I’ve participated in a panel discussion on pitching to bloggers at PodCamp Montreal. I’ve sat through a similar panel at PodCamp Toronto, and listened carefully to Kim Vallée’s presentation on women in social media. I’ve had countless conversations with bloggers who fit into the ‘mommy blogger’ or ‘women blogger’ categories, online and at different events I attend. Now, I’m gearing up to put all that invested time and research into practice with a blogger campaign that reaches out to (among others) this dynamic and powerful blogger niche.
Suffice it to say that I try to do everything I can to ensure I’m well versed on the subject. One thing I’ve learned over the years … largely by observing the mistakes of others … is that mommy bloggers can be a force to be reckoned with and are definitely not to be underestimated.
In my ‘travels’ I’ve come across a great blog post that all PR consultants should read, courtesy of Pierce Mattie PR out of New York and L.A.
Why should you care? The blog post answers this $100 000 (or is that billion dollar) question:
Shannon: Why do you feel that PR firms and various brands are pitching mommy blogs and placing more value on them than the average niche blog?
Erin: There are many reasons-most of which have to do with stats. Women control .83cents on every household dollar. Women are now the heaviest web users. Women are turning off the TV and putting down the magazine in favor of being online. Women are the best word of mouth advertisers in the world.
Jenn: Two reasons: First: Moms do the majority of the household spending and are the ones who are going to go out and purchase most of the things that we are being pitched. We are the ones who are making most of the house hold purchases. Secondly, many women/moms look to each other for advice and recommendations on products before they buy. I will definitely take the word of a mom blogger I trust over any pitch, advertisement or branding tactic that comes my way.
Elizabeth: Moms often make everyday purchasing decisions for wide variety of items and aren’t limited to a niche. With growing children, they will be making kid related and household purchases consistently over a long period of time. Additionally, moms are perceived as people who will talk to their friends about products and the reach is extended.
A new blog for my blogroll and words of wisdom from mommy bloggers to be applied to my upcoming initiative. I’ll come back to this campaign in future blog posts.
Dave Jones and Terry Fallis are recording an Inside PR episode with Martin Waxman at PodCamp Toronto – and I’m live blogging it, so this blog post may be a more stream-of-consciousness than usual.
Q1: What balance between traditional and rich media do you see and how do you see it evolving?
Terry: Mainstream media relations is harder and harder to generate. Fewer reporters chasing more stories. It’s harder now to get earned media challenge than it has ever been. What better time then for a new media channel to emerge? We’re still figuring out how to use it. Organisations ought to be dipping their toe in the social media waters. Companies need to find their authentic voice. Social media is a real opportunity.
Dave: It’s not a recipe I would prescribe. The strategy will drive the tactics. Be fairly agnostic with how you communicate, but use the tactics that fit best. Doesn’t mean you can’t take a risk and try a few things in the space. You definitely can’t ignore what’s happening in the social media space.
Martin: It depends. Are you going out to trade only? Are you going out for something bigger? Monitoring is the first place to start. You want to know what is being said. What is exciting is how the groundswell can be community driven (ex: Twestival). There is starting to be a big crossover between traditional and social media.
Q2: Blogger relations – where is it heading?
Martin: In the traditional model, PR people had relationships with journalists. Things have since changed. The PR industry became broadcasters, sending press releases to hundreds and hundreds of journalists. Social media is hopefully getting all communicators back to the basics. Hopefully that will be good for the reputation of the industry.
Terry: I like what’s happening in the social media space in that its transparency and authenticity is influencing how we do traditional media relations. The pitch needs to be more customized. The investment in time is more important.
Q3: How do you find companies are embracing social media? How do we deal with approvals (legal etc)?
Dave: The world has changed from the days of being able to respond in days vs minutes. The success that I’ve seen happen is when there’s some senior buy-in. In that case, they can push the mandate through. A lot of companies get religion in social media when they have a problem and realize they need to be better prepared to handle social media.
Martin: The point about PR approval is a really good one. Organizations need to protect themselves. They have liability issues. The legal department is the gatekeeper, while we’re trying to have authentic and transparent conversations.
Terry: You can win in the court of law, but lose in the court of public opinion. Clients are astonished to find critical Tweets. PR professionals can deal with them quickly and turn opinion around. Need parameters to respond and engage in the conversation.
Q: Is the social media press release dead?
Dave: I’m a bit of a crank on this one. I’ve always looked at a social media press release not as an evolution or bright light, but as an online electronic press kit. We used to send them out on CDs. It is a place to put multimedia content around a client’s traditional static text press release. It is just content. Used as a blogger relations headquarters. Is an easy place to point people to get content. You’re much better using these sorts of things as things that live and breathe as opposed to one-off press releases. Configure it so you can add to the future as new content emerges.
Terry: I would add that in the social media press release, they started to put quotations as a separate part of the press release.
Martin: I don’t think the news release is dead. The social media news release is the same thing, just with better and added functionality.
Q: Reputation and PR companies. Is it time that PR had a regulatory body?
Martin: I’m a CPRS accreditation coach, so I’m a big proponent of accreditation. It will hopefully give the industry more professionalism.
Q: Future of print media
Dave: I think the economic model for media has changed. That is what’s killing them. The need for news isn’t changing. The financial situation around print media, the costs of production, delivery, of writers, is a problem. Much as it is in the music industry. It’s not news and the need for news that will change. Consumer generated news won’t replace professional journalism, but professional journalism will change significiantly.