Posts Tagged ‘blogger relations’

Influencer Marketing: Tips from PRSA St. Louis Tech Day 2012

Monday, November 26th, 2012
Flickr Image: quinn.anya

Flickr Image: quinn.anya

According to Wikipedia, influencer marketing is “a form of marketing that has emerged from a variety of recent practices and studies, in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.”

Key decision-makers operate within communities of influencers. Influencers may or may not be actual buyers, they are not always obvious, and typically are a neutral party – which is why they are such an invaluable asset as their potential to affect sales is immense.

We’ve all heard (and probably participated in) conversations about blogger relations, disclosure and transparency.  Bloggers are just one class of influencers, though, so the first step in Influencer Marketing is seeking out and identifying  those and other influencers.

At a recent PRSA St. Louis half-day event, Erin (Eschen) Maloney from Perficient explained that 92 percent of people trust recommendations of friends, family, word-of-mouth, above all forms of advertising, which is why influencers matter. She went on to say that 13.4 percent of U.S. adults create 80 percent of the content that influences people, and that is why we must find them.

An influencer must be credible. That doesn’t necessarily equate to a lot of followers, a high job role, frequent posts, or even being famous in real life. Influence cannot be reflected by a single metric, and influence does not equal popularity.

So how do you find the influencers that matter to your organization? Maloney advised that there is no one tool or score that can do this for you. You must roll-up your sleeves and dig-in. You can use Klout and Kred (she likes Kred better) as a beginning point, but you may also use Google, Twitter, WeFollow, Twellow, Alltop, LinkedIn groups, Facebook pages, Listorious, RSS feeds and more. (We here at BurrellesLuce prefer our Social Media Monitoring Solution, Engage121). This step is the core foundation of your program. It is time consuming and there is no substitute for hard work here. 

Once you’ve identified key influencers who are active, relevant and timely, then what? You listen. Yes, you stop and listen for a while. It takes listening, Amanda Maksymiw says, to gain “a solid understanding on who they are and what they are interested in. Connect with them on the relevant social networks, subscribe to their newsletters or blogs, and absorb everything you can: the main point is to be quiet here and learn.” Only after this step, can you begin to engage with them.

Author and speaker Alexandra Levit was recently quoted as saying, “Uncovering the top influencers in one’s field requires old-fashioned research. Read the trades, go to industry events and, of course, check out Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Then, gradually develop a relationship with the influencers by asking questions and citing their content.” 

Those of us, who have a background in PR and media relations, know that building relationships takes time and effort.  Do you have any tips to add?

Top BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Posts in 2011 – Numbers 10 to 1

Friday, December 30th, 2011

iStock_000010469879XSmallYesterday, we kicked off our end of the year wrap-up with part one of the 20 Top BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas posts in 2011. Today we will be counting down the top ten.

What do you think of this year’s most popular Fresh Ideas stories? Were you surprised at the range of topics? What would you like to see covered in 2012? Please share your thoughts and leave comments below.

10. Are PR Budgets Back?

9. Don’t Let a Bad Interviewer Spoil the Interview

8. Twitter Chat Transcripts Now Available from BurrellesLuce

7. When It Comes to Brands and Content, Simplicity Matters

6. Measuring Social Media, The Value of Influence

5. The Evolution of Media Measurement: Dr. Jim Grunig, University of Maryland, Interview

4. Public Relations and Marketing With QR Codes

3. Can We Talk? Social Media’s Impact on Human Relations

2. Survey: Journalists Do Not Want to Be Contacted Via Twitter

1. Blogger Relations Misconceptions

Blogger Relations Misconceptions

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

As traditional media continue to downsize and the boundaries between social and traditional media continue to blur, communications professionals are increasingly turning to blogs for exposure. For those that are in PR or marketing  and pitch the media on a regular baDecisionsis, this may come as no surprise; however, I’ve read, seen and heard more than a few bad pieces of advice recently, regarding pitching bloggers. Here are a few of the demands that I’ve responded to or heard lately and my thoughts on them:

We need a list of the top blogs so we can send them a press release. 
There are so many things wrong with this request! First, if the blogger is not a member of the press, then why would you send a press release? Second, what defines “top” blogs to you may not be the same as the requestor. Third, this assumes that blogger outreach, as a tactic, supports your overall PR strategy.    

Back in 2007, Jeremiah Owyang wrote, “Consider not pitching a press release or announcement at all; why not point me to relevant blog posts from the client (non marketing ones) that I’d be willing to add to my blog. Always remember that I’m thinking of my readers first, so if the content is not going to help them, I’m not going to point to it – think backwards.” Even though he wrote it more than three years ago, it’s still sage advice. 

We want to send a blast email to the (blogger) list.
Really? A “blast” email of the same pitch to multiple bloggers? No. You really don’t. Bloggers are unlike the media in that they do not have a “beat,” their “outlet” doesn’t necessarily dictate they write on certain topics, and, often, they are not bound by geographic limitations. You need to research each and every target and customize the pitch accordingly. (BurrellesLuce Media ContactsPlus is one solution that can help you connect and engage with bloggers individually.) If possible, find a connection with the blogger (e.g. boating enthusiast, horse lover, same alma mater, etc.) and leverage it. Follow but don’t stalk.

Case in point: Heather Whaling (aka @prtini) received this reply from a blogger after receiving her pitch not long ago: “I really appreciate you taking the time to know a little bit about me before you emailed me. You have no idea what a difference that personalization makes. Or, maybe you do. But in case you don’t hear it enough, good job!” 

