Working with Bloggers
The UAE’s blogging community is currently buzzing with, for the lack of a better word, excitement. @ShamimScene, one of the resident video bloggers has just released her latest video tackling the challenges, ideas and concerns that bloggers share. It was most definitely a very interesting watch and make sure you catch the embed at the end of this post. While it is almost 15 minutes long, it’s worth every minute.
From my perspective, the video resonated a lot of what’s wrong with the communication industry in this region and primarily how everyone jumps on the bandwagon. The “Blogger Outreach” program is probably one in a series of many new cool outlets that agencies are looking to exploit. They’re also doing so without taking the necessary steps to understand the most effective way to do it.
Unfortunately, there are not enough resources that young executives, who have been tasked to contact bloggers, can find or read. This often prompts a very unhealthy start to a relationship where necessary preparations aren’t made before contacting a blogger. Remember that unlike a reporter, bloggers work at their own will and in general unless you work with something that they’re personally interested in, they are not obliged at any point to help you out. Here are a couple of points that hopefully can help you work better with bloggers.
- Building the list: This is fairly straightforward and luckily through a great network, you can figure out who is who in the society. Understand the Strength and weakness of every blog you’d like to work with. In relation to the video, identify who is an “irrelevant blog” as coined by @ButterHotShoes which she defines as a blog which only barfs up press releases and adds no value to the community or your project.
- Set a realistic target: You can’t possibly invite all 40+ bloggers to every single event or activity. Adjust your lists based on the activity and have a realistic number of attendees. What good is it to a blogger if he’s not at least one of the exclusive receiver of content? You should also try asking one of them about their even schedule. It’s quite insane.
- Get to know the bloggers: Personally? Some of Dubai’s bloggers are such good friends and some are even people who I hang out with regularly outside the scope of the work. Connect through social media, go out to dinners, parties and understand who they are. Work hard, play harder.
- Watch what you send: I think every blogger can tell you of at least 1 email that arrives everyday starting with “Dear Blogger”. How shit is that? This shows complete lack of respect and pretty much that an effort wasn’t made to get to know the person behind the blog. Or even better yet, mistyping the name of the blog. The least you can do is address them by their name and get their blog name right. Oh and don’t send 10MB attachments. No one opens those.
- Don’t beg, rather pitch properly: Let’s face it, if you actually have a great product or event, you will not have to beg anyone to show up. Only problem is, when ideas aren’t sold properly they devalue you and will most probably make anything you send to be overlooked.
- Die Die Die Press Release: Everyone hates the press release. Not sure why some think attaching it is a great idea. Or better yet, copying and pasting its content in the email body without explaining anything. Bad.
- Demand positive coverage: This is probably the worst part of it all. I’ve seen this happen and I’ve head horror stories from friends on how they were asked to write their posts. Possibly one of the worst things you can ever do.
Like most social media outlets, Blogger Outreach programs are being refined as we move forward and it is not to be ignored in any communication strategy. Hopefully if we can get enough people on board to start using some of the tips above, we can have even better relationships with our fellow bloggers.