Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TOTC Day 3 Working with Bloggers

Saturday was a day of blogger immersion. We had breakfast at Brennan's with Darcy O'Neil. Lunch at Bourbon St. with Gabriel Szaszko and his lovely wife Joanna, then dinner at Arnaud's with Jeff Morgenthaler and Jay Hepburn. Our objective was to get first hand input on how suppliers can work with bloggers...what their needs and interests are. Basically all gave the same answer...acknowledgement and respect. So many suppliers take the wrong tack in working with bloggers...mass mailings with samples of product supported with a lecture on how wonderful the brand is.

These guys (these guys?!....us!...I'm a blogger too!) undestand the commercial needs of business and want to write about brands. But just like old world journalists they expect brand and PR folks to do their homework. Read the blog to get an understanding of the interests and bias of the author. Participate in the conversation on an ongoing basis with comments, reciprocal links, and contributions that add value...not just talk about a brand. It's not a one night stand, it's a conversation.

Darcy's all about metrics...he's a chemist at heart and at work and while he acknowledges how widely read his blog is, he's really interested in just the facts. Gabriel's a journalist. Like me he keeps Strunk and White at the ready, appreciates it when people write in complete sentences and take the time to at least run spell check before asking for a favor. Jay's a brit that has signficant virtual presence in the U.S. but a very limited physical one. Just getting samples is a challenge. And Jeff? Well, Jeff's unique. When I asked what his needs are and ran down a long list of things we could do for him, his answer was "yes". Sphere: Related Content


Jeffrey Morgenthaler said...

Steve, I just want more acknowledgement of the great romantic comedy films of our time.


Steve Raye said...

It's nice to know you're reading this. I have a couple more questions for you and will give you a buzz.

Kathy said...

Hi Steve. This issue of acknowledgment and respect arose at the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Rioja in August. And it keeps coming up elsewhere. So, seeing it again here, I wonder whether we are chasing the wrong hound.
I think the issue here is the client/supplier interest, ethic, and marketing plan.
Does a client differentiate between whether to respond to a query from an unknown blogger or an unknown freelance print journalist? Or, a known blogger and a known print journalist? My experience: known, unknown is the factor.
Now, flip it. If a client rarely responds to most print journalists do they have to play a different game in the 24/7 world where opinions, facts, and blog comments blur in a much larger playing field? What you do advise? How do you position bloggers with your clients? What's the industry thinking at this point?

(Glad I found your site...via heimoff-sfchron-alcademics and your post on the drinks conference.)

Steve Raye said...

Kathy: Thanks for your post. Interestingly this has been an ongoing dialog with a group of cocktail bloggers in the US at Cocktail Nerd's Mixoloseum site (view the transcript at http://mixoloseum.com/blog/?p=25).

So here are my thoughts: irt known vs unknown, to me that translates to "influential" or "not influential". We've got a proprietary system to determine the degree of influentiality (how's that for a neologism!). But at the end of the day, any blogger, indeed everyone and anyone who takes the time to read a blog, post a comment or reach out to a company self identifies themselves as influential. If they made the effort, they care. and if they care, they are de facto influential. Case in point...what if the 1 unknown (at the time) guy who created Dell Hell had been dealt with professionally at the get go. Maybe they would not have gotten raked over the coals in such a public and humiliating manner. I guess what I'm saying is, while we might qualify the bloggers who we want to reach out to and cutlivate a relationship with. If any calls or inquiries come in, it's in any brand, any company, and any agency's interest to respond to every one professionally and courteously.
Again, thanks for the post, and I'm very interested in hearing more about the European blogger conference, I'd love to talk directly to you...pls send me your contact info.