PR companies in general are so far behind the curve in when it comes to dealing with blogs and bloggers I think some of them haven’t even seen the foothills yet.
I whined about them before in 2006 – “Yue May Not Mail Me Anymore”
And I got pissed again in 2007 – Sometimes I HATE PR and Events People
And now I’m wondering why 2 YEARS later things still haven’t improved much.
Granted there is a couple of agencies that handle blog related stuff very well (Yay to Text100, even then they aren’t 100% on everything – but I’d attribute that to retarded client ideas/requests rather than their lack of tact/skill) and some others that are willing to listen, learn and take action.
I’ve had good experience so far with Edelman and Fleishman-Hillard who are willing to put in the effort to make sure everyone in the relationship feels fairly treated.
After all the main problem is most PR agencies treat us like traditional media, the difference is we don’t get a salary, we don’t get paid to go to events or paid to write stories.
We generally blog because we want to, if you want us to go to some event and write about it you better pay! Especially if it’s not even particularly relevant to what we generally write about.
If you do want us to go and you aren’t compensating us for our time and effort, don’t expect us to write about it. If it was a good event/product/etc you might get a Tweet dedicated to it – but that’s about it.
The problem is compounded by PR agencies telling their clients they don’t need to pay people like Nuffnang to run campaigns on blogs because they can get blog coverage for free by inviting the bloggers to ‘cool’ and ‘fun’ events and giving them some skanky goodie bag (honestly I don’t need another notepad/pen/keychain/laptop case).
You know what is more sickening? Most of the time it works, some bloggers are a desperate bunch and will write about every event they get invited to. Even when it was boring, irrelevant and no one profited from it.
This dilutes the earning capability bloggers have if companies realise they can get PR companies to engage bloggers without paying.
I’m getting sick of it again, more and more agencies are realising blogs are important but are too stupid, ignorant and incompetent to deal with bloggers properly.
If you want to treat my blog as a means of advertising, then I am the media owner – respect that. Remember you don’t spend huge amounts advertising on my blog (like you do with traditional media) so you have no rights to use it for any kind of leverage.
I don’t particularly mean you have to pay me, but if you are offering goods or services at least pay me in kind (at least the value of my advertorial rate, and if it involves working hours – more).
If you want bloggers to attend, don’t have events too early especially if the venue is KL (7pm is too early, 9-10pm is better).
Don’t have events in weekday afternoons/mornings – we have jobs.
PR agencies seem to automatically assume every reasonably popular blogger is a ‘pro-blogger’ or something and we don’t need to work – we just sit around at home waiting eagerly for their shitty press releases and event invites.
It’s not like that, and the sooner YOU poorly informed PR hacks educate yourselves the sooner you will reap real benefits from engaging bloggers and forming relationships with them.
Blogs are a powerful platform, but give the blogger some freedom. If you want them to review your product then let them criticise it (even if you paid them to write) – be mature in your approach. Blog readers are a savvy bunch and the net is full of information – ultimately you can’t hide the truth.
At the end of the day bloggers are people, generally intelligent people, people who can write, form opinions and elucidate them.
So treat them like that, treat them like someone who is giving you their precious time to listen to what you have to say, treat them with respect and treat their blog with respect.
You wouldn’t give your PR services for free, don’t expect us to blog for free ok?
Read David Lian’s follow up from a PR perspective here: PR people and bloggers: why engage in the first place?