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Best, or at Least Better, Practices for Blogger Relations

With the rise of social media, blogger relations are getting some serious press. That, and the fact that newspapers across the country are closing up their printing presses and publishing primarily online. What does that mean for those of us who conduct media relations for a living?

Blogger RelationsApparently, it makes us more pushy and aggressive, much like an only child or a first-born. As a PR person, and a blogger, I’m inundated with pitches, but I evaluated them much more harshly than your standard, run of the mill blogger would. And even those people, without the PR training I’ve had, are starting to get annoyed.

From what I’ve heard from other bloggers, who talk to me like one of their own, is that PR people are starting to get aggressive; asking when a review will be published, asking for more than they would from a newspaper or a magazine. These are the same PR people who wouldn’t dare call a reporter and ask if their release was received, or suggest to a magazine that coverage was expected because a product was sent for review.

Let me tell you this right now. Bloggers, for the most part, are not any different than traditional, or legacy media, despite what the traditional media may say. Sure, there are some bloggers who are out to simply get free stuff or attempt to make some money from their ‘advertising’ (which is why the FTC started to crack down on marketers who were trying to make a go of ‘cheap advertising’).

What are your options? Be human. Talk to the bloggers, and read about what they write, and what they’re interested in before you approach them. It’s standard media relations tactics, but for some reason, PR people have managed to throw all of the ‘expected’ media relations rules out the window.

Now, what happens if a blogger blatantly insults you or your client? First, check their traffic, and remember the things that make something newsworthy: proximity, timing, significance, prominence and human interest. If Dooce talks about your brand on her blog, without your interaction, that makes a bigger impact than … for example, Brenda’s Cat Journal (well, unless you’re dealing with pretty specific cat products). The moral is, don’t lose sight of the fact that the blogger complaining about you or your blog might not carry much weight.

When you’ve looked at their traffic, what about their influence? Do they have a following you care about? If your answer is no, then you need to stop replying, and move onto something more important, in the grand scheme.

Blogger relations is a lot like traditional media relations. Watch what they write; approach them appropriately.  If they trash you, see how much damage they can cause. If the answer is earth-shattering, deal with it much the way you would with traditional media. If it’s barely a ripple in your world, move on.

Bloggers, and the PR people who are chasing them hard, seem to have changed the rules for the rest of us. Good news? They haven’t.

This article, written by Colleen Coplick, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.

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