Bloggers are the “big it” right now and just about everyone wants a piece of them and front of the queue are PRs
Why? Because bloggers provide the potential to reach audiences other media can not. Many people are becoming harder to reach because they no longer read a newspaper every day, we may also fail to consume other mainstream media in the old patterns which used to be well understood.
If a blogger can be persuaded to become a conduit for PR messages, then this message stands a good chance of spreading. Add in retweets and link sharing on social media and the message can potentially flow into a huge hinterland previously untapped and it all sounds like a very good idea indeed.
The problem is that in many cases neither side really “gets” the other. PRs are frequently guilty of cutting and pasting a list of Britain’s top bloggers in the relevant sector into their to do list before hitting them en masse with a press release and expecting the blogger to be grateful.
But of course, the majority of bloggers don’t blog in order to please third parties, they do it because they feel compelled to write, because they love their subject or because they feel the need to share. They might be persuaded to blog about a product in the right circumstances but that is not why they are there.
At this stage I must point out that I work in PR but I blog as well so I can see both sides and having spent time talking to bloggers about the subject I have begun to wonder whether PRs shouldn’t just leave bloggers alone.
But of course things are not as simple as that.
Sometimes the marriage between blogger and PR message can be very good indeed. If I were a blogger who talked about how to make life easier for mums with small children then a product review for something which did just that would be great. But I would not expect to be told what to say and I would want to see the product I was reviewing – in most cases I would expect to keep it too.
Bloggers want something in return and content is not enough. That is the message I have been getting loud and clear. One thing that’s easy to forget is that journalists get paid by the publication they write for, bloggers do not.
So treat bloggers with care and respect. Read what they write before you hit them up, make them a good offer and don’t fall off your chair if they turn you down.