Speaking with my PR hat on, engaging with bloggers is no easy task. A simple e-mail is no longer a simple e-mail, it is baring your client’s soul to an unsuspecting writer who may choose to ridicule you, your company, or the guys you’re getting in contact on behalf of.
Bloggers are savvy – if you send them an e-mail, they’re going to want something (not just content) in return, initially anyway. That could be a free product, access to information, exclusivity on any number of things, as long as it’s giving them something in return for perhaps writing about your product.
We’re at a point of critical mass in digital PR, and I think that momentum is getting quicker. Communication between bloggers and PRs is going to explode, and it’s going to get messy.
How can PRs, in particular those dealing with the blogosphere, provide something new and shift conversation away from “what am I getting” to “wow that’s awesome let’s chat”.
I don’t think (hopefully) at Edelman we’re doing too much wrong – we’re straight up about who we are, we’re clear with what it is that we’d like to share, and unless you ask us to, we won’t send you another e-mail.
We specifically target the guys we want to engage with because their content and interests are relevant, and we genuinely have faith that the e-mail we’re sending will have something that they might like to be a part of. We don’t send a press release, and we do read your blog and take the time to understand what makes you tick (cheers for typo spot! @litmanlive).
Now unfortunately, not all our clients can promise to whisk you away for a week to a hot sunny destination, but on the other hand, they are providing you with something.
At Edelman we insist that if a blogger chooses to write about something we’ve sent them, that they say so in their blog post or tweet – why? – because it offers an honesty and integrity to the blogger and their readers, that sometimes goes amiss.
I can understand that the top bloggers get annoyed as soon as they receive an e-mail from a PR in their inbox – I do too as my colleagues will attest – but, a few dodgy pitches does not a bad industry make, and it is frustrating on my part to be tarnished with the PR spammer brush when I insist on being nothing of the sort.
So I want you to tell me, what else can Digital PRs offer, apart from honesty, content and possibly a free sample? We’re listening and learning all the time, but we can only do that if you’re looking to be a part of that experience, and we want you to be involved, right from the start.
I laid out my pitch process here – where do you think it falls down?