I’ve written posts in the past that touch on things PR and Marketing firms look for from writers and bloggers. But I also get questions from clients on that side of the industry on how they can work with bloggers or how they can best work with online media. I’ve listened to my fellow bloggers and have put together some tidbits on delicately building a mutually beneficial relationship:
1. Promote us – We’re writing about your product. Recognize a blogger’s value by tweeting their posts, link and like on facebook, and include them in your list of publications that feature your property.
2. Advertise with Us – If you like a specific blog’s audience and writing style, send the site’s info over to your advertising firm and include them in your advertising budget for the next fiscal year. You can’t buy an opinion, but you can buy an ad.
3. Invite Us – Editorial content has changed from simple information stories to experiential. Please don’t bombard the inbox with event press releases unless you are inviting us on a press trip to cover the event. It kind of makes me feel like a stepchild when I KNOW you are having a press trip but I didn’t get invited.
4. Don’t Hide Media Kits – Most bloggers and online content creators write at odd hours of the night. I know I do. It’s frustrating to go to an official website for a destination or hotel only to find that I must submit a DNA sample to have access to fact sheets and images. I end up not writing about the place at all when this happens and move on to other subject. Put your images on Flickr, put some videos on YouTube. I can embed these in my site.
5. Tell Us What You Need – Most organizations have a mission or set goals for their fiscal year. I know that you have to answer to a supervisor and your job depends on your performance, which means your job depends on my performance. I can’t read your mind. I may not be able to promote everything you need, but if I know you have a goal in mind, I can at least keep that in mind when I’m developing my content. If you are using a specific hashtag for an event, tell me.
6. Don’t Take Advantage – I give and I share, but I also ask for respect in return. If you HIRE me for a project, you should pay me my worth. You might keep a blacklist, but remember that I do too. I am very loyal until I’ve reached my breaking point and then I won’t touch you with a 10 foot pole if you screw me over. I can’t feed my family with hotel reward gift points. If you’ve figured out a way to do this, please share.
7. Our Time is Valuable Too – Most of us are indy online publishers probably working another job that provides a steady paycheck. Press trips aren’t free vacations and most of us already know this. We realize you or your client is footing the bill for the media junket, but I’m taking days away from my own life to research your destination. Please try to work in more than 20 minutes between the scheduled activities and dinner so that we can have time to call our kids, check urgent email, and maybe even write a fabulous post about our experience at your property. Of course, if you make me pay $14.95 per night for internet access, then I probably won’t write anything about your property while I’m there.
Of course, these tips and suggestions are only a smidgen of the many useful things bloggers wish PR firms would know. Print media looks good, but ultimately gets thrown away. Stories online are there for a long time. We may not be the NY Times, but sometimes our posts about your destination will come up in a search before the big sites.
I’m sure YOU have something to add, so please leave a comment with your thoughts.
Bored? Check out these other posts on the industry of travel writing and blogging: