Public relations pros around the world cringe every time they hear of another campaign or outreach program gone wrong in the blogosphere. On the other hand, the blogger generally puts it out there as a last resort – or when it’s really, really misinformed – so the good news is these scenarios are avoidable.
Next week, I’ll be part of a “Monetization Power” panel discussion at the Type A Parent conference (with David Binkowski, Holly Hamann and Maria Bailey), where we’ll be putting bloggers, brands and PR pros together to come up with some good ideas and solutions for professional relationships.
Recently, I’ve noticed quite a few bloggers talking about misguided or poorly conceived campaigns. On the other hand, others have provided a take on what they are looking for from their relationships with bloggers.
I hear from bloggers over and over again that they receive dozens of press releases a day as if they operate as a news service and will publish any news and links out there. PR pros need to be educated that there’s a big difference between, say, a tech blog that wants to push out the latest phone rumors to a mom blogger who is writing about her family and occasionally about brands and products that her family has used.
To forge great working relationships between brands and bloggers, we need to take a step back and have conversations. PR pros shouldn’t be afraid to work with a blogger for input and to do homework and review other campaigns to make sure you’re on the right track. Bloggers shouldn’t be afraid to provide honest feedback if a campaign sounds way off base.
Taking a step back, brand campaigns should not be designed without input or insight into those they are targeting. You wouldn’t design the latest technology without beta testers or the holiday’s hottest toy without input and the same should go for blogger campaigns. If the person behind your brand or PR firm has not worked with bloggers, you need to seek advice from someone with experience – a PR professional or blogger who provides social media consulting.
It is possible for bloggers and brands – and their PR agencies – to come up with campaigns and ambassador programs that benefit all parties. However, the conversations need to happen early and often so the campaign doesn’t end up derailed before it starts.
Edited to add: In the 'wish I thought of that' category, Sommer of Green & Clean Mom is conducting a blog ambassador survey.
— Tonja Deegan is the digital and social media director at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.