It struck me at some point in the late week just how 2007 my last posts are, are we were really still seriously discussing whether or not we should approach bloggers as PR ppl in the brave new world of 2010? I’m sure we would have all thought that by now blog relations would be a well established and standard part of a PR’s box of tricks. That said, we’re still royally cocking up journalist relations and that has been an industry mainstay for decades.
So what, if anything, have my two recent polls, on whether PR’s should pitch bloggers and if bloggers want to be pitched, revealed? Mainly that it depends. I assume that it depends on whether the pitch is actually relevant, timely and decent. The original impetus behind my exploration of blog relations was an idea that perhaps we should accept that they cannot be done successfully unless part of a ongoing, long term relationship. The results seem to indicate that it’s actually the PRs who are more bothered about this than the bloggers, with only 17 per cent of bloggers stating that a pitch to them should never be a one off, compared to 23 per cent of PRs. I should point out that the respondent numbers to both polls did vary and neither should be regarded as statistically valid, but they can be regarded as indicative of current attitudes.
And the indications are that bloggers are actually happy to hear from us on a one off basis, as many journalists are. However as with journalist relations, it works better if you’re not strangers and have a relationship. Likewise I suspect it also probably pays off more to do your homework and stop sending out BCC emails featuring irrelevant press releases and thinking the job’s a good un. Somewhere along the line PR has substituted quantity for quality and are happy to play a numbers game in order to secure some coverage, rather than spending time in cultivating more meaningful coverage and relationships.
We’re constantly asking how we can measure Social Media, yet we’re still to work out how we can measure PR. The temptation with Social Media is to count the success of the tactic, not the strategy. So huzzah, you have 10,000 FaceBook Fans, don’t worry that sales in the target audience of 40 plus mothers haven’t increased as we can show the client a tangible outcome. The temptation with more traditional PR, which is carrying over to our new realm with unsurprising ease, is to use activity to prove to the client our worth. We’ve targeted 150 journalists is something they can get their heads round and pay for.
Perhaps the answer is that the PR industry needs to do a PR job on itself to raise awareness in clients about what we can do, what the success looks like and what sort of metrics we can put in place. We could use those weird ones, that are measurable and then demand that we get judged on those, not on the incidentals.
In conclusion, I end where I started this particular thread of thought, agreeing with Darika that PR needs to be fixed and no-one is going to do it for us.