Following on from my rather lengthy thoughts on best PR / blogging practice, here's a couple of excellent posts on the subject that should be a must read for any PR bod who's remotely thinking of getting in touch with bloggers. First up, Vero has an open letter to all PRs from a blogger's perspective. And it's a bit humbling to read, because I'm sure I've done a few of the don'ts in my time. But, again, a lot of this stuff isn't rocket science - it's just good PR that doesn't differ wildly from how you'd work with journalists, other than a bit of tweaking and knowing the blogger or blog you're pitching to.
I'm strongly tempted to print out the post and pin it to the water cooler at work.
Secondly, Catwalk Queen's Gemma Cartwright follows up Vero's post with a few of her own experiences and a very thoughtful tone. Again, it's the kind of thing PR-folk should read and take note, and this paragraph is pins much of the debate spot on:
"By nature, bloggers write opinions, they're honest and they don't hold back. The freedom of blogging vs print media is what appealed to me in the first place. I know we're a bit scary because we won't pander to people quite so easily. We're also a bit contradictory. We want to be treated with the same respect as press, but at the same time, we don't want to be treated like press. We want to be recognised for what we are. A new breed of writers who bring together old skills and new ideas in order to deliver content in a new way."
And any company that, in the words of Gemma, 'doesn't do online' is on a hiding to nothing. If ignoring a huge swathe of people who are interested in your product is part of your PR strategy, fine. But don't start complaining when you realise nobody is talking about your product.
Ok, so perhaps that's a little harsh, but with consumers and audiences increasingly fragmenting and traditional media in the midst of a huge upheaval in working and communicating methods, then traditional companies need to be looking at experimenting (although, in all honesty, this is hardly experimenting) by contacting bloggers or engaging with people who want to talk about their brand.
It's not scary, it's not hard, and most people will realise - again, to quote Gemma - that you're just doing your job. And if you do it well, they'll respond accordingly.