Last August 31st, I was invited by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) to be a guest speaker during their General Membership Meeting in Makati.
Included in their program that day was a discussion on how blogging impacts Philippine media and Public Relations today.
They asked if I could come and share my thoughts on the topic, as well as help them learn more on how PR practitioners can better relate to bloggers.
Thus below, I’m sharing with you some of the matters which I discussed that day.
After telling the audience about myself and how I started blogging, I then gave my personal observations and experiences in dealing with PR firms as a blogger.
I told them that back when I started blogging in 2007, invitations for bloggers to come in media events, product launching, restaurant openings and the like came only once or twice a month – and that’s usually because the PR contact is a close friend.
But five years later, bloggers are now considered part of media (the “new media”) in the Philippines, and bloggers today can receive as much as five event invitations everyday because most of us are now part of the media database of PR firms.
Then I shared an interesting fact…
Did you know that bloggers were already very active on Twitter back in 2007? That’s years ahead before Philippine brands and local traditional media started using it regularly.
I shared that fact because I believe that most, if not all bloggers, have been, still, and will always be, early adopters to Web 2.0 technology.
And that has put us, bloggers, at the forefront of digital and social media marketing – which consequently led some of us to pursue a career in this field and “cross over” to become PR practitioners as well in recent years.
Through that phenomenon, if you can call it that, the local blogging population grew and flourished – which subsequently gave birth to an online subculture that has brought us closer as a community.
And joining us in that journey were public relations, marketing and advertising firms who had the foresight to the “age of social media”, most of whom we now consider partners, colleagues, and more importantly, friends.
So where are we now? I’d say we are still climbing up to the peak, and it’s not yet too late to come along with us.
And thus, the question remains…
How should PR practitioners relate to bloggers today?
First, understand what a blog is and its many types.
- There are many types of bloggers, and each one blogs for many reasons. Some blog for money, some blog for a chance at fame. Some blog for an advocacy, while some blog because they just want to write.
- Each blogger usually blogs for more than one reason. One may blog as a form of personal self-expression, but likewise, with a desire to be heard by others. Some blog because they want to form a community, but at the same time, to earn money as well.
- Today, a blogger will usually have more than one blog, and can excel in many niches. Most of the food bloggers I know likewise maintains a separate travel blog; and I’ve met a few entertainment bloggers who surprisingly writes excellent tech blogs.
- Do not generalize bloggers, because we are a very, very diverse community.
Second, remember that the title, “top blogger” is an ambiguous term.
- Never make the mistake of evaluating a blog solely by its traffic. More important is the blog’s audience, social influence and engagement to its community – factors which visitor statistics cannot tell.
- Never judge a blogger by its misspellings and grammar. Most of us never had a writing background and we are always a work in progress. More important are the content we produce and the message we tell in each of our posts.
- Instead of looking for the “top bloggers”, search for blogs whose audience, niche and principles are aligned with your marketing objectives. So you’ll never make the mistake of inviting a food blogger who writes about the vegan lifestyle to a bacon feast.
Lastly, know that the best way to relate to bloggers, is to read their blogs first.
- Most PR practitioners never read blogs. And it’s sad to hear bloggers say that some PR firms treat them as if they’re just a “dumpsite” for press releases. Do try your best to also be an active reader of our blog.
- Most bloggers are able to build a community of like-minded individuals with similar beliefs, passion and interests. And the best way to see if that is the audience whom you want to reach out to is again, to become part of it. Read through blog post archives, leave comments, and interact with other readers.
- And finally, know that reaching out to a blogger can be as simple as sending an email through their contact form – and that is all there is to it.
I guess that’s about everything that I shared that day with the PRSP. I’d like to thank Mr. Martin Bunag for the opportunity to meet your organization.
On a final note, please be informed that the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) is having their PR Congress 2012 on September 27-28, 2012 at the Grand Ballroom of InterContinental Manila, Makati City.
Interested parties can learn more about this event HERE.
Photo credits: ecstaticist
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