The following is a guest-post by Sandra Mendoza-Daly, fashion and lifestyle blogger/writer and aspiring PR maven. Visit her at www.debutanteclothing.com
On Tuesday, I participated in a free Vocus webinar titled “The Inside Scoop on Blogger Relations of Marketing and PR ." I was especially excited to hear David Meerman Scott as I have just recently discovered his blog, webinknow.com, and his book, “The New Rules of Marketing & PR." The other participant was Susan Getgood, blogger and founder of GetGood Strategic Marketing, Inc. I just love her last name too. How perfect.
The tips and information they provided was a bit Blogging 101 for me, but it was a good introduction. In particular, the organic way conversations develop in the blogosphere and how to join in is useful stuff for those looking to better understand how blogging has changed marketing and business communications strategy. David offered an amusing analogy to illustrate how blogs fit into the media world. He explained that the web is like a city and mainstream media is the newspaper of the city, but blogs are the local pubs or saloons. Everyone there has an opinion and point of view, people can say whatever they want about you if you aren’t there.
The webinar began with a distinction between bloggers and journalists. According to the presenters, while journalists are objective, bloggers aren’t just writers, the are also the customers you are trying to reach. This is why including bloggers and blogger relations is such an important part of any marketing plan.
David and Susan offered 5 Rules for approaching bloggers with your message.
1. Do your homework
Don’t pitch a blog or send out press releases if you haven’t at least read the blog. Use blog search engines, such as Technorati or Google to find out who is blogging about what. Set up alerts for your product or market and follow influential blogs daily.
2. Join the blogosphere
As in David’s analogy, you won’t know what’s going on in the pub if you are not part of the conversation. A great way to do this is by leaving insightful comments on other people's blogs.
3. Bring something to the party
When leaving comments or posting, have something relevant to say. Deepen the conversation, perhaps by adding a new point of view. Susan was clear that this kind of participation is not the proper time for pitching your idea.
4. Be Honest
I guess this where transparency comes in. Don’t try to disguise yourself in anonymity or try to pass off as someone else. It rarely works. If you need to separate yourself from your corporate identity, leave your personal email address and not a website address.
5. Make a lasting relationship
If you blog, link to other conversations going on in the blogosphere, and offer guest blogging. Companies can invite influential bloggers to be on the Board of Directors or to become Beta testers for a new product.
All in all, it was a great basic course on how to best approach bloggers - whether you are marketing your own product, pitching a client’s product or trying to expand your blog audience.
If you are interested in listening to the webinar playback, you can go to the Vocus website and go to their events page.