IBlog8 Summit: Bloggers, the New PR Community
Looking forward to speaking at the 8th Philippine Blogging Summit at Malcolm Hall in UP Diliman. Here’s sharing with you the outline of my talk on BLOGGERS: The New PR Community
Research data shows that in 2011, many companies and PR firms are adopting and integrating social media into their marketing mix. Here are a few key points:
- 67% of companies surveyed adopted social media in the past 18 months.
- Brand building is currently the primary purpose for business social media usage
- These companies are focusing on the “big five” platforms: You Tube, LinkedIn, Blogs, Twitter and Facebook
- Blogging/ Bloggers ranked third
What do PR agencies look for in a blog?
- Focus. Personally, I like to see a blog that is really passionate about something.
- Activity and Engagement. We like to see a lot of activity (mostly in frequent blog posts and comments). We measure engagement by looking at how many comments each post has. That shows quickly what kind of a fan base the blogger has.
- Strong readership
- Originality. We also like to see a profile about the person writing the blog – helps us to relate
What kind of bloggers are PR agencies looking for?
- Typically, they just stick with the most famous bloggers.
- But internet PR mavens, do search for new “talents”
- With no editor involved the internet can quickly determine which bloggers really have talent for writing unique and engaging content.
- Great content floats.
- Great content + good connections + smart promotion can get lots of traffic.
How do PR agencies go about searching for blogs?
- We often check blogger networks.
- We look for “underground” blogs with a strong readership that we may not have formerly heard of. We also often go from the blog links of bloggers that we have relationships with or like– we trust that they have good taste.
- We go through links from other blogs or we also subscribe to ‘Google alerts’ – which emails us any time our name is mentioned. But once we find a blog, we do have some criteria we consider when deciding to approach them.
In terms of content…
- We really do like it when bloggers add a personal touch to a review. It helps their readers identify with the product beyond a “still life” picture of a purse or pair of shoes. However, in representing small designers we can’t always give product away so it is great when the blogger can write in an engaging editorial voice to start a conversation about the product with their readers
- We personally love the ‘what I wore’ posts and sites. This is really the beauty of the internet. The writers of these blogs and the fans are so creative and they really pay attention to what each other is wearing – and how they are wearing it.
What about a blogger who’s an “internet celebrity”?
- Sometimes “internet celebrity” can be a negative, because our clients can be lost in the mix when a blog highlights the writer more than the content.
- I think internet celebrity can be a double edged sword but for PR firms it is easier to work with fewer people.
How much does traffic play into your decision on whether or not to work with a blogger?
- Traffic is important but other factors such as PageRank, social news success (have you ever been on the first page of Digg?), and lots of user comments shows me a deeper level of importance.
- Traffic is very important for product samples. Usually we choose to send samples only to very established blogs, because at the end of the day, their post is meant to drive sales or increase exposure for our client.
- However, we are always excited to send information/photos and start relationships with smaller and up-and-coming blogs.
- We will notice if a site is getting a lot of traffic and / or if they come up on the first page of search results on Google – that is definitely important.
- But really the most important is how long the site has been around. You’ll find a lot of companies want to optimize their sites for search engines. This means that if a blog as been around awhile, and has been established as an expert in a particularly industry by Google spiders, and then posts about us, then all of this is worth much more to us than a new site with a lot of traffic.
- An established site will give us more valuable in-bound links to our site from that post.
How much traffic do you consider substantial?
- 100 unique dailies is a good target for a blog.
- At least 10,000 viewers a month… or more– although we have worked with everything from brand new blogs to blogs with millions of page views a month.
- We like to see at least 10-20,000 hits a month.
How do you like to be approached? What information do you expect up front?
- We like to start relationships. It is disheartening to be approached for free product if the blogger is only interested in self-gain. We’d like to see example posts, readership info and a level of professionalism.
- We love to get emails with a short intro about the blog, the main topics covered, and the writer’s name, contact info, etc.
- Of course phone calls are nice too but we aren’t always at our desks so we don’t want to miss you. We also like to know if actual merchandise is required or if jpegs of products works just as well.
What site assessment systems do PR Agencies look at? Which weighs most heavily?
- When we really want to dive into a site, we go to Google Adplanner. They have the best stats around IMHO. Also Google trends. We also like to know what keywords your blog does well for.
- We mostly use Google Page Rank and Alexa, sometimes we check Technorati. But the last two is more flawed.
- We like blogs that are part of a network – we think they are easier to find and often we get more coverage throughout the network. Plus we meet more people that way
How much do comments play into our impression of a blog?
- Big time!!! Comments show engagement. Preferably the comments add value and are more than snarky remarks or spam. We like it when bloggers have active conversations on the blog and reader feedback. It shows us that our clients’ products are getting exposure.
- Comments are important in terms of quantity and quality. We love to see the community in action and especially voicing their opinions. It’s great feedback and it’s also great if our products are mentioned in the mix. We do understand that not everyone comments so if there are a lot of page views but not a lot of comments – we can still find the value of that blog.
How much does design play into our impression of a blog?
- While the design is important I think site architecture is more important.
- Does the blogger use titles effectively to capture traffic.
- Are things tagged and archived nicely.
- Less clutter and more content is very important.