One of my closest friends is getting married this weekend, in Atlanta, hence my not being in class on today. I was interested in what in the reading though, having done blogger outreach, and been pitched to as a blogger.
The main points I gained from the articles focused on corporate blogs should be easy to remember – they are the same points for a company thinking about jumping into Twitter. First, know if this is where your audience is in the first place. Marriott is a huge company, and the benefit of how the CEO’s blog is structured was that knowing employees make up a large part of the readership. If you’re a small company, like Dolcezza, using a blog to reach out the neighborhood is good starting point when there is no marketing budget. Second, show there is a human doing the writing. Again, look at Marriott – the CEO is not only sharing what he does over the weekend (and making himself seem like an average person), but he also records the blog posts for someone else to transcribe, AND posts the recording online.
Bloomberg mentioned fake blogs. Yes, they are dangerous, and yes, they can serve a purpose. But it’s also likely it’s breaking one of the main points I mentioned above – who is the real person behind the fake blog? If you can’t tell, the company probably doesn’t care. If you comment with a customer service issue, how much will they care then? Every post doesn’t need to come from the CEO, or from the PR team. The last organization I worked for was a national membership association. The blog was actually written by federal and state affairs staff (lobbyists and policy analysts). Their job is to break down what is happening on the Hill, and in state legislatures, so the organizations members know what is going on without all the political jargon they get in the news. Posts are sent through the communications department to for editing purposes and to ensure any messaging is in line with the current company line. But the blog posts are in the words of the staffers writing it, people most members talk to and hear from weekly. Training other people in the organization can be highly beneficial – especially with nonprofits. Having the voice come from a person who is actively facing the community to fulfill the mission is much more effective than the voice coming from someone who spends the day in the administrative office.
As I blogger, the first time I was sent a press release I read through it a few times and realized there was nothing in there to use. Luckily I’d also been sent supporting materials. When I wrote for Fem2.0 our target for any post was 500-700 words. If it was closer to 1000 words it became a two-part piece. Part of why all of us were writing for this blog was to write about issues we cared about….and to write. I had zero interest in regurgitating a 400 press release. I wasn’t writing to fill space – any one of the six or seven bloggers could have had a post ready to go in place of this one for that day.
This experience made me better at pitching stories to other bloggers. What was I pitching to bloggers as a blogger? As community manager I developed the month long campaigns around Domestic Violence Awareness month, Women’s History Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I wanted blogs and organizations to know about events we were hosting during the month, why we would be tweeting statistics and facts all month, why we were posting help lines daily. There was no press release, but there was always an ask to participate in an event, and write about it. To get back to knowing your audience – this is true for pitches as well. Know the person and what they care about. In DC if there is an event to go to (online or face-to-face), people get excited. You get your promotion, and they have the opportunity to self promote as well.
I was going to stay away from the article titled Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media? as that seems obvious to me, and most anyone reading this. I will say in response to the closing question from the article, I do like tofu, when cooked right.
*Photo Credit: Kristina B via Creative Commons Lisence*