There was a bit of a buzz today regarding a pitch one of our youth trend spotters in Fleishman-Hillard’s Next Great Thing (NGT) made trying to raise visibility of their recently launched team blog. It appears that her pitch, while generating a largely favorable response irked one esteemed blogger in particular who shared it with her network sparking a bit of a blurt about how PR and marketing agencies need to learn how to properly approach bloggers. Notice I didn’t use the word “pitch”. Toby Bloomberg (that esteemed blogger) offered her 12 Blogger Relations Secrets For PR, Advertising and Brand Marketers. She included a bonus tip that read, “In the world of social media relationships are the new currency.”
This is bang on. I keep telling my peers that rapport is the most important thing in social media. The concept of pitching works in some instances if it’s relevant. Some of our online editorial outreach folks make it a habit of leading with a question and getting a nod of permission before offering up what we think may be of value or of interest. The most important thing is to know your audience. What’s going to appeal? How is it going to be interpreted?
I personally am more comfortable in the realm of rapport versus pitches. More often than not you generate results through the connections you have built up. It’s just like landing a great job or an incredible client. So much of it is who you know and being in the right place at the right time. Cliché but true.
I guess the trick is to define your own style that works for you and the recipients of your communication.
In order to excel in this new environment, you need to be a known and credible resource. PR people in particular are typically well suited for social media if they can get past the concept of packaging information in traditional formats. We use the social media mix to make it work. PR professionals have access to the subject matter experts that can offer unique and informative points of view. We also have access to the facts, research and materials that can provide greater context. Based on my experience, if people know you can deliver and help them enhance their content, you’re going to do well.
FH is in the process of globally switching on the firm to embrace digital communication. Ethics and being appropriate within digital culture are two of the greatest tenets we promote as people come on stream. We also talk a ton about respect for the individual, being authentic and transparent, and not over marketing. We’re engaging in a conversation and contributing to a community. In order to really create value, you need to be passionate about what you do and what your clients do. If you can’t speak with enthusiasm and insight, should you really engage in the dialogue?
Also see my colleague David Jones’ take on this: Bad blog pitch? You be the judge
[tags]social media, public relations, blogger relations, fleishman-hillard[/tags]