’t pitch. Inform. – Give me a heads up BEFORE you give the story to everyone and her dog or don’t bother me.
What is “Value?” As the junk man says – what is of value to one person may be trash to someone else. In blogger relations relevancy for the blogger and her community plays a big role in what matters.
- Give us early access, give us lots of information and images. let us give feedback and know that it will make a difference. Listen, track, and monitor what people are saying. Make sure someone can answer questions as they come up. – Tris Hussey
- Provide value, be authentic, show personality, include humor and focus on building relationships. – Anonymous
- Emphasize facts and access, not packaged PR – most of us can tell the difference … – Marc Danziger
- Give me content that I could use – give me data, give me research, figure – that’s what helps me. Don’t give me press releases. – Rajesh Lalwani
- Don’t send me junk. Don’t send me the same thing you sent 25 -100 other bloggers. Let me actually help you by giving me what I want: good content, access to leadership and some level of exclusivity. – Drew McLellan
- Give them the two definitions, find out what their goals are, as those goals will determine the strategy, conduct an audit of the community and the company, for scope of what needs to be done, and to understand the capabilities of the company. Is someone available who should write, can they write well, can they write the amount that will be sufficient within the community? – John Cass
- I only have relevance to my readers because I act as a filter for them. If you can help me to do that, then we may have something to talk about. But there does need to be an exchange of value. It is not just about “news”. – Anonymous
- Please be relevant to me and my readers. – Becky Carroll
- Connect me to the product or service and don’t ask me to blog about the product or service. I will do so if I feel like there is some value to my readers. – Marianne Richmond
- Stop looking at me as a target, send me stuff that will make me look smart and informed when I share it. – Kami Huyse
- Don’t ask a blogger to blog about your products. Instead, post rich, relevant, altruistic comments on her blog that demonstrate your expertise and credibility as an innovator or industry leader. Such enriching, or even comical, comments will inspire the blogger to check out your ecommerce site and perhaps try your product or alert others to your company. – Steven E. Streight
- The strategy needs to be something that is consistent with my current goals – Sherry Heyl
- I am not going to lie for you or shill for you. I will offer my honest opinion, but only if I think that the product or service is something my audience is interested in. – Alan Wolk
- Show real value. Illustrate that you know me and know what I write about. Hey, these are the same rules we’ve had for traditional media relations. Sadly, too few seem to be following the rules. In fact, it seems that the number of bad actors increases exponentially each year. – Robert French
- Military history is written by the winners. Capitalistic history will be written by the bloggers. Make sure the product or service is serving the triple bottom line of economics, environment and social good. The last thing you need is to draw permanent attention to the product (and company) that brought destruction to the planet or society. If your product doesn’t serve the triple bottom line, then don’t take to bloggers. – Mary Hunt
- That I would be happy to “play” as long as our goals mesh and our audience is similar. I don’t have time to spend promoting things that have nothing to do with my long range goals. – Heidi Richards
- I actually get these too, as a blogger. I have many contacts in the industry and elsewhere and periodically get requests to help them spread a message. It’s always very flattering and if I believe in it, I will blog about it and help distribute the message.
I tell folks that I don’t like to advertise unless it is something I believe in. My readers expect that, so I don’t mention anything that I don’t actually believe in or support. I get offers to advertise on my blogs, for pay, but so far I haven’t found any of those offers to be anything I actually support. – Tim Jackson
- If it is relevant and it helps me forward my own goals, I am fine with it. But as journalists have been saying for decades – do your homework, read the blog. Make sure you don’t pitch off topic ideas that mean nothing to me or my readers. – Sally Falkow
- Make sure that the product is germaine to my area & community. – Anonymous
- Give me samples to share or loan out so my audience can try the products, make mashup videos, etc. Give me access to one or more of your execs/tech staff to interview and add a real face to the company. Give them some reign to discuss things besides the product itself. Think out of the box. An in-depth project or campaign with a specialist in your space might have much more ROI than a scattershot approach that is far less personal.- Roxanne Darling
Tell me about you. Ethics count.
If blogger relations is about building relationships it would be wise to listen to Shel Israel. “This is not one directional. It is conversational or the program is likely to fail.”
The social media mantra: honesty, transparency, authenticity is also two directional. Bloggers hold brands managers and agencies people to the same standards that they impose on themselves.
