PR Roundtable Discussion: How Bloggers Can Work with PR People 101

Aaron Brazell, Director of Technology at b5media has lined up a handful of well-respected voices on both sides of the PR game to host a “roundtable” discussion on Social Media. It’s a five part series with the third post running today at Technosailor.

The roundtable includes Doug Haslam, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Cathryn Hrudicka, Marc Orchant, and yours truly. Click here to read more about the participants.

Question 3 – How can bloggers work more effectively with PR people?

Brian SolisBrian Solis: Yes it goes both ways…

I think it all starts with couples therapy.

Blogger, “All they do is spam with me this and that! They don’t care about me and my needs!”

PR, “They never listen to me…It’s like whatever I say is ignored no matter how important it is to me. They just don’t care!”

Seriously though, bloggers can benefit from maintaining a strategic and advantageous relationship with the right PR professionals. Love them or hate them, good PR people can still be a helpful part of the news and information process. They can and will work for you.

I think we all learned that running the names of lazy PR flacks in a public forum is definitely one way to send a clear message. Social Media is fueled by people and their peers, so running things in the blogosphere definitely makes things very personal. But there are also other ways to ensure that PR people “think” before approaching bloggers.

One way is to send positive feedback to those that do it right. Send notes to management in regards to those who do it wrong and remind them how to do things correctly. Or, simply block the individual from contacting you again – but in the process let them know why.

We recently had a lazy PR associate who ignored repeated points of advice on how best to reach out to bloggers. Aside from the lip service we got, he continued to do things the spammy way…blasting lists of targets with impersonalized messages with irrelevant news releases. Within one week, this person was called out by two bloggers, one of whom decided to cc: everyone at my agency lambasting his approach and well, basically, calling him stupid. Names are one thing, and probably inappropriate, but the message was loud and clear and this person was now directly humbled among his peers. And, most importantly, it spotlighted a problem that required correction, while also reinforcing the need for other people on our team to remember that this entire process is about people. One news release doesn’t matter to everyone! Subsequently this person is no longer with us.

Yes it takes time for bloggers to respond rather than ignore things, it also takes an extraordinary level of patience and understanding, but it helps PR adapt and learn. Using the example above, one email inspired 15 people to do things better.

Another way bloggers can work better with PR is to clearly say somewhere how they wish to be contacted, what they are looking for, and advice for cutting through the clutter. Submission forms are not helpful.

We should all be in this to learn together. And, for those that don’t want to learn or embrace evolution, then they’ve sealed their own fate.

Evolve or die!

The Series:

Question #1 - What do you think the biggest challenge is for the Public Relations industry to fully embrace social media?

Question #2 - What does the concept of “brand” mean to you and how do you see the concept of brand protection (or the concept of “open source brand”, so to speak) being transformed in the internet age?

Connect with me on Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce or Facebook.

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  • Daniel R

    Brian,

    Your postings are always instructive. I’ve touched on the very same issues – on what bloggers can do – on my article on Pitching to Bloggers.

    Another thing I find interesting is no one is really mentioning the WOMMA Blogger Contact guidelines for this, which I mention in my posting.

    I think every new PR/Marketing person starting out should double check her/himself each time before making that first contact.

  • Dennis Howlett

    I don’t understand why this is necessary. This is journalism 101 let alone blogger relations 101. The thing that everyone’s missing here is that the while thing is about influencer relations.

  • onlineprguy

    Brian,

    I think PR pros should blog!

    I was a journalist, and then PR guy, and now am a blogging PR guy.

    I feel blogging myself makes me better positioned to pitch bloggers.

    Blogging is a big commitment, but what better way to reach out to bloggers than to dive in ourselves? And vice-versa: blogging makes me better positioned to reach out to journalists.

    PR pros: Blog! Just be relevant, and open to learning/constructive criticism.

    Vince Bank

  • stitch

    Brian, it’s funny that I just came across this post of yours because just last week I wrote something similar ( http://snipr.com/27cqe) after getting spammed by PR agencies multiple times over just two days.

    The sad part is most PR people don’t seem to listen, care, or even read blogs for that matter. The day after I posted the article I was spammed three times. Twice by the same PR “pro”, the second of which was AFTER I sent her a link to the article above. Go figure…

    Oliver
    http://owstarr.com

ABOUT ME

Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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