What PRs really think of bloggers
|27/06/2012||Posted by Chris Lee under Blog, Blogging|
Some of you may have read my recent post Bloggers’ advice for PRs. In the interest of balance, I thought I’d check how PRs felt about bloggers. Many thanks to those who took part in the survey; it was very finger in the air but thanks to those who took the time to leave comments.
How to rate blogger influence
Bloggers are an interesting topic. I’ve spearheaded several blogger relations campaigns and, as a PR, it really is a tight balancing act in the world of the new “influencer”. The survey findings suggest that we as PRs define an “influential” blog as being a sum of these parts: high traffic, high social media following and presence, solid page authority and backlinks, generates high number of comments/shares, wider media visibility, quality of writing/subbing/content.
While a few bloggers in each category can genuinely claim to be “influential” if we go by the above, there are a huge number who really don’t. A third of respondents reported having an uncomfortable experience with a blogger which they did not deem influential but still caused embarrassment for their client.
This prompted this response from one participant: “Be selective. Just because they are bloggers doesn’t mean they are minor deities. As in any field some of them are not actually that ethical, some are looking for freebies alone and are quite blatant about it.”
Why do PRs engage with bloggers?
For PRs – perhaps unsurprisingly – coverage is the key objective of blogger relations with very few seeing link building through PR as a key objective. Interestingly, just 12.5% of respondents actually used a paid for services, such as Gorkana or Cision, to identify bloggers. The rest just do their own online search, which isn’t a great endorsement for media list suppliers and correlates with the findings of my blogger survey, in which just 20 per cent had contacted a media list service to have their blog listed.
One respondent wrote: “Find out about them first. Most services are crap at giving you info. You’re better looking at their social spaces to see what’s behind what they do.”
Interestingly though, a quarter of PRs think it’s fine to ask a blogger not to disclose its relationship with their client in their posts. Again, this correlates with the 12 per cent of bloggers who told me that they had experienced PRs asking them to hide the fact that they had offered their product or service for review. Perhaps due to the novel nature of blogger relations or because it is that much more complex an operation, two thirds of PR respondents said they prefer dealing with journalists over bloggers.
Thanks to the people who left comments on blogger relations best practice. Here are the pick of those comments and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section:
- Build a relationship first, it’s the most important part of it all. Stroke their ego.
- Research. Don’t believe them when they say they have half a million hits and then ask for a free all expenses paid trip to the USA. Become involved with bloggers that you rate – I’m now good friends with several in the fashion world. Take time to get to know them.
- Tread carefully. There is a ‘right’ way of approaching bloggers and whether you want a quick coverage hit or are looking to build a long-term relationship, you have to adhere to that.
- Read the blog you’re targeting first.
- Can I give advice to bloggers? Please, please spell check and fact check as it does not help us internally trying to raise the profile of working with bloggers when there is no proof-reading/copy checking.
- READ THE BLOG FIRST AND BE PERSONAL IN YOUR APPROACH
- Research blogs before making contact. Bloggers love a freebie. In the early stages of the relationship, take them for meals and give them free stuff.
- Don’t treat bloggers like journalists. They won’t always abide by journalists’ conventions and e.g. you could find your background briefing quoted verbatim.
- They tend to write a blog in their spare time and you need to consider that when talking to them – they’re not journalists who have to submit X amount of stories each day – they need to find the time and you might not be top of their priority list. So be nice and not too pushy.
- Recognise that often a blog is their own musings – you can’t and shouldn’t control this. The value of a blog is that it is impartial and opinionated; trying to shape what the blogger writes is in effect taking away the value of blogging.
- Same as dealing with journalists: play the long game.