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Gini Dietrich

The Key to Starting a Blogger Outreach Program

By: Gini Dietrich | August 25, 2011 | 
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I’m going to be frank. Between two speaking engagements, an earthquake, an airport evacuation, sitting on the tarmac for three hours, and missing my bike ride two days in a row, I’m grouchy, tired, and I look like poop.

So instead of Facebook question of the week (clap, clap, clap or long whistle as John Trader does), I’m going to post the video I did with Steve Farnsworth in Baltimore a couple of months ago.

We talk about the key to starting a successful blogger outreach campaign. It’s not very long, but you’ll notice after he does his fancy ending, there are still a few seconds left on the video. I won’t tell you why – you’ll have to watch for yourself. But let’s just say that Steve, Adam Singer, and Valeria Maltoni were all making fun of me and it was difficult to stay professional as long as I did.

Also, the look on my face in the video still is so much my mother it’s kind of scary. I look just like her here. Just. Like. Her. Not that I don’t love my momma. I do. I just didn’t realize I can give her looks.

So, learn the key to blogger outreach and make fun of me at the end.

And think of a question for me to use in a video in a coming week. Just head over to Facebook and leave it on the wall there.

Then come back here and tell us what you think the key is to blogger relations. Or leave a comment and then go to Facebook. Or don’t leave a comment but go to Facebook. Or leave a comment and don’t go to Facebook. Nah. I like the comment and Facebook option best.

P.S. If you can’t see the video in your Reader, click here and it’ll magically appear.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

122 comments
LisaMarieMary
LisaMarieMary

I'm really pretty sure you could NEVER look like poop...or anything close to it. Ok, scrolling back up to watch the vid. Just had to get that off my chest! ;-)

Tinu
Tinu

That was classic, at the end there. Classic.

I think the best way to do blogger outreach is just what you said - but instead of trying to simulate the one to one experience, you actually have to create it. There's just no substitute. Of course, you can't exactly Xerox yourself and reach thousands of bloggers at one time BUT there are ways to have an intimate and real experience. The last really big blogger outreach project I worked on was with a PR company that didn't want to do the typical news release blast, and from that I learned that the time often spent attempting to make technology simulate a relationship is better spent actually having one. :)

Shelley Pringle
Shelley Pringle

I just read this on Mitch Joel's blog. The National Post reported the following: "Quebec's Culture Minister, Christine St-Pierre, announced this week that she is pushing forward with a plan to create 'a new model of regulation of Quebec media.'... Key to the plan would be legislation establishing the 'status of professional journalist' in order to distinguish those committed to 'serving the public interest' from 'amateur bloggers.' That seems absolutely unbelievable to me. Expecting a backlash. Here's the link if you want to read Mitch's post: http://www.twistimage.com/blog/

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

You do know you can edit the YouTube window settings so you get a nice widescreen box going across the whole content area, yes? ;-)

Apart from that, jolly good stuff - carry on!

jidoctor
jidoctor

@Steveology or "Tweeter's Anonymous"? Hi, I'm JIDoctor & I have been tweeting since.... of course all responses in <140 char

jidoctor
jidoctor

@Steveology maybe the blogger outreach prog should be more of a "Blogger's Anonymous"? ;-) Hi, I'm Jennifer & I have been blogging for ...

ElanaBe
ElanaBe

@KDillabough: Hey, I run too (along with a lot of the universe!)...Where's your fave place to run? Music or nature?

EmmaofCEM
EmmaofCEM

Are there REALLY still people out there dismissing the effectiveness of bloggers on the media? Really? SERIOUSLY? I just.... I need a cocktail.

NancyD68
NancyD68

You seem to have an unhealthy obsession with poop. I am very concerned about this. You worry me. You really worry me.

Erin F.
Erin F.

I think part of the problem with blogger relations is a perception or credibility issue, too. Bloggers sometimes aren't taken quite as seriously as their journalism or other writing counterparts. It's unfortunate since many bloggers (in my opinion) are better writers and analysts than some journalists.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Tinu Funny how that works, huh? We all want short cuts, but the fact remains, we're building relationships with human beings and no amount of technology can change that.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Shelley Pringle Oh jeez. What a terrible disservice. Weren't we JUST talking about leaving the past behind and forging a new future?

Erin F.
Erin F.

@Shelley Pringle Ouch...and people wonder why writers are disenfranchised.

Thanks for the link. I'm going to have to read it, either later this evening or tomorrow.

KDillabough
KDillabough

@ElanaBe Love to run on trails, in quiet neighbourhoods, completely unplugged & enjoying the scenery. You, my fellow Canuck? Now following

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@Erin F. The democratization of the internet and low barriers of entry into the world of digital publishing has flooded the space with lots of low-level hacks who've been given a voice. Sad but true.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Erin F. I agree. And there is a big disconnect between PR pros and bloggers and the roles each other plays. There are plenty of bloggers who think they should be paid by PR pros. I say that's like church and state.

ElanaBe
ElanaBe

@KDillabough: That sounds really nice! I usually run w/music along the ocean/beach. On low days, no music - just ocean : ) : )

KenMueller
KenMueller

@Erin F.@jasonkonopinski Perhaps, but have you read the NY Times lately, or any newspaper for that matter? The Times is supposed to be the pinnacle of journalism and yet it is incredibly poorly edited.