- Always be authentic and I believe you increase “trust” in your business! I always think of blogging as an online resume or meeting and stay aware of professional boundaries (Don’t think it’s local bar, it’s more like the old office watercooler.) If you’re going to participate I believe you need to be approachable and converse – it’s a 2 way dialog (if not you may actually create a negative backlash). – Cyndee Haydon
- Be up front and transparent and don’t waste my time. – Anonymous
- Don’t hide behind anonymity. Come out, use your real name, and engage with people. Put up an About section and personalize it with names, photos and short bios. Focus on building relationships with people, too. It may seem risky, but in the end you will be better off. – Anita Campbell
- That they have to make the transition from safe disembodied corporate prose to one with a strong voice, strong opinions, and caring about the world. – Jane Geneva
- We value transparency and complete disclosure. – Prashant Kew
- To tell me you have someone senior, preferably several, in your team who is blogging regularly and with whom I would be able to discuss directly and frankly any stresses that arise in the relationship. – Des Walsh
- Be reader-focused and genuine to your principles and beliefs in the subject matter. – Elaine Fogel
- Be straight up. I don’t expect you to know how all this works, though I do expect you to be honest with me about your goals and tactics and where I fit in.
Inform your partners and engage them. If you are a manufacturer, integrate your dealer network. If you are in consumer products, integrate your retailers and sales staff. Train them in advance (some bloggers like myself offer training and coaching), get them ready to participate and capture those leads on the spot.- Roxanne Darling
Treat Me With Respect. Treat My Community With Respect.
The Big R Word .. Respect was repeated many times through out multiple questions. Some people felt that brands/agencies don’t “get” that most bloggers do not get a pay check for writing their blogs. It takes time to write a post and time does not always = money.
- Treat bloggers with the respect they deserve as influential media. – Carolyn Wilman
- Time is as important or more so, than money. Please be available to participate in the conversation on my blog; don’t expect me to answer technical questions that you could do better. – Roxanne Darling
- Once again, it’s all about educating readers and connecting them with each other, NOT promoting a product or brand. It’s a tricky wire to walk for brands – how do you sponsor without seeming biased? – Michele Miller
- Respect the fact I owe you nothing. Any reason I choose to work with you is because I believe in your product/service. Recognize I did not establish myself as a blogger to be a clearing house for your public relations or advertising needs. You don’t get to set the rules. I do.
So, the one question you need to ask me is, “What are your goals for your blog and your readership and how can we work together to achieve a good fit, because we’d like to talk to your readership?” – Susan Cartier Liebel
- I need to ask if it’s paid, they seem to take our time and input for granted. – Anonymous
Yvonne DiVita suggests that new bloggers may not care about the “relationship” but rather the ego stroking by a popular brand’s notice.
- New bloggers who don’t care about blogger relations…they just want to tell friends a major brand approached them to blog. imho they will take over and true blogger relations will fall by the wayside. interestingly, fan bloggers are the best people to engage for blogger relations…those of us who have large blog networks may know the ins and outs of how PR should approach us, but…as time goes on, PR will not need to approach us. they will have all the bloggers they need, in the general populace.
To pay or not to pay .. that is the question.
- Finally, never pay or otherwise compensate bloggers or comment posters to attack your competitors or praise your company, as in PayPerPost. Incentivized opinions are detrimental to the blogosphere, because they break the Trust Web of peer-to-peer recommendations. – Steven E. Streight
Alanna Kellog commented that even if a blogger agrees to write about a brand or book or event the blogger decides what to say and when to say it.
- If you want to reach a blog’s readers — and control the message and the timing — buy an ad. – Alanna Kellogg
Merrill Dubrow reinforced the benefits of blogs.
- It is the latest communication tool that allows you in real time to gain reaction to anything and everything you could ever imagine which allows you to get a pulse on a new product or service for your client – Merrill Dubrow
Bringing it back to what’s is all about .. combining a blogger’s interest with those of his community.
- Write about what you want to write keeping in mind your target audience but without compromising the integrity of your blog. – The Marketing Girl
- Be very clear on your intentions for blogging – the Who, Why, What, and Where – that forms your existence and relationships. Then stay true to your intentions. Do not take comments “personally” – it’s not about you. You can be “right” or you can make a difference. – Cynthia Holladay
- As a blogger, I would tell social media marketers to use 80% education/inspiration/entertainment and only 20% or less sales promotion when interacting with the blogosphere (including micro-blogs like Twitter, Pownce, Plurk, Jaiku).
