Take the rise in the value of a personal recommendation and pair it with the importance Google places on indexing blogs, and it’s no wonder the PR industry is engaging with bloggers more than ever before.
Many even prefer engaging with bloggers over the more ‘rigid’ and often ‘red-taped’ traditional media. To understand the trends, faux pas and learning for the PR industry when engaging in this space, we approached the country’s top 50 bloggers and asked them how they prefer to deal with PR companies and their pitches.
The great news is that of all the bloggers surveyed, 84% of them are in regular contact with at least one PR contact, showing that communications are prioritising blogs as a critical media. Sadly, PR communication appears to be limited to automated and impersonal email correspondence. Whatever happened to personal relationships and good old-fashioned phone calls? I know I favour popping a DM on Twitter over a phone call 9 out of 10 times – a luxury (or laziness) of the digital era.
What did we learn?
- The early bird catches the worm: Bloggers favour being contacted in the morning with access to spokespeople being the most important asset a PR professional can offer, and video content as a close second.
- Bloggers want to be invited to night time events. The desire to attend events is still strong amongst bloggers, at a time where more traditional media seem increasingly frustrated about attending events. With full time work commitments it is no surprise that bloggers favour attending events after work hours, with 60% opting for Thursdays as the best day to host bloggers.
- The Do’s: When asked what the PR industry is getting right when engaging in the blogosphere keywords like freebies and review products come up across the board, unsurprisingly.
- On the backside the PR industry is most at fault, according to bloggers, for:
- Not reading their blogs and understanding their audience.
- More than a few bloggers shared the sentiment that “it feels like many PR professionals have pulled my name off a list and have never even been to my site”.
- Press releases most of the time don’t make sense.
- Content is often flat – the web calls for rich media content, bloggers want images, videos and imagery to accompany stories, there are no limitations.
The value of engaging with bloggers is undisputed. Engage or die, is the new adapt or die. Let’s hope we witness more intelligent, authentic engagement in the online space as bloggers prove their value, openness to form relationships, interest in brands, and a very clear mandate for rich content.