Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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November 1, 2005

Blogger Relations Is Not Public Relations

Shel Israel at Naked Conversations discusses the differences between public relations and blogger relations. I think blogger relations is different from public relations because of the nature of the medium.

With mass media a company could buy advertising or conduct public relations, consumer generated media is very different, over the last ten years; the number of media channels has increased. Those channels include blogs published by consumers. To succeed in getting your message out through consumer generated media channels, a company has to engage the channels by discussing ideas that bloggers wish to discuss, rather than buying advertising or pitching journalists.

I do think that PR strategy comes into play in thinking about the development of ideas, and thought leadership for a company, however with blogger relations the way in which a company connects with other bloggers can be very different than PR methods.

Posted by johncass at November 1, 2005 11:02 PM

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Tracked on November 6, 2005 9:57 PM


I'll have to disagree somewhat, John-- while there is no doubt differecne between interacting with bloggers vs. interacting with the more mainstream mass media, they are still both functions of PR.
And while I understand you to define PR as "Media Relations," blogs are both in their own unique way-- a new medium that is as close to being the "public" as most of PR types cater to.

Rather than blogger relations methods being very different than PR methods, I think of it rather as a very different kind of PR method.

In the end, we may be talking about mere semantics, As a PR agency, if we talk to bloggers as part of our program, then we define it as PR.

Posted by: Doug Haslam at November 3, 2005 2:59 PM


I went back and looked at some of the definitions of public relations. The PRSA’s definition is "Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other." Though I think this definition is easier to get your hands around, � The business of generating goodwill toward an individual, cause, company, or product� .

You made a point about the differences between media relations and PR. Here I agree with Shel Israel’s point about Media Relations and Public Relations. I think there is a difference between the two different terms, and media relations covers a much narrower spread of communications compared to public relations.

Yes, I think that public relations can encompass blogging and blogging activities certainly in strategy, and in many respects the way blogging is implemented. So I agree with you there.

However, I think I can argue that there are some really important differences between blogger relations and public relations. I would define blogger relations as the process of creating a dialogue with your publics in order to inspire others to respond to your thoughts and ideas, using search engine marketing techniques to target and respond to your publics. And that the way you implement a successful blogger relations campaign is to think about PR strategy, search engine optimization strategy and in some ways customer service.

You have to use search engine strategy to understand the language your audience uses when creating your copy, and also targeting other bloggers to read and connect too. While PR strategy is very important in thinking about how to put your company and product within the context of your audience’s conversation. I think Stonyfield Farms is one of the best examples of this on the net. Stonyfield Farms sells yogurt, yet their four blogs focus on healthy kids, babies, women and organic farming. By focusing on their audience’s issues around these four issues Stonyfield associates its brand within the context of their audience’s lives; this is a great PR strategy. Coping with customer feedback and day-to-day customer issues is something many product blog companies are attempting to also do.

Looking back at the above definitions of public relations, I found the phrases “publics adapt mutually to each other,� and “the business of generating goodwill,� this seems to indicate that PR is all about inspiring your publics by creating a dialogue, but to me, I think that blogger relations covers more than the strategy of public relations, it also encompasses the strategy of search engine marketing to be successful.

Working in the search engine optimization industry we had some semantic issues between paid search engine marketing and organic search engine marketing early on, resulting in the industry coining the term search engine marketing. You will notice the industry uses the term marketing in its definition of itself, partly I think because search engine marketing uses many of the tools and processes of marketing, but is a part, or grew out of marketing and Internet marketing. I believe that blogging and blogger relations will come to be seen as the child of public relations just as search engine marketing is the child of marketing and Internet marketing.



Posted by: john cass at November 3, 2005 5:25 PM

You hit the nail on the head with talk about dialogues. The conceptual problem most PR people have with blogger relations is that they do have to approach this as a dialogue. The hardest thing is for PR people to switch out of "product pitching" mode, and create this dialogue about issues important to the company, with Stonyfield being a perfect example of talking about issues that are natural to a yogurt maker, but not a hard product pitch.

Thanks for the SEO analogy-- I do like your point about blogger relations being a "child" of PR. That kid is sure gonna grow fast

Posted by: Doug Haslam at November 4, 2005 4:03 PM


The irony I think is that most professional PR people are actually pitching dialogues to journalists. In the sense a journalist will not write about a product unless there is some news, typically putting a product within the context of the public conversation in an industry will get you published. I think all of the elements are already in place for PR professionals to run with blogger relations. They just have to drop the pitching and focus on the PR strategy and dialogue.

Aye, kids do grow up fast, but Blogger Relations' parents are used to running on news cycle and Internet time, so I am sure they can cope!


Posted by: John Cass at November 4, 2005 4:37 PM

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