Corporate Blogging Survey 2005

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January 20, 2006

Blogger Relations Is Not Media Relations For Bloggers

Blogger relations is not media relations for bloggers. Even though some would define the term that way, I don’t. I don’t perceive blogger relations to be the process of connecting with bloggers to pitch a story or interview. That to me is traditional PR or media relations. Rather blogger relations is the process of connecting with peers and your audience to develop relevant content that illustrates your message and brand through content and responsiveness.

I think a number of people will disagree with me on this one, probably Andy Abramson with the Nokia blogger relations campaign. That campaign was a traditional product review program that expanded the list of reviewers to bloggers, and used a blog to report on the progress of negative and positive reviews. I think such blogger outreach programs should be part of the tool kit of any marketing and PR department. Further, that’s Andy’s program has been very successful because Andy understands that being open and responsive is the only way to be successful when conducting a review program with bloggers.

Yet I really do see a difference between contacting someone to discuss or argue a point, and contacting them to pitch a story or ask for a review. The difference is that traditionally a PR professional would not have connected with a journalist, or thought leader to discuss issues, there would be no reason to do that. With blogs people have the ability to self publish easily, and so there’s a mechanism and a reason for having the discussion, that opportunity to have a conversation is what distinguishes blogger relations from public relations and media relations.

Posted by johncass at January 20, 2006 11:07 AM

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I don't disagree. While the program was geared to augment traditional media reviews, we wanted to reach the kinds of "reviewers" who have passion, insight, expertise and the time to do more with the phones than a one off review.

We also wanted the reviewers who have community, not just readers. Bloggers differ from reporters. Reporters have readers, but bloggers have community members, some of which are easily called "friends" and that's a big point of differentiation.


Posted by: Andy Abramson at January 30, 2006 2:18 AM

Might be semantics here, but as blogging is so new, I think it’s an important point to make, especially with public relations professionals considering blogging for their companies. I don’t want people to think of successful blogger relations as public relations, in how you approach a blogger. I believe your successful review program was traditional public relations in connecting with bloggers, and not blogger relations in the sense that you connected because of the blogger's existing conversation.

I do think however you used many of the good practices of blogging to build a program that is one of the best examples in the blogosphere of a product review program. The fact you listed every mention of your product positive or negative was impressive, and demonstrates to others how to run such successful campaigns in the future.

Posted by: john cass at January 30, 2006 2:09 PM

And to your point about bloggers, aren't they part of the public.

Semantics aside, this was indeed a Public Relations program, not a direct media relations program. That said, my feeling is that some media members will be better informed about the Nokia N90 and other Nseries phones as a result of the efforts by the Bloggers who wrote reviews and posted comments, and those were fueled by the program.

Thanks again for your ongoing coverage of the program and calling our effort one of the best. We're honored.

Posted by: Andy Abramson at February 1, 2006 9:43 AM

Your right bloggers are part of the public. Yet to me blog marketing is more than public relations. PR is a big part of blog marketing, especially when it comes to PR and content strategy. However, while PR is more than media relations, most people think of PR in the context of media relations and that approach. I distinguish blog marketing differently from PR because the typical approaches professional’s used in PR are not the tactics used in blog marketing. That's why as you say your product review program was a public relations campaign not a blogger relations campaign. Blogger relations really is something new for business. Its a combination of several different strategies that allow a company to connect through a new medium - personally produced media.

Posted by: John Cass at February 3, 2006 3:11 PM

We're getting into operational defininitions here.

The program was to reach out to the public via the bloggers.

PR is broader than Media relations.

Blogger Relations is indeed different. I think we are saying the same thing, just with different words.

Posted by: Andy Abramson at February 3, 2006 6:25 PM

I agree Andy; it is a matter of words. I do think this conversation is important, mainly because of the question which profession has the best set of skills to provide blog marketing in a company? Is it the PR department, marketing, online marketing, or product builders? I think that depends upon the company and individuals. But I do know that all of these different professions are coming together to work within the new field of blogging. PR is a big part of blogging, but I also think there are other skills sets that are needed in making a great blog marketing effort within a company.

Posted by: John Cass at February 4, 2006 7:42 AM


The short answer is all and at the same time, there is no one right answer.

I have always considered PR to be a component of marketing, along side advertising, promotion, direct marketing--where I feel the Web falls into.

That said many companies have moved PR from being a Marcom function to being a CorpComm function, and the question then becomes where does the strategy come from vs. the tactical implementation.

That's the older school way in my view. As a true beleiver in Integrated marketing communications, blogger relations touches all the communications areas and has implications in a bi-directional manner.

Blogger relations blends the best of all if done correctly as it crosses the lines of pr, promotion, direct, customer relations, category building, etc.


Posted by: Andy Abramson at February 4, 2006 8:40 AM

I think you are right there. To me it is a matter of semantics in the sense what is the generally accepted definition of an area of expertise.

In a recent column in Marketing News Don Schultz, professor of integrated marketing communications at northwestern University describes how his students in 2005 conducted a study of 19 companies to define the term internal marketing. Some of the results indicated that stakeholders in the companies thought that marketing meant the process of promotion and sales. While I as a marketing professional give a broader definition to the term, one that include brand building and keeping a companies promises on the value it provides in products or services.

To some extent the marketing profession may not have done a very good job of communicating its entire role within corporate America. At least that's my view on the issue. So when it comes to a new term, I think its helpful to really explain what 'blogger relations' can be. Your definition does that.

Posted by: john cass at February 4, 2006 10:30 AM

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