I think the best option is to choose not to read what you don't want to read. If that were the case, none of us would read the Lord of the Rings, which many editors have said is very poorly written and edited. not to mention Emma or Wuthering Heights, yet they are deemed classics.

I want to be my own gatekeeper and determine which friends I will let help me along the way. Bad stuff has always been out there, it's just more readily available here on the Internet. In the same way that quality material is much more readily available.

Plus with blogging, we all make mistakes. But we're writing in our own voice, which is what you want.

Erin F.
Erin F.

@KenMueller@jasonkonopinski Maybe that is what we want, but the editor in me has a conniption fit when she sees shoddy work. I'm as bad as that xkcd comic in which the character refuses to go to bed because someone is wrong on the internet. I can choose not to read the content and not to visit the blog again, but that content remains, and it's influencing somebody. It's part of the reason the problems with perceptions continue to exist. If every blogger wrote high-quality content, bloggers would receive more respect and consideration.

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@Erin F. Not snobbery, not elitism - but simply having high standards of excellence for what content you consume. It's part of the reason that I've often said that 'if you can't be arsed to copyedit your content, I can't be arsed to read it.' :)

KenMueller
KenMueller

@jasonkonopinski@Erin F. I would say that's a good thing, and it's what we want. I would prefer to make decisions for myself about what I consume, whether it be blogs, books, news, music, than have gatekeepers tell me what to consume, which is what happens with newspapers and news media (speaking as a former journalist who made those decisions for people on a daily basis).

I now can sift through and find stuff that I like, have more at my disposal, and can turn to my friends and other trusted individuals for their opinions. That's how I found this blog and many of the others that I read.

To use the music analogy, when it comes to finding great music, I think we need more democratization. I'd rather know that I'm missing out on something good just because I haven't found it yet, rather than missing out on it because it's not available. And I can choose which online publications I read, based on my musical tastes, and who I trust, to guide me, as well as find stuff on my own and via friends. And I now have access to more really good music than ever before. We find ways of cutting thru the crap on our own. For those that don't want to, that's up to them. They can take what is fed to them via various gatekeepers. Which is why commercial radio is such a mess.

Erin F.
Erin F.

@jasonkonopinski If that's the case, I'm an elitist, too. I made a comment about how I was a writing snob the other day.

jasonkonopinski
jasonkonopinski

@Erin F. I know I sound like a cultural elitist when I say things like that, but it's the truth. Too much chaff.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@Erin F.@ginidietrich It ties back into the flooding of of the marketplace. With such a low barrier to entry there are a lot of people who are ignorant, incompetent and or unprofessional.

It creates lots of issues. I have been pitched to run contests that would take hours of work to create and manage.

It wouldn't be such a big deal, but the compensation hasn't been up to speed. Examples include a $10 gift card, links and a promise of a discount on future purchases.

I am not an intern so I don't work for free and I am not stupid so I don't work for free. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who are not smart enough to recognize when they are working for pennies or free.

Erin F.
Erin F.

@TheJackB@ginidietrich That's a good point. It's information I will have to tuck away and remember if the situation ever arises. I guess it works the same as any other business dealings - make sure that everyone knows what the expectations are and how and when they're supposed to achieve them and have something in writing.

TheJackB
TheJackB

@ginidietrich@Erin F. It is a question of what the blogger is being asked to do. If you are asking to use my blog as an advertising platform than I am probably going to expect some form of compensation.

Erin F.
Erin F.

@ginidietrich

Ah, that makes sense. Thank you for answering my question.

I guess I've avoided that problem. I don't usually review products on my blog, except for the Robostir, and I only wrote that one because I thought the commercial was ridiculous. I do write book reviews, but they're usually for poetry journals. The rules are a little different in that case because poetry journals typically have no money. The only payment is getting to keep the book that I reviewed and possibly receiving an upcoming issue of the journal.

KenMueller
KenMueller

@ginidietrich@Erin F. Bloggers SHOULD be treated the way reporters are. There should always be the avoidance of even the perception that the blogger was paid. That's why the FTC requires us to disclose freebies. It should have always been that way, but companies have learned how to use those bloggers who don't care and just want free stuff.

I think from both the viewpoint of many bloggers and companies, there is a difference between them and journalists, and while they might not pay a journalist (though many try and succeed), they think it's ok to do with a blogger. The same is true with many "lifestyle" types of magazines.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Erin F. Payment could be product, for instance. I get a TON of free books, but I never ask for them. In fact, if I like the book and review it, I always buy a few copies because I think that's more ethical. And I disclose that I got the book for free. But, in some circles, bloggers are paid actual money for reviews (apps, for instance). I don't think it's ethical, but it's how it works.

Erin F.
Erin F.

@ginidietrich How would that work exactly? I guess I don't understand what the basis of a PR pro and a blogger relationship would be. I understand that blogging can be a component of PR, but it seems that that blog would be tied to a particular effort or subject matter. It wouldn't be enough for a blogger to say, "Oh, hi, I wrote this post about your product, and I think you should pay me to write about the product more often."

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