It was a strange but wonderful experience being at the London Bloggers Meet Up on Tuesday. It was wonderful, because as a blogger, it gave me the opportunity to speak with like minded people about ‘stuff’. Blogging, Twitter, other social media related topics – it was the perfect opportunity to meet tweeps that i’ve been following and to get to know them, as well as meeting people who are now tweeps I follow.
It is the ‘weird’ side of this that I want to explore further. A conversation with Andy Bargery (LBM planner and all round nice chap) got me thinking. I’d asked Andy about his perception of the ratio of PRs to bloggers at the meet up and their behaviour – he said that it was lower than i’d imagine, and on the whole those PRs who did attend were more interested in talking with people than pushing products. Big thumbs up.
It is all too easy to slip into the mode of PR – you’re at a bloggers meet up, you talk to the bloggers, you wax lyrical about clients and you try and get coverage. Very simple. There’s your target, that’s the goal, this is what you want the outcome to be.
What do you do though, if you’re part of the blogging community, or consider yourself to be, but are a PR from 9-5:30?
I think, and please correct me if i’m wrong, it’s actually very simple to not get “confused” in these situations.
Firstly, the clue is in the title: BLOGGER MEET UP. If you are going in as a PR to sell your clients, you are going to get flamed pretty quickly.
Secondly, do you really want to carry on your day job when the final whistle blows?
I would position myself as a blogger who does PR. You may of course think ‘well you would say that’, and that’s fair enough, but I would argue that my reason for attending the meet up was to meet other bloggers and get different opinions on platforms, styles and to share stories of frankly awful pitches (sex blogs?).
I made anyone who wanted know, aware that I did PR, and I hope that it was not an issue that stuck in their minds for too long: “He’s only here to pitch to me”.
It’s bad etiquette to pitch a client at these events – it’s a professional matter, so keep the pitch to an e-mail, if you must pitch.
These events are not about which clients you work for and getting what you want written, to get written. They are about building long lasting relationships, sharing ideas, knowledge and making each other aware of stuff that is tucked away on the farthest corners of the cultural sphere in to which we have stumbled.