There’s been a lot of talk about the relationship between the public relations industry and bloggers. I’ve written about it in the past as have others, yet still there’s this feeling of a barrier between the two mediums.
As someone on both sides of the fence, I can understand each side’s views.
Yet I can also see where both sides could improve. So, with no bias to either the PR industry or bloggers, here are some suggestions to help both PR and bloggers help each other.
PR People – Think Like Bloggers
Consider starting a blog if you don’t already have one. Unless you blog yourself, you probably won’t understand the mindset of a blogger. It can be a lonely and time-consuming business – the last thing we want is added workloads through misunderstanding or laziness. If you blog, you’ll have a better appreciation of how we work and how our time can best be used.
Treat us as a bona-fide media source in both your pitching and follow-ups. True, we may not have the name of a New York Times or CBS journalist or reporter. But we often are more visible, thanks to Google and search engine awareness, which means our story could potentially have a much wider audience. Doesn’t that deserve some respect?
Find out who we are and what we do. You have a gardening tool to promote for a client. So why would you send your news release to a tech or music blogger? Don’t just grab a bunch of names from a blogger list – do a little homework, find out what we write about, our style, etc. Trust me, show me you know about me and my readers and you’re almost home dry with me.
Invite us to participate in what your clients are up to. Bloggers love to be involved early on – after doing your homework on who would fit you client base, invite bloggers into your inner circle as your official blog partners. Let us tell your story (without any major interference) and you’ll have a primed marketing team of bloggers ready to go.
Bloggers – PR is Not Your Enemy
Bloggers are wary of PR people. Lazy pitches, poor communication and being treated as second-class citizens are just some of the complaints. Yet there are ways to help yourself be more appreciated by the PR industry.
Have either an About Me page or an area that describes what your blog is about. This may seem like common sense but the amount of reviewer blogs I’ve seen without this simple addition is mind-boggling. How can you expect a proper pitch when you don’t advise on what you write about?
Display a PR-friendly badge to let us know that you’re open to pitching. Todd Defren and the folks over at Shift Communications have come up with some badge designs you can use. Clean and clear, they save both PR people and bloggers a lot of time.
Be ethical at all times and true to your beliefs. This works both ways. Your blog is your voice and your readers should trust that voice. Keep your views honest and untainted by PR pressure. And if someone in PR is pressuring you into a positive spin when their client doesn’t deserve one, don’t be afraid to call them out via your blog.
Contact us and offer your services as part of a PR agency’s blogger outreach program. Many PR firms and professionals are still far behind on the benefits of a blogger outreach program. Use Google, Twitter, O’Dwyer’s blog and other resources to find agencies in your niche. Then send them an email about your expertise and how they could benefit from it. Pro-activity never hurt anyone.
These are just some examples of how the PR industry and bloggers can help each other. I’m sure there are countless more, but it’s a start.
How about you? Are you a blogger? If so, how can PR professionals improve? Or are you in the PR industry? Where would you like to see bloggers improve? Feel free to share your views and let’s get the conversation going.