At the Type A Parent conference last week, and at many blogging conferences across the country, there’s always a great divide between PR/marketers and bloggers.
First, know that there’s a divide between bloggers. You have blogs that function as online news outlets or as extensions of traditional media, breaking news and covering events, product launches and features.
Then, you have personal bloggers — moms and dads of course — but also aunts, uncles, those without kids, those with pets and every other niche that comes to mind.
When considering personal bloggers, who are viewed by brands as the direct-to-consumer influencers, PR pros and marketers tend to put on their traditional media outreach hats. However, when working with bloggers, let’s look at ways bloggers are not like journalists:
- They don’t want your press releases. Bloggers may have a news hole to fill, but that news hole is filled with stories about life and experiences. Most journalists use press releases to inform articles, but bloggers don’t write breaking news, unless it’s happening to her or him personally.
- They don’t have a publisher, advertising director or anyone else handling the business side. Bloggers will ask you for advertising, while traditional journalists never touch that side of the business. (Thanks to Stacey for the thoughts on this.)
- They might ask for fees to do reviews. While at first blush this flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught related to media, ethics and publishing, bloggers need to find a way to be compensated for their time. Sure you might be giving them a free tchotchke or even a new refrigerator, but that blogger needs to report that as income, pay taxes on it, as well as use it and review it, not to mention blog-hosting fees, design and writing time. While advertising continues to decrease and hurt traditional media, it affects bloggers and the way they run their sites, too.
- They may have another job. Not all bloggers are bored housewives waiting for emails from brands. Many blog because they love to write or have something to say. They do it in their spare time, after work, after the kids are in bed, or during the day as a business. Give them expectations and deadlines, and they’ll do the same for you.
- They want a relationship. Instead of a one-night stand product review, work with bloggers to find out how they can work with your brand. Yes, they will want to be paid, but building relationships will build stronger brand advocates than one and done.
What other major differences do you see between bloggers and journalists?
— 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.