After delivering a couple of lectures on blogger relations I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the key differences when contacting bloggers as part of a PR campaign. I have several friends who are influential bloggers and say that there are a lot of people still getting it wrong.
Here are my top three tips for blogger relations’ campaigns, yes similar to traditional media relations but some distinct differences:
1. Remember bloggers do not have to write, they do not have a number of pages to fill or deadlines to meet. If they don’t want to write strictly speaking they don’t have to.
2. Know the content and what they write about, do some research before you approach a blogger. Collate all your information in a spreadsheet so you can use it in future campaigns. Remember to update your research regularly though.
3. Dont underestimate the influence of bloggers, in many consumer fields bloggers are key to reaching a particular audience. There are a few key indicators of how big a bloggers audience is: look at the number of comments/shares on each post, the number of followers, or stats from alexa.com can also be quite useful.
Hopefully these three tips shouldn’t see you far wrong.
A client said to me in a meeting the other day: “I am a strong believer that there is no such thing as bad PR, right?” Well that’s not strictly true was my reply. And here’s why:
Bad PR has no real strategy or plan and no real purpose, it doesn’t build a consistent image or reputation of a company or its products/services.
It is reactionary in nature and sends out a press release just because one hasn’t been sent out in a while or to merely justify a monthly retainer fee. Nor does it follow up to see if the company is utilising PR efforts to support its sales team or provide new content for its website.
Anyone could write a press release and for some companies with limited budgets, it is the only option but sending out bad PR is in my opinion a waste of money. Poorly written press releases, pointless case studies and articles packed with blatant sales messages do nothing for the reputation of the company.
Interestingly I am talking to a group of third year students at MMU today about reputation management in particular via online PR.
So my question is: Is it better to have no image rather than a bad one?
Ironic isn’t it? I spend most of my time preaching to clients about the importance of writing regular blog posts and keeping it as up to date as possible, and here we are – only my second post of 2012. In truth it’s due to the fact that I have been so busy working hard on PR and social media projects as well as lecturing at MMU and the University of Chester rather than a lack of content.
However, it just goes to prove the point that a good blogging strategy needs to be planned well in advance as well as having flexibility to respond to current trends. So here are my top tips for blogging success:
- Create an editorial calendar: It’s always to best to plan ahead and in the majority of cases blogging is going to come second to your actual day job. Before you start, pull together about six months’ worth of content ideas for blog posts and put them into an editorial calendar (i.e. when you are going to write and post them). That way if there is nothing topical happening then you will always have something great to write about.
- Brainstorm content ideas: Get together as many people within your business as you can, everyone brings a different perspective and the best blogs are those that make you think differently about a subject. A few basic ideas for blogs could be new legislation, research on your particular industry, trends that your salesforce has noticed, topical debate or even common customer questions.
- Appoint a blog editor: Sounds like a grand title but it’s simply someone who has overall responsibility to ensure that there are regular blog posts added. It is always worth making this person responsible for editing individual blogs, especially if you are having different writers to make sure there is a consistent overall tone.
- Promote your blog: Ensuring regular content is just half the battle, a successful blog hinges on getting regular readers. Therefore, it is important to promote your blog as much as you possibly can, promote individual posts across all your social media platforms, on e-newsletters and even on email signatures.
- Remain flexible: While I’ve concentrated on the importance of planning ahead, it is also important to be flexible and respond to topical subjects as and when they arise. This will keep your blog fresh and ensure readers come back regularly.
There you go – it is now my pledge to follow my own advice to the letter and blog regularly.
Happy blogging, if you have any tips please feel free to comment below.
As part of the University of Chester’s Public Relations employer group, I have continued my support of PR’s future stars with an address to third year students that aimed to enhance the undergraduates’ employment prospects by providing a glimpse into industry requirements.
Forming part of a final year skills module centred around integrated communication campaigns, the lecture focused on the application of theoretical knowledge within a practical context. Aiming to engage the students in a wider discussion on the importance of creating a technical edge in the PR industry, I provided an invaluable taster as to what daily life in an integrated agency entails.
Susan Kinnear, senior lecturer and programme leader, University of Chester, commented: “While we are keen to emphasise a strong critical awareness within the graduate programme, advice from on-the-job professionals offers students invaluable insight into the real-life operations of contemporary PR and marketing agencies. Using practical exercises to demonstrate the relevant skills required by employers, Dee provided invaluable tips on securing that all important first job.”
As it is coming up to the time when undergraduates are trying to get that all important jobs I wondered if people would be interested in sharing any advice here?
It is my aim to use this blog to promote my services as a freelance B2B PR professional and copywriter. Just starting out as a freelancer I am sure it will include the highs and lows of being my own boss. But most importantly I hope to create an online portfolio that keeps everyone up to date with the clients I am working with and the projects I have completed.
My key objective of setting up on my own is to provide a cost effective, flexible and results driven service for B2B clients and provide extra support when required to PR agencies.
Finally, I will give my personal views on industry news and events/conferences that I have attended.