The More Things Change...
Edelman's Phil Gomes offers a thoughtful piece (from Steve Rubel but posted to Phil's blog) on blogger relations, suggesting that it's better to build relationships with bloggers than it is to just hurl pitches at them.
Phil's post was motivated by one from Robert Scoble nothing that he's overwhelmed with pitches.
Phil's Steve's remedy includes actually reading a blog before contacting the blogger so you know what he writes about and how he wants to be pitched. He also likes the idea of setting up a del.icio.us account and sending some links to the blogger outside the scope of your company's or client's interests to "let him/her know you want to become their resource." Then you can invite them to subscribe to your del.icio.us account, noting "you will be sharing links here just for his/her benefit and that occasionally you might slip in a related link to your client when it's a perfect match."
Good advice. Also old advice. Back when the Internet was just a government-funded computing project, effective media relations was all about building relationships with reporters. Sure, organizations sent press releases, but the real work went into Lexis-Nexis searches of a reporter's articles, analysis of the reporter's interests, and personal contact to discuss what you might be able to do for the reporter. The reporters who gave my companies the best coverage where those I had lunch with, contacted with leads that crossed my desk but had nothing to do with my client, got to know on a personal level.
When media relations responsibility was first handed to me, I called my friend Wilma Matthews-one of the best in the business-and asked for advice. "Your job," she said, "is to make the reporter's life easier."
Many excellent PR counselors practice this approach. Unfortunately, there are plenty of hacks who don't, opting instead for the easy (and less productive) path, flooding reporters with irrelevant, poorly written, useless news releases, never bothering to learn what their beat is or how they are inclined to approach a story.
Nothing changes in the world of blogging. There will be those who follow
Phil's Steve's advice-in fact, many who already do. But there are many, many more who just don't give a damn and will continue to pester bloggers-especially the high-profile ones like Scoble-with pitches that color their impression of the entire PR profession.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Shel Holtz is principal
of Holtz Communication + Technology
which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication
capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.
As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a
shel of my former self.