Friday, 7 August 2009

Tapping On Bloggers – Some Things To Note…

* Note: This isn’t a typical site post, but I hope it’s useful all the same! :D

Over the course of writing for this site, I realized that there have been an increasing number of companies that are starting to tap on bloggers as a new media avenue, which is also known as Social Media. For the purposes of disclosure, I work in PR but in a different market so I’ve been on both sides – of being approached as well as having to approach other bloggers.

I’ve been approached by a number of companies and agencies throughout the past couple of years for various reasons pertaining to Beetrice’s Reviews, some of which have been extremely enjoyable…and some not so. While talking to other bloggers I found that many of us agree on certain areas, which I thought would be decent guidelines for companies out there looking to tap into Social Media.

#1 – DO go and check out the websites you want to approach: I have had people call me asking “So what is your site about?” which comes as a WTF moment. You wouldn’t ask a journalist “So what is your newspaper about?” so if you’re serious about approaching bloggers please extend us some courtesy.

#2 – DON’T beat around the bush: Many of us have day jobs, and blog during our spare time or because we have an interest in it. Listening to 15 minutes worth of product sell isn’t helping you or us as we’ll be distracted. Keep your first conversation short and sweet, and save the detailed information for the event or send it in an email we can read later. Of course, once you get to know us better then go ahead and make it more informal.

#3 – DO be considerate: Like I mentioned, many of us have day jobs so usually attending events during work hours aren’t very convenient. If you’re planning to have a blogger-only meet, do try to have it at more work-friendly times (ie. in the evening or on weekends). Alternatively if we cannot make it for the event, do let us know how it went.

#4 – DON’T hedge: This is a big peeve of mine. If you have gotten my number from someone, then be upfront and say so. Telling me you got my number “from your website” when I clearly haven’t disclosed anything more than my email address isn’t going to make me see you in a favourable light (and yes, this has happened before!)

#5 – DO make it mutually beneficial: There is a clear understanding that when you approach us, you’d like us to write about your brand and its products / services, but we need to be able to see the value as well. Testing new products are nice but if you have fixed expectations of something more extensive, I’m sorry but paying us off in products doesn’t quite cut it – we only have that much facial/body real estate to apply things on!

#6 – DON’T hide behind your agency: Despite working in PR, I’m a firm advocate of this…yes, your agency may have made the first contact, but we’d like to meet the people behind the brand. After all, who would know the brand better? Sadly, many agencies claim to be able to offer social media services when they’re equally groping in the dark so be careful who you use as it could backfire…want to get recommendations on who to hire for social media? Why not ask the bloggers themselves? They’ll be able to share their experiences with you.

#7 – DO be patient: It may take some time for us to write about your product. If your product is time-sensitive we will certainly try to accommodate the timeline, but we to have to balance out our posts. The best attitude that I’ve come across was from a brand manager - “If you like our products, please do feel free to write about them. If you don’t like them, do let us know so we can improve.” I couldn’t have said it better.

#8 – DON’T pitch bloggers against each other: Playing favourites or making bloggers compete amongst each other for something isn’t pleasant, especially when many of us know one another.

#9 – DO pay attention: It amazes me that some companies can have an event, talk about how much they love my site, and a month later email me to ask me when their post is coming out when I had already posted about it a week after the event. No offense, but if you ‘loved’ my site, wouldn’t you have noticed when it came out? And if you really liked/ didn’t like something we wrote, feel free to let us know – we want to improve too!

#10 – DON’T be frightened: At the end of the day, bloggers are human beings. Just have a think about how you would like to be treated, act based on that and we’ll get along fine. :)

*whew*…I originally had a few areas to highlight, but as I was writing more came to mind. Do feel free to agree/ disagree with me on the above, or add your own notes. After all, these are just based on my observations and personal experience, so you may have a different viewpoint. Hit me up, ladies! :D



At 11:17 pm, August 07, 2009 , Blogger Askmewhats said...

I couldn't agree more! Well said Bee!!!! Though I'm not living in your country, I do appreciate you voicing out because it's true..we DO HAVE Day Jobs and we are HUMANS with limited number of eyes, nose , mouth and skin!! :)

At 5:00 pm, August 08, 2009 , Anonymous rinnah said...

Well written post, bee! Totally agreed.

At 11:21 pm, August 09, 2009 , Blogger Sapphire said...

hi bee..i've always been ur silent reader..anyway this is well said..if you don't mind could you pls let me know on the sample companies who approaches bloggers as im a blogger of and i would like to know more on this and how to approach them. Thank you so much bee and have a great day ahead.

At 10:13 am, August 10, 2009 , Anonymous Tine said...

I hear ya girl. Spot on on all the points. A peeve of mine is that these PR folks tend to send out a mass email to bloggers (it doesn't look like it on your email header; it'll look like it was sent only to you, but the template's the same and I know it's sent to many others), with the email beginning with "Dear Ms. "

That annoys me big time. My name (or at least, my moniker) is displayed clearly throughout my blog, but they can't even have the decency to address me by my name? I don't entertain emails like that.

At 12:56 pm, August 10, 2009 , Blogger Kahani said...

Bee: AMEN! But you know, even national papers get treated like this sometime. Have been asked a few times by PR peeps on the phone "So, what is your paper about?". Umm only 27k ppl read it so of course you can't be expected to know what it is. Even though the content is IN the freaking title.... *grumbles grumbles*

Sapphire: Blog regularly and you don't approach them. They find you.

At 4:14 pm, August 10, 2009 , Blogger Sapphire said...

Thanks Kahani for your info :-) I always wanted to be a part of this thou yea i just do it during my free time. Hope that one day i'll get to that. Anyway thank you so much for the advice again Kahani. Btw, do you blog? if you do, mind sharing your blog add. Thanks

At 3:17 pm, August 27, 2009 , Blogger beetrice said...

askmewhats: exactly! :)

rinnah: thanks girl.. :D

sapphire: thanks for the support! kahani is from soloverly (click on her profile to go to the site) and yes, it's slow going but don't give up! :) they'll notice you sooner or later.

tine: it could be worse - they could send out the email with EVERYONE's email in the "To" section (not kidding, this has happened!)

kahani: amen sista! you tell those nutcases off...then maybe there'll be less trying to fob off on the blogosphere.. :)


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