A company or ad agency should delegate the job of interacting with bloggers and social networks to people who have a genuine passion for the problems their products solve, and not just sales of the product.
Contribute relevant insights and helpful tips, and only rarely, almost reluctantly, hype a product, and even then only “product as solution”, as when someone is seeking a digital voice recorder, for example.
Don’t ask a blogger to blog about your products. Instead, post rich, relevant, altruistic comments on her blog that demonstrate your expertise and credibility as an innovator or industry leader. Such enriching, or even comical, comments will inspire the blogger to check out your ecommerce site and perhaps try your product or alert others to your company. – Steven E. Streight
Ann Handley’s response is a great end game wrap up that concludes this series.
- My sense is that companies who have successful blogger relations outreach have acknowledged bloggers and blogging, and have acknowledged the affect each can have on their business. To that end, they have reached out to blogs/bloggers who cover their space in an effort to get to know them, but not to control or censor what the blogger ultimately writes.
- I do make a distinction between journalists and bloggers. Journalists have a responsibility to present all sides of an issue, and should at least attempt to keep their bias at bay. Bloggers are free to have an opinion and a point of view.
.. to the pioneers of social media .. all of you .. who are forging new ways to make business personal and accountable while adding value for your customers.
Thanks to the 99 people who kindly responded. The following agreed to be quoted and publicly acknowledged.
Michele Miller WonderBranding
Mei-Li Thomas, No Fear, Just DIVA
Paul Chaney, LinkedIn
Kim Haynes, Texas Gal Ramblings
Des Walsh Des Walsh dot com
Alan Wolk TV [R] EV
Elaine Fogel, Solutions Marketing and Consulting
David J. Neff, Ignite: The Book
Steven E. Streight LinkedIn
Nicole Simons, LinkedIn
Sherry Heyl, Amplified Concepts
Ike Pigott, Ike Pigott
Mary Hunt, LinkedIn
Yigal Cohen, Linx Analyst and Blogger Relations
Susan Cartier Liebel, Building Solo Practice University
Liz Strauss, Successful and Outstanding Blog(gers)
Robert French, LinkedIn
Cynthia Holladay, UpRight Marketing
Alanna Kellogg, Veggie Eventure; Kitchen Parade
Yvonne Divita, Lip-sticking
Jay Berkowitz, Ten Golden Rules
Heidi Richards Mooney, WE Magazine for Women
Tim Jackson, Two Wheels and Half A Brain
Marc Meyer, Direct Marketing Observations
Mark Goren, LinkedIn
Sally Falkow, Meritus Media
John Cass Author of Strategies & Tools for Corporate Blogging Blogger LinkedIn
Shel Israel, Shel Israel
Ann Handley, Annarchy
Francois Gossieaux, LinkedIn
Erin K Vest, Queen of Spain
David Berkowitz, Serial Marketer
Ed Gaston, edLINES
Michael Rubin, LinkedIn
Cyndee Haydon, Clearwater Real Estate Tampa Homes
Katie Paine, Paine Publishing
Drew McLellan, Drew’s Marketing Minute
Anita Campbell Small Business Trends
Rich Brooks, Flyte
Jane Genova, JaneGenova.com Law and More
Marianne Richmond, LinkedIn
Becky Carroll, LinkedIn
CB Whittemore, Simple Marketing
Roxanne Darling Partner, Bare Feet Studios Bare Feet Blog
Dave Williams, Digital Nomads
Tris Hussey, Tris Hussey
Kami Huyse, Zoetica
B.L. Ochman What’s Next Blog
Carolyn Wilman Contest Queen
Rajesh Lalwani, Scenario
Dave Taylor, Ask Dave Taylor
Cece Salomon-Lee, LinkedIn
Nancy White, Full Circle
Neville Hobson, NevilleHobson.com
Nedra Weinreich, Weinreich Communications
Dina Mehta, Convo
Rohit Bhargava, Rohit Bhargava
Katherine Malone, Fleishman-Hillard
Randal Moss, LinkedIn
Merrill Dubrow, M/A/R/C LinkedIn