Tom Murphy – Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy blogging about PR and other things since 2002…

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Cross-Post: Engaging with Bloggers in Ireland

January 22nd, 2008 · 1 Comment · Public Relations

Damian Mulley asks the question: "How should PR companies engage with Irish bloggers"

I think the unfortunate term “new media” had made PR companies think (lazily) that the same rules of engagement apply to bloggers as to existing journalists. Not that existing journos are very happy with the way some PR companies bombard them with crap. And as I wrote that last sentence I get a press release from an Irish PR company about the opening of a Conrad hotel in China. Jesus.

I’m glad Damian is throwing the question out there, because blogging still has some way to go in Ireland.  It’s growing strongly but we’re still not on a par with the UK, don’t mind Spain, France or the US. Just look at the number of Irish PR bloggers on the right hand sidebar.

Bernie has also posted his views on the subject.

I’m re-posting my comment for posterity:

Tom Murphy Says:
January 22nd, 2008 at 8:01 am

Damian,

Good post, it’s no harm to get this question out in the local market.

I’m a PR person (and a blogger) and to me it’s quite simple, Public Relations, when you boil it down, is about good communications (yes I know there are shady practitioners and practices – but in 99.9% of cases it’s about communication).

Good communication, regardless of the medium, era, channel or tool is about understanding your audience.

Blogs are no different in that regard.

If PR people wish to communicate with a blogger – and by doing so reach their readershop – the basics of good communication remain valid:
1) Does the blogger accept communication for PR people – or do they see PR people as the spawn of satan?
2) Is your information relevant? – not only to the blogger but their audience
3) Is the information valuable?
4) How does the blogger prefer communication?
5) Have you talked with the blogger before?
6) Have you taken the time to read the blog?

The problem is that often people get lazy and just spam irrelevant information to anyone they can find.

That’s not PR, that’s not communication, that’s just laziness.

Of course the rules have changed, so where, in the past, journalists often just cursed the PR people and binned the press release, bloggers can now name and shame. That should be a deterrent against spamming – but it doesn’t appear to be.

If it’s any consolation I get spammed with press releases all the time – which I suppose serves me right!

When you boil it down, “blog relations” is about good communication, it is about common sense and it’s about common courtesy. Any PR people following those rules will be fine.

PR people aren’t the spawn of satan but often they don’t help themselves through lazy communication. I don’t apologize for them. If you get lazy, irrelevant pitches then call them on it.

@Dennis makes a good point, don’t take any communication at face value, always do your own research. That’s good journalism :-)
As @Bernie points out there’s no excuse for PR people not to understand this stuff, there are hundreds of blogs and podcasts covering these issues every day – do some browsing
@Orlaith – I disagree that the relationship between bloggers and PR people has to be antagonistic. Yes there are silly PR people, yes there are silly bloggers, but on the whole this is about communication. Just like the real world, some people will like your client/company and some people won’t. That’s life…

Tom

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