It’s not uncommon for me to receive hate mail from social media purists when I relate blogger relations to traditional media relations. This may stem from the stigma attached to public relations as sleazy spin doctors who do or say anything to get into print or on air. Truth be told, however, public relations practitioners value reputation and true long-term relationship-building with bloggers and journalists. And you might ask why?
The answer is simple really. Blogging is the new media. Study upon study tells the same story — people trust bloggers more than traditional journalists or television’s talking heads. Those same studies also tell us bloggers tend to get facts right more often than not, and have held traditional media’s proverbial feet to the fire about accurately reporting news.
Besides being more accurate than traditional media, bloggers connect with people far more intimately than mainstream journalists and build tremendous trust. From this bloggers are more capable of build larger, loyal and highly engaged audiences — groups of people that, for whatever reason, can be marshaled to calls of action when public relations professionals build strong and mutually beneficial relationships with bloggers leading those tribes.
In past blog posts, I’ve written about some of the boneheaded stunts we can pull to blow any chance at relationships with bloggers, and just the other day I gave no-nonsense advice on blogger relations.
What’s interesting about being intensional about blogger relations are the benefits companies reap both online and off. From better back linking to building a active, engaged tribe of bloggers and their audience passionate about your brad or cause — those are but two obvious benefits. But how to you get these?
Great question. Here’s how.
Rules of Blogger Relations
- Never lie, falsify, misrepresent, mislead, purposefully distort or willfully destroy your trustworthiness with bloggers. Credibility trumps everything.
- Never underestimate bloggers. Simple ideas told well get attention. Leave the stunts and celebrity endorsements at home.
- Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you don’t. Blogger relations is more fickle than media relations.
- Don’t say anything you don’t want a blogger to publish. They don’t have an “off-the-record” clause. Anything you say to a blogger can and will be used in the court of public opinion.
- Always have someone check your work. Errors destroy credibility.
- Never imply guilt buy saying “no comment” when a bloggers returns a question.
- All messages are boring unless you influence them. We live by this proverb: “Don’t interrupt what interests bloggers, but be what interests them.”
- Return emails and phone calls quickly.
- Never overestimate a blogger’s knowledge. Be ready to explain, clearly and patiently, you story. Have fact sheets on hand and ready to deploy.
- Consume the posts of a blogger. Digest their tweets. Chow on all forms of content they produce. Know their stuff better than they do.
- Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent. (Did you know Hebrew scholars repeated words or phrases to highlight emphasis to the reader).
- Never get into a pissing contest with someone who buys gigabytes by the server. You can’t win a fight with a blogger that controls the message.
There are several other places you can read about quality media relations. My favorite id Mr. Media Training. I’ve taken his insights and applied them to blogger relations with outstanding results. The one caveat that comes with bloggers is that they can be more needy than traditional journalists, but many are just as curious as the rest of us, so it’s always my pleasure (as it should be yours) to accommodate them.
Let’s Talk Twitter Chat with #AtomicChat
I will be the guest speaker on #AtomicChat, Monday 9 pm EST, 8 pm CST, 6pm PST and we’ll be talking about blogger relations and outreach, so if anyone wants to learn more they can hop over to discuss. I will have a follow up to give you the skinny in a day or two.