How Bloggers, PR and Marketers Can Work Together
I recently attended Bloggy Boot Camp Philadelphia and they had a session about helping bloggers engage with PR professionals in this changing online landscape. I thought the info from this session would be helpful for folks looking to use GigCoin to connect with brands creatively. I’m a blogger and a 20-year PR veteran who has worked with bloggers, so I listened in at the event, live tweeted and added a few points.
- Julie Meyers Pron (@justprecious former PR exec, now SAHM) made a VERY useful distinction: traditionally, a PR person’s job is to get FREE publicity or coverage/stories; it is most often the Advertising or Marketing folks who handle BUYING ad space, sponsorships, giveaways and things that require budget.
- I joined in the convo here noting, “In this new digital landscape, marketing & PR people’s roles are changing and merging, until you ask, you don’t know what their role is.” Julie agreed – saying that it’s best to be open ended when talking with Marketing/PR folks – something along the lines of “I’m looking find out how your company works with bloggers, who is the best person to talk with about that is?” and go from there.
- Another point Julie emphasized was that PR folks & bloggers need to make their pitches to each other relevant – be sure that your blog’s topic and demographics match that of a brand who wants to work with you, or a brand you want to work with.
- This should be obvious, but people take short cuts, make assumptions – it happens. My blogger/PR tips: on both sides – do your research, know the brand/read the blog – seek a match; don’t send same pitch to whole list of bloggers or list of PR emails. Build relationships, not fill each other’s spam folders.
- Kelly Whalen another speaker (@centsiblelife) noted we should “treat everyone as if they are good people, even if the pitch isn’t a mach; you never know where is could lead.” Being friendly is a better choice than acting insulted (as she, and I, have seen happen with other bloggers & with PR folks) if someone pitches something that ISN’T relevant. You never know who they know or work with. My example: instead of “No, I don’t cover teen stuff,” try, “I don’t think your teen board game is a match for my blog & audience, but if you know someone who handles product reviews for toddlers, I’d be glad to send my blog PR/marketing package? And here’s a link to a sample post showing what I do.”
- Kelly also made another great point – that brands ARE looking for creative ways to work together, and that we are all new to this online game. They don’t have all the answers, and might be glad to hear your out of the box idea. If they don’t have an answer, be prepared with an idea, “Okay, here’s an idea I had, what do you think?” Julie added, PR and Marketing people love proposals, they don’t have all the answers…”here’s how I think we can work together” is a great start.
- Kelly also talked about “knowing your value,” your blog is work, so value it. Also think about what your goals are: are you trying to create a small business, part time income, build community and connections or what.
- Shannon Ott, the third speaker (@PhilaburbanMom), talked about working with local PR/brands. She suggests bloggers move beyond the stats and understand influence, reach and engagement. That sometimes a smaller, more engaged audience can be more powerful locally than a much larger but less-connected audience.
- Shannon also talked about working with small companies that may not have an official PR or marketing person. If there’s a fit – consider being a brand ambassador.
Here are links to posts on both sides of the “bloggers PR/marketing folks learning to work together in this new digital landscape” topic, plus a link to the Blogger/PR presentation from BloggyBootCamp:
- PR & Bloggers presentation from BloggyBootCamp: http://www.justcentsible.com/2010/09/22/pr-and-blogging-from-bloggy-boot-camp/ or http://bit.ly/bJ0Nv2.
- Danny Brown (@DannyBrown), one of my favorite PR people just posted an article on a great blogger pitch he received: http://dannybrown.me/2010/09/23/alexandra-kirsch-perfect-blogger-pitch/.
- Danny referenced a post by Gini Dietrich (@ginideitrich) a PR pro who’s work I respect. Gini talks about PR people kind of needing to grow up in their attitude toward bloggers: http://www.spinsucks.com/communication/pr-pros-stop-treating-bloggers-like-second-class-media/
Disclosure: Cathy Larkin, http://WebSavvyPR.com (@CathyWebSavvyPR on Twitter) I received a discounted ticket to #BloggyBootCamp Philly in return for live tweeting at the event. I am also a paid blogger for GigCoin. I only write about/cover events and products that I believe in, and any payment received did not affect the content of my post.