After all this is fairly new territory for everyone, but I think we can all agree that it is an exciting time and relationships that are worth pursuing.
Here are some of the ideas that came out of the event
How should PR reps contact Bloggers?
The best way for PR reps to get the attention of bloggers is to contact them in a more personal manner. Phone calls can be okay as long as the intention is for relationship building and to present something valuable to the blogger.
If contacting by email, you will get further with the blogger if you personalize it and let them know exactly what it is you want and what you want the blogger to do.
Standard press releases generally don’t work well and often get deleted. The press releases can be great information as long as they are provided a little further down the line after the bloggers know what the experience is going to be and what they need to do.
What types of PR projects do bloggers like the best?
Bloggers are really wanting projects that create an experience for them, and ones that are unique, or can offer the blogger a unique angle to write about.
Bloggers sometimes want exclusivity or would prefer it if you let them know upfront exactly how many other bloggers will be involved in the project.
For me personally, I love those events that offer me an experience I can get passionate about.
As an example, I was invited to a press conference for Tourism Australia’s new campaign a couple of weeks ago. It was at Cafe Sydney, with beautiful views of the Harbour. We had delicious breakfast canapes and coffee. I got to sit with other bloggers who are friends and chat.
We heard the details of the campaign along with many other journalists. I was given the opportunity to chat with Sophie Faulkner, who once held my dream job on the Great Outdoors, and I also sat with Tourism Australia’s CEO Andrew McEvoy for an informal chat. He is such a down to earth person, and I was really impressed by his ideas and friendly nature.
All of this excited me and allowed me to find a unique angle to my post that I ended up writing highlighting the Travel Dream Team campaign.
Had I been sent just the press release of this, I would have hit delete and my opinion would have been I don’t have the time. Instead I travelled an hour an a half to Sydney for a two hour press conference, with a newborn baby for the experience and ended up writing a post.
How do you get on a PR list?
PR reps look at various factors of a blog and its audience. They look at traffic statistics, facebook likes, twitter followers and the engagement and interaction level through the comments on the blog.
They also factor in relevancy. They won’t approach a blogger for a project unless they are relevant to it, which will often trump statistics. So it doesn’t necessarily matter if your stats are low as long as you are relevant. Make sure you are clear with your brand’s message and the type of posts you write so this is evident.
HOT TIP: It is also a great idea for bloggers to contact PR firms directly introducing themselves so that the PR reps know how you are and what you are about. With the huge volume of blogs out there it is hard for the PR reps to find everyone.
What brands do bloggers like to work with?
It was interesting to hear each of our responses and it was evident that we are all very clear with our own brand and message. Who we choose to work with must be in alignment with that.
We all agreed that it is essential that bloggers get their selection process right from the beginning. Only work with brands that you can stand 100% behind. Your readers will know if you are not being authentic to who you are and what you stand for.
Do sponsored posts lose credibility?
This is a topic that is always hotly debated. Some bloggers choose not to do sponsored posts as it does not suit their blog’s purpose or they don’t feel comfortable with them.
The agreement was that sponsored posts don’t lose credibility for the blooger, and bloggers should be granted the opportunity to make money off the time and energy spent blogging, especially when they create so much value for brands.
It is very important that bloggers have a tight selection process when choosing the sponsored posts to write about. They shouldn’t take on anything that is not going to suit their message and voice.
Bloggers generally don’t believe that brands should be allowed to have a say in what they write as this takes away their authenticity which the readers will pick up immediately. It is okay for the brand to suggest changes, especially if it is in regards to facts, and they can provide the relevant links and information they would like included.
Bloggers want to work with the brands to provide the most value in getting the message across but without sacrificing their own voice and ruining their content.
Should Companies be Promoting and Commenting on the Bloggers Work?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
As my good friend Jerry Maguire says,
HELP ME TO HELP YOU
This is something I feel brands need to work more on and it frustrates me when they don’t. Whenever someone talks about your brand you should be out their promoting it. This is a strategy I have used myself to build my authority and brand across the net and my niche. It works.
Whenever a blogger writes something about a company, that company should be promoting it through their social networks and linking to it on their websites.
This is a different voice speaking about their brand. A company’s customer base likes to hear different voices amongst the constant white noise that comes from the companies themselves. The company can say, “Hey this is someone else talking about us, which is validation of what we do.”
This is helping to grow the bloggers readership base which can only help the companies they are talking about.
It is perfectly fine for company or PR reps to comment on the blog posts and engage and foster discussion. We blog to create discussion, which does not always have to be the responsibility of the blogger.
I think these were the most important and relevant points discussed on the night. The road forward for bloggers and brands to work together is looking very promising. These are exciting times.
Here is a cool video wrapping up the evening with great tips!
Many thanks to Brenda Gaddi from Digital Parents for a fantastic evening and for Lucie Snape as the perfect Oprah-esque moderator.
I would personally like to give a special shout out for the crew at Ogilvy PR who have really impressed me with the way they interact with bloggers. Craig and I are very grateful for the work they have done with us and for supporting us in placing us on The Great Crusade (well Craig). Craig spoke very highly of Mitch’s professionalism and help during the two weeks in New Zealand.