Blogger Engagement

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?

11 thoughts on “Blogger Engagement

  1. Matt, this is a brilliant post and I will write something on my blog about engaging with bloggers this week; I’d love to generate a small debate amongst the PR community.

    If a PR send me relevant, good quality content, they’ll probably me a favour; I have a day time job and I welcome exciting, exclusive (key word here!) content! I enjoy being pitched but I also love to moan about bad PR pitches!

    Different bloggers react differently to PR pitches and it’s about time we start to understand what makes them tick…

  2. Totally, and i think that this is the thing that we (as a PR industry) aren’t quite nailing – that each and every blogger responds differently.

    As a blogger, i’m after exactly what you outlined, so how can PRs deliver it beter, and with less of a ‘post this’ attitude and more of a ‘you might want to post, but you don’t have to’ attitude.

    I know what makes me as a blogger tick, and you know what makes you tick – how can we translate that to making sure the PR knows what makes the blogger tick?

  3. It’s something that should definitely be discussed at the next Social Media Camp or similar…

    I know as a matter of fact that Mummy bloggers hate PRs and as previously mentioned we really need to learn how to engage with different groups of bloggers… :)

  4. Blogger engagement is not so much about feeding info or content, but it’s about sharing ideas and content that the blogger themselves can make their own.

    I’d let bloggers think for themselves and respect their independent views on things.

  5. Agree – content needs to be made for the blogger to run with and do as they please, rather than ‘here’s a video embed it on your blog please’!

  6. Pingback: How (not) to pitch to bloggers? « The Seldom Seen Kid

  7. We recently had a food blogger & PR summit to try and get a better understanding of what each party is trying to do (you were actually mentioned as how to handle something well re: starbucks).

    For me, the key things PRs should do when contacting me is to be personable, friendly and completely transparent – e.g. if they’re inviting me to an event and they definitely want me to write about it, I’d prefer to know up front instead of them badgering me to do so afetrwards when I’ve decided not to. Another thing is for them to read the blog – hell, even skim read it. What not to do is to send me two emails asking me to write about an event that I wasn’t invited to… that was held at the Great Barrier Reef.

  8. Hi Matt! I’m happy to see this post as it will surely encourage an important discussion. Lolly above is completely incorrect. Us mom bloggers do not hate PR. What we do hate is being taken advantage of. We hate being lumped together in the masses. We hate feeling like reps feel we have nothing to write about unless we are handed material via PR. We hate 1 sided obligation because we have enough of those tasks in our lives.

    What we love? Being noticed for our individuality. Relationships – deep relationships. Being appreciated. Feeling like our voices matter, because they do. We love conversations. We love a chance to connect.

    If someone is pitching me a product. Yes, there needs to be something in it for me. Because I don’t wake up in the morning thinking ‘man, I wish I had a product to write about today.’ And more importantly my readers don’t wake up thinking that they want to read about a product. In order for a product to catch my attention, it needs to correlate to something else in my life, be it a value, hobby, interest. Something.

  9. H. E Eigler – hate was probably a strong word I used at the time, but having spoken to quite a few UK and US mommy bloggers in recent weeks, relationships between PRs and mums could be a lot better…

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