23 Jan 2009

PR Collision advisory

Author: will | Filed under: 2009, blogger, blogging, conference, network, news, social change, social media, word of mouth

So the PR / Bloggers conference took place in Edelman PR. And I’ve seen Alastair McDermott blog post on how a PR pitch should be a social exchange, Rick O’Shea blog on the difference between his media head and his blogger head when approached, Peter Donegan on how blogging is about passion and why you need to be careful with passion. Eoin Kennedy gives a nice concise summary of the event, Christian Hughes’ is even shorter and different, while future PR star Thomas Brunkard gives a different account of the night.

Much thanks need to be given to Damien Mulley and Edelman PR Dublin for orginasing the night, and to Donnchadh O’Leary, Piaras Kelly and Alexia Golez who blogged on how its better to learn about bloggers by trying it out for yourself. In fact most of this post began life as a comment on her blog (so sorry if you’ve read it before).

The unasked advice I would give to PR people is:

Think of bloggers in the same way a journalist thinks of contacts. This contact is the go-to girl for tech related matters. This contact is the go-to guy for music.
That type of thing.

While forming a media list may be “monkey work”, a targeted media / house list is worth its PR weight in gold.

Remember : For us its a hobby, not a job. Few bloggers want to become journalists, those that do already are journalists in their day job.

The professional media expect to be contacted with something thy are not interested in. Some spent their careers writing about stuff they aren’t interested in.

Bloggers have the freedom to write about what interests us. Its “our view”.

Things that may help both sides.
1) Introduce yourself and ASK.

If we bloggers were looking for a contact in X then chances are we would tweet it first and see what happens.

Of course we are following a lot of conversations.
Join in.
Babble.
I’d suggest you mention Collision Course in your first tweet before you “follow” anyone. Most (all) of us look to see “who is this person following me”. Of the 15 there on the night, I think most of us will follow back.
Just let us know who you are first.

Then ask…

E.g.
Would anyone like to go to the launch of the new Orange Tea Box on Tuesday at 8pm.
Or
Could you suggest any bloggers interested in Orange Tea
(I hope that there isn’t an Orange Tea at this point)

You’ll get a few time wasters, but not too many. And you might get a good contact for that one.

But joining Twitter and just tweeting without following anyone will not get noticed. Look up “Network Effect” to see why twitter seems to work.

Get to know twitter clients (software applications) and search.twitter.com.

By the way, Bloggers aren’t looking for freebies. Most are looking for information. If blogger X writes about Tea, they will want to know all about Orange Tea. No freebies needed (unless you count images they can used and information as a freebie).

On that note, if you find that a blogger has blogged about Red tea, see if (s)he has contact details on their blog ans ask, if the blogger would be interested in the forthcoming Orange Tea. No press release, no clips.
Just your details, and why you’re mailing them.

It doesn’t smell like spam, because it isn’t. They may e-mail back abuse, they might accept.

Time consuming. Yes. Cost high.
Potential rewards, higher.

2) Don’t spam…
If you got someone for Orange Tea, they may be interested in Yellow Coffee.
ASK.
But that does not mean they want to be contacted for Blue Cars.
The Blue Cars mail would look like spam. A mail with “I see you were interested in Tea, could I interest you in coffee” wouldn’t. (It does sound automated, but you get my point).
Besides, you’re asking.
You’ve formed a relationship with the blogger, don’t destroy it really quickly.

However…
If you have formed a relationship, asking if they know someone interested in Blue Cars isn’t that spammy. Bloggers tend not to hoard information, if we did, we wouldn’t blog.
I’ve passed on info to people I know who blog about stuff (or are just friends interested in things).

But ask.

3) Read Blogs.
If you invite bloggers to do something, you should have read their blogs first.

Read other blogs. I know, long and boring work but look at what you are interested in only (at first). There are blogs about everything under the sun (and a few things that aren’t). Blogs on Make up. Blogs on Man U. Blogs on cars. Blogs on caravans. Blogs on rashers.

Blogs on PR.

Look at things. Get to know a feed reader.
This is a slow step. If you need a hand to hold, see step 1 to find one.

4) Audio blogs / podcasts
Listen to how others have done it.
F.I.R (For immediate Release, the Hobson and Holtz Report) is the big daddy in this arena. It’s also 90 mins long and twice a week.

For lighter listening, I’d suggest
Media driving” or “Marketing Over Coffee
Yes their focus is different, but they are short. Media Driving is 10 mins, Marketing over Coffee is rarely 30 mins. And only once a week. Think commute times.

They suggest others to listen to as well.

5) Join in.

You might be happy with twitter/facebook/linkedin/justsomerandomsite but by blogging (maybe blogging on PR/Shoes/Cars/Tea) you’ll see why.
For us its a hobby, not a job.
It’s called passion.

Do it yourself. If you can, say what you are working on. If not, blog on what you care about.

And finally…

The Irish blogging community is, surprisingly, a community.
I don’t know anyone who would visit me in hospital via blogs; but its happened (remembering tweets and people dropping food parcels off to people stuck on Casualty trolleys). Wandering up to a random person in a community centre and pitching to them is, well, silly.
Remember that when you want to talk to us.

Its better to ask for permission as a backlash is too late to ask for forgiveness (examples were given in the meeting).

Once we get to know you, we’ll let you screw up.

take care,

Will Knott

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5 Responses to “PR Collision advisory”

  1. Thomas Geraghty Says:

    Very good post Will, I like the bit about blogging being a hobby, not a job. As soon as you feel blogging is a responsibility rather than just for fun, you should take yourself back to why you started in the first place. I stopped blogging regulary around September because with lack of time, it would become a burdun rather than a way to vent off my excess creativity.
    I need all my excess creativity in order to find more excuses not to do work these days. In case you wondered

  2. Thomas Brunkard Says:

    If I was ever a PR star it would mean I was doing my job wrong!

    Thanks for the link Will. May all your Christmases be white.

  3. Collision Course I from Mulley Communications | Developing eWrite Says:

    [...] PR Collision advisory [...]

  4. Will Says:

    TG, just do the work. Its easier that way.

    TB, no, if you do it right, you gain a reputation in a very small community. My superstars are not necessarily the same as yours

  5. WillKnott.ie » Blog Archive » Flick the Switch Says:

    [...] I discovered was, following the Collision Course, that Bord Gáis decided to talk to bloggers. I’m not too sure why (and I don’t think [...]

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