PRBC co-founder Marie Baker, recently coined the term “blogger bombardment” to describe this paradigm shift. And Last week, an AmericanExpress OPEN Forum post replied to the argument, “But that means I can’t send out a mass email to hundreds of BCC’d recipients.” With this analogy…Exactly. It’s like getting a hand-written envelope via snail-mail; the recipient is much more likely to act on it if it’s personal and relevant to her blog.

I don’t want us / you to spend a lot of time on this.
<Sigh> I can’t say it any better than the guys over at The Bad Pitch Blog did: “Does this read like a lot of work? Well as the definition of a media outlet morphs, so must our approach to engaging with them. And as more and more bloggers extend the olive branch, the price of a bad pitch is increasing — less coverage, whiny bloggers, angry clients and amused competitors.”

Bottom line?  If your news doesn’t warrant this caliber of effort, then you shouldn’t be pitching it at all!

Catching Up With Social Media In America’s Sailing Capital

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

by Mike Robinson*

Flickr Image: PJM

Flickr Image: PJM

I recently attended a seminar presented by Phill McGowan, public information officer for the City of Annapolis. His discussion was entitled, “Successful Communication in the Digital Age” and was featured as part of the PRSA Central Chesapeake Chapter’s Luncheon Speaker Series. (Annapolis is Maryland’s capital and is known as “America’s Sailing Capital” because the U.S. Naval Academy, the National Sailing Hall of Fame, and the strong reputation of the local sailing community.)

Social media tools are a large part of McGowan’s PR strategy – used specifically to listen to conversations online and then respond and engage. In the past, he worked in the media (The Baltimore Sun) and for a private public relations firm (Virilion). He attended a graduate program at American University, which was specifically focused on digital media, and has gone on to leverage and utilize his past journalism experience, his hands-on social media expertise, and a formal education in digital media to engage and connect with the public as a government communicator.

Here are some books he recommended regarding social media:

  • Web 2.0 – A Strategy Guide by Amy Shuen
  • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
  • In-Bound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

One great take-away from the event was his story about a blogger who had interviewed him and then published information that McGowan thought misrepresented the conversation. The way he dealt with the situation was to enter a comment below the story directly addressing the issues he thought were important. This was a great example of how you can monitor a discussion and then take immediate action to help address any shortcomings in that conversation – or even dispute any specific issues.

The experience was a lot of fun and informative and I look forward to my next PRSA seminar in “America’s Sailing Capital!” How are you using social media to listen, respond, and engage with your audiences? If you attended this event, what were some of the other points that you found helpful? How are you applying them to your social media activities? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas. 


*Bio: Over the last 15 years, Mike Robinson has gained a lot of experience in business, sales, and marketing.  For the past eight years, he’s worked with BurrellesLuce out of its D.C. office,  advising businesses, organizations, and government agencies of all sizes on effective solutions for measuring press outreach, reputation management, and message analysis. He is passionate about news analysis, politics, and policy. And looks forward to sharing his thoughts and insights on the PR industry and media monitoring and measurement. LinkedIn: mikerobinson1 Twitter: @mike__robinson Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Do Your Homework: Blogger Pitching Basic Essentials – Part 2 of 2

Friday, October 2nd, 2009
When pitching a blogger, remember they most likely don’t have an editor and can write what they want at anytime!

Image: PurpleMattFish

My last post was “Do Your Homework: Media Pitching Basic Essentials – Part 1 of 2.”  In part two we’ll look at pitching bloggers who aren’t members of the media. After all, pitching bloggers is not necessarily the same as pitching a journalist who happens to blog too. The Bad Pitch Blog recently stated “At the risk of oversimplifying…the difference between journalists and bloggers is paid vs. passion.” Remember, a blogger most likely does not have an editor and can write what they want at any time!

 Here are my three basic essentials for blogger relations:

  • Research the blog/blogger. As with pitching journalists, the first step is research. This entails not just using a search engine or service to find the blogger, but it means reading what they’ve written – not just the last post. Shannon Nelson hit the nail-on-the-head when she wrote, “PR has to invest the time to peel back the layers and research who [the bloggers] are, what [the bloggers] talk about and who [the bloggers’] audience is before sending a pitch—or take the chance of their pitch hitting the spam folder (or worse, appearing as a slam on their blog).”  To expand on that thought Frank Krolicki wrote recently, “Most bloggers are immersed in their topic of interest almost all day, every day, and are much more open to dealing with someone who shares their passion than someone who’s simply looking to get quick publicity for a client,” which leads to my next point.
  • Develop a relationship. You can do this by starting a dialogue with the blogger.  Connect with them on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or any other social media sites where they hang out. Contribute to the conversation by commenting on their blog or post.  Always be respectful, but not stuffy, and don’t be overly familiar too soon. (Kind of sounds like dating, huh?)  Consider asking permission of the blogger before adding them to a pitch list.
  • Have a plan/call to action. Allow me to reiterate the last point in the previous paragraph: Consider asking permission before adding a blogger to a pitch list.  Better yet, don’t add them to a pitch list at all. Rather make the pitch one-on-one as part of your natural conversation. When you get to the pitching stage in your relationship, be sure to articulate exactly what you are looking for – set a common level of expectations to avoid any misinterpretations.

 Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to review Todd Defren’s Blogger Relations Case Study; however, before you go, please tell the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas what points you would add to the blogger pitching essentials list?