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Gini Dietrich

The PR Pro and Blogger Manifesto

By: Gini Dietrich | June 30, 2011 | 
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Yes, it’s Facebook question of the week time, but all you people have failed me. Minus Ryan Cox’s 20,000 questions, not one of you has asked a single question.

Do you feel guilty yet?

Good! Head over there and post a question on our wall. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Awesome! Thank you!

A few weeks ago, I spoke at the Vocus User’s Conference about the PR pro and blogger relationship. Because I sit on both sides of that relationship, it’s pretty easy to say what works and what doesn’t work.

Following is an intro I did about the topic (if you can’t see it in your Reader, click here and it’ll magically appear).

Part of that presentation (and something I developed for the presentation Danny Brown and I did at BlogWorld) was a PR pro and blogger manifesto and many people asked if I would blog it.

So here you go (as a return favor for posting a question on our Facebook wall)!

The PR Pro and Blogger Manifesto

  1. Understand the blogger’s goals. I know we’re all busy and that takes time, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. If you understand what they’re trying to achieve by keeping a blog, the better success you’ll have in working with them.
  2. Understand how PR reports to internal or external clients. Typically they’re given a set of criteria, including how many readers, pageviews, or even what your bounce rate is that they have to report up the chain. If the PR pro asks you for those stats and you don’t want to give them, understand you may be walking away from the opportunity of a freebie (or whatever the PR pro is offering).
  3. Research, research, and research some more. You can start by using Vocus, Burrelles, or Cision to create your database, but PLEASE do not send a mass email and use the unsubscribes to whittle down your list. That is called spam. Use the tools to build your database and then READ the blogs. READ the about pages. READ the comments. You’ll have a better understanding of who or what you’re pitching.
  4. Learn how to say no. If a PR pro approaches you with something you find interesting, but it really won’t fit with your blog, say NO. For heaven’s sakes, you can’t please everyone.
  5. Spam sucks and so do mass emails. I swear if I get one more freaking emailed news release with a note that says, “If you’d like to send a reporter or run this in your events section,” I’ll send flaming bags of poo to that PR pro’s home.
  6. Please understand PR does not control the story; the blogger does. This hasn’t changed, well, ever. You can do everything in your ability to build a relationship with the blogger so they’re more inclined to take your advice, but THEY are in control of the story. Do not rewrite their interview questions, get angry if they don’t like your product, or ask them to take down a blog post or rewrite it just because you don’t like it (unless it’s not factually correct).
  7. PR pro and bloggers, alike, are passionate about their work. Take that into account when you’ve entered a relationship with one another.
  8. Be yourself. No one likes a hand puppet from corporate. Just be yourself. Build a relationship. I know that takes time, but I promise it’s worth it.

I know there are PR pros and bloggers, alike, who read Spin Sucks. What would you add to the manifesto?

Special thanks to Lisa Gerber for her help with the manifesto…it was her idea to begin with.

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.

73 comments
NancyM.
NancyM.

Who said a PR officer's life was easy. It is a delicate balance between achieving the corporate goals, and keeping the bloggers from feeling they are being told what to do or bossed around. I totally agree with the mass e.mail remark. NOBODY should send mass e.mails.

SelfishMom
SelfishMom

What a fantastic post! I will do my best to see that every blogger & pr pro I know reads it.

Lindsay_L_Lewis
Lindsay_L_Lewis

Lots of fantastic comments here to add to an informational and interesting post. As yet another who frequents across the PR - Blogger line to dabble on both sides, there is one thing you may have left out. While others have touched on it, both bloggers and PR people are very connected and influential. Treat both sides with respect - this means answering emails from both sides! In a timely manner. In both the journalist and public relations industries, a week is too long. And if you can't compelte a request, have the courtesy to say so instead of leaving things hanging. As you said above, it's a relationship! Cultivate it.

Leon
Leon

G'Day Gini,

I'm a slow learner, I just found all these beaut little videos on your blog. There was even one about some woman musing over the length of her hair. Imagine that!

Now: to the important business.

I think that you should have a contest to discover how you can ride your bike and blog at the same time. The prize could be something like a three tutorial program on "Hailing a cab on a busy New York street in peak hour on Friday while maintaining Exquisite Understated Elegance"....or

" Learn Scots Gaelic from The Consummate Celt, Danny Brown" ...or

The "How to photograph your children and get your eldest to leave glowing comments on your blog under 176 assumed names" seminar with Marcus Sheridan.

Come to think of it, you could also have a contest to decide the prize. Please tell Lisa G not to worry. It's merely senile decay setting in. It's why I don't charge to talk.

Avagoodweegend

Regards Leon

Tinu
Tinu

Love, love, loved seeing you on video. Do more video. VIDEO. The phrase of the day is GINI ON VIDEO. Wait, there's another reason I'm here... oh yeah!Blogger outreach is my favorite thing to do, though I don't get to do it often. First time I'm seeing a list for both sides of the fence. The key thing the list implies is - treat people with professionalism, respect and dignity. Works out for everyone involved if you do.

It's sad because I get so turned off by blind pitches that I hardly ever say yes to inbound outreach, and it's always some offshoot of the reasons you've listed above. Some company wants to put its hand up my skirt and it's not even the FIRST date yet, never minding whatever date I would do that. But when everyone sees one another as people... it all works out so much better.

