PR Execs Failing with Bloggers

A recent study by Burson-Marsteller found that a company's message is not being communicated accurately to mainstream media 45% of the time. The study also went on to state that the corporate message is getting mangled 76% when communicated to bloggers.

Of course, both are indicators of some sort of failure on the part of PR practitioners. More alarmingly, given the rise and prominence of bloggers, what is going on here? PR execs need to develop a clearer, more concise strategy on how to interact with bloggers...not using the same ol' strategies they've used time and time again with typical journalists.

Here are five tips to consider before your next press release gets deleted.

1. Build a relationship first. Go to the blog. Read it. Study it. Comment on it. Ask the blogger questions along the way. You wouldn't go up to a stranger on the street and ask them to come over for dinner...bloggers are individuals with one mission in mind...their blog.

2. Personalize your Message. If you think you're going to pull together an email blast with your press release and send it to the blogger you're in for a rude awakening. Send a note to the blogger--who you have made contact with in the past. Talk about the subject at hand...leave the press release in the office. Make sure your direct 2 blogger effort is on track and meets his or her mission of the blog.

3. Less is More. Focus on a targeted number of bloggers. Read their blogs daily and know the focus. This of course ties into the strategy of building a relationship and personalizing, but the takeaway here is a few key bloggers is the strategy that works best, rather than going after 300 of them and being off message. Even worse, if you send the wrong content to the wrong blogger they might even blog about that experience.

4. Exclusivity. Bloggers like journalists enjoy getting the exclusive. This helps them build traffic and promote their blog. You're telling the blogger that you respect their work and audience...use this tool when it makes sense.

5. Don't Hit and Run. Okay, you've done your research, built a relationship, and have been fortunate enough to get some excellent content published on an influential blog. Now what? Keep it going. Continue to share information, engage with the blogger, and interact over time. Chances are, you'll want to connect with that blogger in the future.

These are just a few strategies on how to deal with bloggers. The key is that PR people need to take the time to understand the role and perspective of the blogging community...it's different than typical media. The "shotgun" approach of firing off myriad press releases to bloggers won't do any good, and in fact could come back to hurt your reputation or get the wrong message published.

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