Category Archives: blogging

Using Social Media: Part 5 – Blogger Relations

Blogger Social 2008

Blogger Social 2008

 

This is the fifth post in a 6 part series on how I using social media. In this fifth installment, I discuss blogger relations.

 

“Blogger Outreach”

While I would consider blogs an integral part of any “traditional” public relations strategy, blogs are somewhat unique compared to reporters at traditional publications. Bloggers are writing to communicate their distinct perspective on a topic. And most are writing in addition to their day jobs.

 

I previously wrote a guest post for WebMarketCentral on PR and Blogging Outreach: 8 Practical Tips. Since writing the post in September of 2007, I believe many of the pointers are still valid. I’ve reviewed what I wrote and updated based on what I’ve learned over the past year:

 

  • Bloggers are not journalists: Bloggers write because they are passionate about the topic. Journalists write as a job and part of that job is receiving tons of emails and calls from folks like me. Most bloggers don’t come from the traditional reporter background so treating them as such can backfire.

  • Familiarize yourself with the blogger: Previously, I would have recommended reading the blog. However, I realize it’s more reading past posts. It’s about familiarizing yourself with the blogger. What has the blogger written in the past, what is the tone and what is the person’s background. I would even recommend googling the person to learn about the person’s online reputation. Go to LinkedIn and see if there is a profile on the blogger (Note: do this with reporters and freelance writers as well). There is a wealth of information on the person’s background. Take advantage of it.

  • Beyond Email Pitches: Commonly, I would send a “pitch” via a contact page or email a blogger. I’ve discovered that bloggers, me included, also pay attention to other ways of connecting. For example, some bloggers only accept pitches via a Twitpitch. Or will take interest in your comment and want to learn more.

  • Nurture a relationship: Don’t pitch, get “coverage” and then leave. It’s like getting ready for a hot first date and being taken to a McDonald’s for dinner. Once you’ve gotten a person’s attention, be sure to nurture that relationship like you do for any reporter relevant to your space. When appropriate, connect with the blogger when you have news, drop an email about industry news and occasionally comment to demonstrate that you’re reading their blog. For emails, an added touch is to incorporate something the person has recently written.

  • Be Transparent: Whether you’re commenting on a blog or contacting a blogger, be transparent about who you are and what your intentions are. Do I really need to say more on this?

  • Grammar and spelling do count: If you’re read the person’s blog, you should be able to identify the blogger’s gender and correct spelling of his/her name. And having good grammar just demonstrates you can write English well. Check out B.L. Ochman’s recent post on this topic.

  • Don’t disregard “smaller” bloggers: Never disregard a smaller blogger. You never know who will read and link to a story that can gain a life of its own.

  • Face to face is important: While I have met a lot of people virtually, I think it’s important to cement any relationship in person. If the blogger is local, have an open door policy to visit your offices, give in-person demos or just have coffee. If you’re traveling, reach out to bloggers in that town, especially those you’ve been in touch with in the past.

  • Monitor and respond quickly: Your never know when a post can quickly spiral out of control for a company or person. You have to monitor what is being said and respond immediately to correct inaccurate information or diffuse potentially disastrous situations. Scott Monty of Ford recently handled a similar situation (check out the article at Fast Company). The key was Scott’s transparency, as well as his personable demeanor in all his online communications.

 

Other posts in the series:

Using Social Media: Part 1 – Microblogging

Using Social Media: Part 2 – Search Feeds

Using Social Media: Part 3 – Social Networking Sites (updated link)

Using Social Media: Part 4 – Linking Strategies

 

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Using social media for marketing by @csalomonlee: post 5 of 6 on blogger relations: http://twurl.nl/imfehb (oops – wrong link! – updated 

 

Related Posts of Interest:

Pitching Bloggers – Page linking to blogs with “how to pitch” postings

Brave New World of Media Pitching: LinkedIn

Brave New World of Media Pitching: Twitter

Brave New World of Media Pitching: Facebook

 

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Recap: “Will Social Media Kill PR” Panel

Susan Etlinger, Jeremiah Owyang, Kara Swisher, Sam Whitmore

Susan Etlinger, Jeremiah Owyang, Kara Swisher, Sam Whitmore

 

Last night, I went to a panel discussion hosted by the Horn Group and Girls In Tech. There was a star line-up of panelists: Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research and Web Strategist Blog, Kara Swisher of WSJ and All Things D, Susan Etlinger, VP of Horn Group and Sam Whitmore of Media Survey as moderator. 