NancyD68
NancyD68

I want a longer video!

Anyway, my information was forwarded along to a non-profit and right away the woman hit me up for a donation. I replied " I already donated. I am interested in writing a blog post. Look at all the great posts I write about women's issues"

It has been several emails back and forth, but it looks like I will be writing a post for her cause. I will give more details once it is confirmed.

My point to all of this, is that she could have checked her database, saw I already donated and asked me a different question. It works both ways. I don't write to someone unprepared, so imagine my surprise when she hit me up right away for more money after I just donated, and just got the thank you email last night.

I am going to go post a question on your wall. A good one.

Jk Allen
Jk Allen

I think this was a great list Gini. Unfortunately I don't have anything new to add. But one of the biggest ones that stands out to me is understanding the bloggers goals. This is actually a pretty big one because it takes some time, and often some relationship building to really get to that point

Corianda
Corianda

Out of curiosity (and lack of experience): I often find the bloggers I'm building "relationships" with are, naturally, the one's I'm personally interested in.

If you have one client and are totally immersed in that circle/industry/topic, actively engaging with bloggers would be easier to handle than juggling multiple clients with multiple spheres, right? I've also heard stories of PR pros and journalists developing out-of-work friendships.

What level of dedication and personal friendship is appropriate for the blogger/pr pro relationship? Any advice or anecdotes on the topic?

RickRice
RickRice

@ginidietrich I've had this open for a couple of hours and keep coming back to it thinking about what to say. I completely agree with your manifesto. Those are excellent, basic rules of the road (yes, I saw your biking post too...). What's haunting me a bit is that it just should not be necessary and yet I know it is.

Common sense and courtesy are the keys to relationships. (Media Relations, Blogger Relations, Customer Relations, etc.) If you don't care about the other side of a relationship they aren't going care about you. If you don't want the story told with another person's objectivity - buy an ad (phew, didn't swear there.) People who don't understand those kind of basics should just get out of communications because they're clueless. (And I want points for keeping that sentence free of curse words too.)

Great job as always. Thanks!

Neicolec
Neicolec

I've been watching all of these posts about PR and bloggers, and PR people doing it wrong. I saw @dannybrown's post the other day on a bad PR approach. We're working on a small product that we hope to release this summer, and of course I want to send out a press release and I hope to get some coverage. While I can certainly avoid being obnoxious as per Danny's post, reading all of these articles about what to do and what not to do has me worried! It's like a newcomer to Twitter learning the etiquette. There's a PR/blogger etiquette that you wouldn't know if you weren't in PR and/or a blogger big enough to be regularly approached.

TheJackB
TheJackB

This is near and dear to my heart. I received a pitch this morning that was addressed to Dear Mommyblogger. Every time that happens I want to dress up in drag and go visit the person that sent me that note.

There is really no reason for their to be an adversarial relationship between PR and bloggers. I blame most of that upon miscommunication and misunderstanding between the two sides.

I have had more than a few conversations with other bloggers about the need to educate themselves about business and why they need to understand the PR side. It really helps to cut down on some of the issues.

And it would behoove some of the people doing blogger outreach to follow the guidelines you listed above and to think about what they are doing. You don't have to be the leading expert on my blog to gain my respect but I expect you to know that I am not "Mommyblogger" and to have at least skimmed it.

It saves everyone time and energy.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@SelfishMom Thank you! It's pretty important...we tend to forget there are other human beings on the other side of the computer screen.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Lindsay_L_Lewis Lindsay! I'm so sorry I missed this when you commented. You're right - it's ALL about the relationship. If you can't do something, a simple note that says so is appropriate.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Leon Ah yes...I had six inches spontaneously cut from my hair and it was SHOCKING!

I am DYING over this: The "How to photograph your children and get your eldest to leave glowing comments on your blog under 176 assumed names" seminar with Marcus Sheridan.

HAHAHAHAHA! @thesaleslion did you see that?!?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Tinu LOL!! I just saw this. Gini on video. HAHAH! Fine. Then I think you should take more photos because the one you posted on G+ yesterday is absolutely gorgeous!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@NancyD68 GREAT point! Do your freaking homework, even if it's not a PR/blogger relationship. Did you see some of the questions posted yesterday. Oy vey.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Jk Allen It does and people complain about not having enough time. But I know I'd much rather do it right, no matter how long it takes me, and keep my reputation in tact than to mass pitch and then have bloggers talk about me and no one accepts a story from me.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Corianda You know, when I started my career, it was in agriculture. Talk about not having an interest, whatsoever, in what I was doing. But I grew to love it because I developed relationships, heck friendships, with reporters at the trades. I built relationships with growers....the target audience for our clients. I grew relationships with the sales guys. And guess what? Because of all of those relationships, I was completely immersed in the business and I was (at the time) the fastest promoted professional in our office. If you develop those kinds of relationships, even outside of journalists and bloggers, you'll have a lot of success.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Neicolec I'll help you! First, don't send a press release. Secondly, use the bloggers you already have relationships with (cough, cough) to help you spread the word. Lastly, it's all about the relationships so think about (now) who you would like to cover the product launch and start reading their stuff (now).

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@TheJackB OMG! Getting "dear mommyblogger" violates so many points of the manifesto. I get there are two sides of the coin...bloggers need to do better and PR pros need to do better.

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