Over 1000 women bloggers gathered at BlogHer in Chicago this past weekend. Despite some women bloggers feeling fed up with the pressure of approaches from PR people, the Ketchum survey of attendees found that one in four bloggers has provided marketers with information or feedback collected on their blogs to help the marketers address women.
More than half (53%) of the women bloggers polled said they would be willing to provide such information if asked. And about 30% of women bloggers say they hear from a company PR person about once a da.
PR has long been about communicating with what used to be called ‘opinion leaders.’ Now they are known by many names: trust agents, influencers, taste makers.
The principle remains the same -find the person who has influence and a following. She’s the one others look to for information and direction.
What has changed is the scope. The Internet and publishing tools like blogs have made it easy to build a following and have a voice. There are many more influencers out there now that we can communicate with. They have probably always been influencers in their personal sphere, but their voices have been amplified by blogging. They reach a much wider audience.
The change for PR lies in forging a working relationship with women bloggers that ‘s a win-win situation for all. It’s all part of the new media relations and needs to be integral to your social media strategy
When we send a press release to atjournalis and she uses it to write a story, that’s accepted as part of the editorial process.
If we pay for inclusion in a segment it’s called advertorial.
Why not follow the same rules with bloggers? If we send a product to a blogger and she decides to test and use it, she’s free to write whatever she pleases, good bad or indifferent, and that’s editorial.
If we sponsor the post then advertorial would apply. If it’s a straight out paid post, it’s an ad.
As more bloggers figure out that they have an audience PR folk want to reach, this relationship will intensify.
Both sides need to develop standards that everyone understands and agrees to.