We live in a world of influence. That’s not news. That’s the way it’s always been. The opinionated and opinion-makers have always been there whether they had an official office or position, expert status or not. There have always been amateur or enthusiastic or popular commentators and your customers, staff, partners and suppliers in whole or in part have always listened to them.
What’s different about now is not about opinion, it’s about reach, extended reach, potential reach, influence, the permanence of digital content and how bloggers are playing an increasingly big part in that influence game.
Why? Because people trust independent opinion. They trust the opinion of people like them. And bloggers, I believe, are viewed as people like them. I wrote about the research that supports this here.
Therefore, blogger outreach or blogger relations is becoming an essential part of many new and effective marketing campaigns. So, if that is the case, why do most PR agencies do it so badly?
Why, oh why, is that the case, given that the customers of their clients will be listening to or reading the opinion of these bloggers?
Is it because it is hard, different, beneath them or just doesn’t fit in with their model or way of doing things?
Why is it that most PR agencies treat bloggers like journalists when some are but most aren’t? Bloggers may be journalists but they tend not to be. Therefore, don’t assume they are and don’t treat them the same. If you do then the only thing you actually achieve is creating a bad first impression.
So, as a person who helps businesses build better relationships with their customers and their people as well as blogging about all things customer related, here’s my two-penneth on what PR agencies or any company doing its own awareness and outreach can do to engage bloggers.
Now, assuming you get all of that and you are thinking about how you get started identifying and managing your bloggers and the process of engagement, here’s a link to a great process for managing blogger engagement.
However, a process doesn’t tell you how you should engage each and every blogger. That’s the human bit. Or, seemingly hard bit. Best advice I would give you is this….if in doubt about how to engage a blogger reach out and ask them. If you are too shy to do that then ask me I’ll be glad to help.