How Can PR – Blogger Relations be Improved?

Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer has some interesting thoughts on things bloggers — and PR professions — can do to improve their relationships and interactions.

What Can PR People Do?

* Stop sending email blasts. We simply can’t do this anymore and must find better ways of volume reach.
* Start doing better contact research. (Start by calling your current contacts and discuss PR spam with them.)
* Focus on the relationship, not the pitch.
* Understand that the database companies are for contacts, not lists.
* Think of social media as your responsibility.
* Learn Web 2.0 technologies, starting with RSS.

I’d agree with most of this, with one caveat. I don’t think PR professionals should be using database companies to acquire their contacts. Not only is it unfortunate for the bloggers in the database, it just isn’t effective. Any email address that is being repeatedly bought and sold in such a manner is not going to generate the effect you’re looking for. Build your connections organically and personally, and you’ll see much better results.

Here is one thing I’d like to add. Don’t assume that bloggers owe you anything, even their attention. If you aren’t providing information they find useful, they have absolutely no incentive to write about your issue. When done right blogger outreach is a two-way street, in which both sides see benefits from the relationship. Check out my Nine tips for reaching out to bloggers for more on this.

What Can Bloggers Do?

* Understand if you have an audience, you are a media member and will be approached.
* Understand not everyone is tech savvy.
* Tell PR folks what they’re doing wrong. Friendly feedback can help you get better information.
* Be patient. PR folks are learning and fast, but change does take time.

I’d like to add just a bit to the point about telling PR folks what they are doing wrong. Pitching bloggers is a new thing for most PR professionals, especially those who have been working with traditional journalists for years and years. Realize that PR professionals are just trying to get information out about their clients, they are not trying to spam you. They will always be eager to learn about better ways to communicate with you, and the last thing they want to do is waste their time sending information to someone who doesn’t need it.

Bloggers should also realize that PR professionals can be a great way to learn about breaking or otherwise underreported news. Once you’ve developed a good relationship with a PR person who reaches out to you, you may be able to get exclusive stories, interview opportunities or the inside scoop on a story you’ve been working on. Like I said before, if done right, this relationship can be very beneficial for people on both sides of the equation.

What do you think? Did Jason or I leave things out? Let us know in the comments.

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