PR People Reach Out to Bloggers, Sans Blog

Here’s a challenge for some PR folks:

  • they have figured out that their interests and their clients might be better served if they could get their story picked up by bloggers
  • they are not bloggers themselves so they just send stuff to bloggers the way they send stuff to mainstream journos
  • their story doesn’t get covered

What to do?

First, realize that there are bloggers who are being pitched – often badly – who have taken the trouble to provide some clues about what not to do and also about what would be smart to do. In fact, bloggers have been posting about this, literally for years now.

A good way in to the discussion is to read Lee Odden’s excellent post from back in 2006 but still relevant, aptly titled Blogger Relations 101. He has five tips, well worth reading, under the headings:

  • be relevant
  • personalize
  • make it easy
  • schwag is good
  • be persistent

In the same post Lee provides a stack of links for anyone who wants to read more widely on the topic.

A new study just out suggests that, while a lot of PR people feel they have their bases covered in the blogosphere, a majority of pro bloggers are not convinced. (Thanks to NewMediaWise for the link and commentary.)

The industry-commissioned study found that:

While a majority of public relations professionals believed they are doing a good job in its outreach to bloggers, most bloggers disagreed.

The findings of the study are reported under five headings:

  • Bloggers or Journalist: Differences in Definition
  • “Rules” of Engagements
  • Compensation of Bloggers
  • Transparency & Openness

The summary under “Rules” of Engagements is, in my view, the key for PR professionals wanting to get the relationship right:

PR professionals who understand bloggers and their needs have more success in communicating with the blogging community than those who do not.

And for me, the corollary is that those PR professionals would do well to blog.

I can’t think of a better way to understand bloggers, their perspective and conversation than to become a blogger oneself. That doesn’t necessarily mean blogging a lot or even having to blog on PR matters. It could be a blog about some interest the PR person has when off duty. The point is, doing it will teach more than reading about it or going to seminars.

One outcome of the study has been a new site The State of Blog Relations: From the Point of View of Public Relations Executives and Bloggers. While I imagine this can be a helpful resource, I find it interesting – and a tad mystifying – that the site does not include a blog.

Not that they *have* to have a blog. Just saying.

Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

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  1. Ultimately, if the PR person can make the time to become a blogger, they’ll be more effective. I can’t see why you wouldn’t do this if you were a PR practitioner hoping to reach out to bloggers.

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