 

The topic provided attractive with over 200 people packed in the Horn Group offices on Howard St. Considering the economic news swirling around me, the event reminded me a bit of the heady dot.com days – yes, I really am that old Virginia! Twitter tag #prblog.

 

Sam took a quick poll of the audience before commencing with the Q&A. It seemed the audience was 60% PR folks, 20-25% Horn Group clients and other people interested in the topic from marketing/social media backgrounds.

 

 

PR is not dead. It’s being reborn” – Sabrina Horn

To summarize some key quotes from the evening (may not be verbatim quotes but gives you a gist of the meaning):

 

Jeremiah:

“Join community to reach audience regardless of your client. Has the relationship with person I want. It’s the influencer model”

“Opportunity for PR is to listen. People will tell you what they’re interested in”

“Extend the value of PR – currently don’t have the key skills to do that”

“Big opportunity to use these tools to grow beyond corporate communications”

“Use the tools to repair the PR reputation”

 

Kara Swisher – I’ve read her blog and hearing her in person was definitely more amusing!

“PR people are so easy to get upset. Stop being reactive to the bloggers who are doing this to be trafic whores”

“War with PR is not important. There are more important things to fight over like Proposition 8”

“Focus on people with amazing relationship with people”

“Give me news and trends that your company represents. Trends with interesting products. Needs real news. Interesting figures and thought leaders. Cool interesting products that people are using. Weird stories will also get me too.”

“Nothing new – it’s about how good is the product. Don’t PR crap products”

 

Susan

“PR is about creating replicable processes, but replicable process can get you in trouble.”

 

Audience Comments

“Relationship economy. Release is so narrow”

[PR's] obligation is to not put out shit out there. If it has value, then yes. Otherwise, no.” Charlie Cooper, CNET

“How to leverage important bloggers to help with news” – Razorfish

“How does PR practitioner leverage these tools to help business”

“Performance based payment and measurement like a media buy – will an agency risk this?”

Deja Vu – Didn’t we see this 10 years ago?

For a panel discussion that promised to be titillating, I found that it was bogged down by semantics of PR’s role in the social media landscape versus how the industry, as a whole, can better address this as a core competency. These were the same discussions that occurred 10 years ago with the rise of the Internet, which ironically was referenced when Sabrina pulled out a big, black binder about the impact of the Internet on PR.

To paraphrase one audience member, what we’re referring to – Twitter, blogs, wikis, etc. – are just communications tools. In 5-10 years, these may be commonplace ways to communicate with your audience. While the panel was informational for those new to PR or currently struggling with PR’s value within the larger marketing and social media landscape, I think the panel didn’t truly delve into the question of the evening – Will Social Media Kill PR.

My Perspective?

I was sitting in the balcony where most of the social media folks were sitting. When Sam turned to us and asked if our issues were being addressed, frankly they weren’t and I said so (yes, that was me voicing the need to get beyond PR and talk about how this fits into the larger marketing arena). Unfortunately the discussion turned back to the basics of PR 101 meeting social media.

 

In the end, I agree with Jeremiah. PR has a window of opportunity to leverage social media to build higher business value with customers and companies beyond a corporate communications capability. When the discussion evolves from which outlet can you get me in to one of what audiences do you want to influence, then PR will have a seat at the table.

 

But hasn’t this always been the crux of the problem for PR from the beginning? Does social media really change that conversation? I don’t think so. What do you think?

 

Update:

- Jeremiah’s post about four biz opportunities for PR agencies

- Kara Swisher’s post about the panel

- Sam Whitmore’s summary

- Charles Cooper’s take – PR is Killing PR, not Social Media.

- While Lewis Green wasn’t at the panel, he brings up a good point about the value of social media in PR.

- Horn Group’s summary about their Is Social Media Killing PR panel.

