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Rough Notes on Managing the PR Beast

Managing the PR Beast takeaways on 12seconds.tv

Michelle Sulivan – M, Kim Vallee – K, Rayanne Langdon – R, Eden Spodek – E.

R – Works at Freshbooks for the past month. Perviously worked at a mid size agency in Toronto.
M – PR consultant in Montreal, first Quebec PR person to do blogger outreach and org for pcmtl
K – Blogger on entertaining
E – toronto blogger, communication background, org for pctoronto

Q: Why do bloggers need to be pitched?
M: More and more people are online and PR needs to be where the people are. We have to be able to speak with everyone.

R: The first thing people do when they wanna find out about things is search for them online. With blogs you get lots of opinions all at once.

Audience Q: There’s lots of blogs out there, do any have large traffic?
M: many have traffic that dwarves national newspapers.

E: began being pitched recently, it’s one way to bring new types of content that wouldn’t be there otherwise. It also opens up new doors.

Q: How did a recent Nutri-System campaign work?
R: came on after it started. Looking for influential bloggers. Eden was one of the bloggers. R’s job was making sure that the bloggers were happy and that the clients knew what was going on. The bloggers got two months of the system for free to see how it worked.

M: no one is paid, just given access
E: recently had the option to get paid, but woudln’t take it.

Mark Blevis: Do PR folks scrutinize blogs that mention keywords or is there a vetting process?
M: It’s an emerging portion of PR. Some people know what to do, some do not.

MB: What can be done to educate PR professionals?
M: There’s a culture that existed for a long time where you would “spam” journalists and send the same release to everyone. Journalists would ignore most of the time. More people realize that’s a bad practice, but it still happens.
E – One thing to do is to have a “pitch” page that explains how to pitch you.
K: Accepts samples at companies at their own risk. If someone sends her something, she might review or might not review it.

Audience Q: I hear it’s abotu building relationships, not campaigns. Does it mean that all blogger relations campain go on forever?
R: relationships can last through many campaigns. It’s about knowing people across a variety of topics.
E: There’s a gap as a blogger because as a campaign ends, there’s a dead end that happens between the blogger and the larger company. The relationship exists with the PR person, not the company.
M: An advantage of working for yourself is that you can still connect people with companies to be a resource instead of a PR person.

Q: reporter and blogger relationships?
M: relationships are different. Journalists are more disconnected. Bloggers are more fun!
R: Maintaining a blogger relationship is fun, but there aren’t as many journalists that can have the same relationship.

Audience Q: Do bloggers have a code of ethics?
E: That’s a large request. If you want to be seen as someone with authority, you’ll be honest but there are no rules.
M: 99.9% of bloggers don’t do it for free products. It’s because people want to express something. PR practitioners need to respect that.
E: Blogging is a hobby for her, but K does it full time.
K: Has a personal code. People know the difference when she gets something rather than wants to talk about it.
M: It’s good when bloggers mention if it’s a review and the product was supplied.
M: That way you can write a sincere post, not just a shill.

Audience Q: How should a PR practicitioner approach someone?
K: Read the blog first and make it short. If it’s not a topic the blogger covers, don’t waste their time.
M: One thing PR’ers should be doing is blogging. that way they have an appreciation for how to approach bloggers.
M: Don’t vett bloggers publicly. It wastes everyone’s time.
E: When she was blogging organically, she was more passionate about it. Getting pressure from PR people makes bloggers want to not work with you. A big part of why relationships exist is because people are out meeting each other. How else can youy reach people in a way that matters?

Audience Q: What about the shot in the dark? Something unrelated, but still might work?
M: Its still a matter of learning about the person. You still have to know that they go shot in the dark every now and again.

People are looknig for blogger networks.

CC Chapman: If you’re looking for a starter spot, look at Technorati and AllTop. (CC prefers AllTop btw)
M: There’s no guarantee that your campaign with a blogger will sell things, just as taking advertisements in the newspaper are a risk.

M was approached recently to see if she was interested in doing a SM campaign with their client in October. Each campaign puts her reputation on the line. October was too soon to launch a proper campaign. PR needs to be included early on, especially if there’s a social media component.

Audience Q: Would it be useful for bloggers to have a voluntary association for ethics?
R would embrace it completely, E would also embrace it. Part of the issue is reaching out to the people, but if the top level people don’t go in on it, there’s a bad gap.

Audience Q: How do I get a larger number of blogger to write about something?
R: It’s about the relationships you have and networking through them.
M: Building on a network is how to do it, but it’s hard when you want to reach a lot of bloggers. It’s about developing quality over quantity.
K: If you just go with numbers, you might be pitching too wide.