- Jennifer Leggio’s post at ZDNet. I think she summarized it perfectly: ” too much focus on dialing for dollars and not enough focus on making PR stretch to support real business initiatives.”

 

 

All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post.

My Top 5 Blogging Outreach Mistakes

The posts that I learn the most from are by those who are willing to show their mistakes and what they’ve learned. This not only humanizes them but also makes us feel just a little bit less stupid!

 

While there are a lot of posts about how to pitch a blogger, I thought it would be an interesting twist to list the top five mistakes I’ve made a la Letterman style:

 

My Top 5 Pitching Blogger Mistakes

 

Number 5: Oops – I thought that was MISS Blogger, not MISTER Blogger

 

Number 4: Spellcheck is a wonderful technology…when you USE it

 

Number 3: I’m not stalking you honestly. Could you just puhleeze respond to me?

 

Number 2: Sorry – didn’t realize you just wrote about this… yesterday!

 

And the number 1 mistake that I’ve made pitching a blogger:

Who cares about YOUR interests, it’s all about ME

 

What mistakes have you made? Bonus points for your Letterman style list!

 

But if you’re interested in more information about how to pitch, check out my page about pitching bloggers and 8 Practical Tips for PR and Blogging Outreach.

 

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Keeping Blog Motivation

Starting a blog is easy. Getting and maintaining the motivation to post regularly is not. I originally started my blog in May 2007 as a way to discuss how PR is an integral part of marketing.

I started writing one post a week, grew to two posts and then even did a weekly digest of interesting articles. As time passed, my posting became more irregular while work increased as well as the activities of life. On top of that, I’ve been struggling with what to write.

 

I thought – I want to be original. If someone else wrote on a topic, why repeat it – I would just link to the post and put in my 2 cents as part of a weekly digest. I was amazed at the number of intelligent folks around me – Jason Falls, CK, Cam Beck, Chris Brogan, Todd Defren, Paul Dunay and more!

 

What could I possibly contribute? Not writing for the past few weeks has allowed me to reflect and realize why I started blogging in the first place. The purpose of blogging is PERSONAL!

 

It’s not about how often I post. It’s about writing something of VALUE to me and, in the process, this will help someone else.

 

It’s not about writing what motivates others, it’s about writing about what MOTIVATES me. And maybe, this will motivate someone.

 

It’s not about creating my own community. It’s about how my blog can CONTRIBUTE to the larger community

My blogging commitment to ME and YOU

So what does this mean? For me, my goal is to write posts that highlight what I’ve learned. To share any new insights that I have. And in the process, get to know about you while revealing more about me.

 

As part of this process, I’m finally going to update my blog theme, so bear with me as I may make changes. Playing with different themes or maybe soliciting help for a more customized look.

 

While I can’t promise to post often, I can promise that I will try to make my posts more personal. That they are of value to me, motivate me and contribute to the community.

 

So – what do you think?

 

 

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PR Meets Marketing Weekly Articles: May 2, 2008

 

You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles FeedIf you feel that you have an article that would fit in the weekly articles, leave a comment and I’ll check it our for the following week’s digest. Enjoy.

 

Permission Please – Mark Goren of Transmission Marketing highlights how he was automatically subscribed to Marriott Hotel newsletters without his permission. The comment stream is interesting regarding the needs of business and person perspective. However, I side with Mark on this one. There are better ways to ask for permission. Supplying an email for a “confirmation notification” isn’t the same as asking to receive frequent emails about your company, promotions and other marketing stuff.

 

From a Blogger to You – Chris Brogan writes a great post about why bloggers aren’t journalists. He also provides great tips for pitching him and the topics that he likes to discuss. Key point – make a blogger feel special, whether with beta invitations, previews or free schwag.

 

So You Want to Pitch? – Jason Falls provides a great post on how he would pitch bloggers. By writing a fictional blog pitch, Jason provides actionable tips for contacting bloggers and probably getting results as well.

 

Engaging Employees –Anna Farmery posted about how to engage employees as most of the conversation is about engaging customers. Well, employees ARE customers too. I think companies take this for granted until it’s too late.

 

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All content copyright Cece Salomon-Lee, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, with the attribution: By Cece Salomon-Lee, PR Meets Marketing, and a link to the post