Tag Archives: Blogger Relations

“Chow Down: How to Use Friendfeed for Better PR”

So we’ve held off on posting about Friendfeed for several months.  As adoption has slowly increased, we have started to warm up to it.  While it may be too soon to ditch Twitter and throw all your efforts into Friendfeed, it can be a great tool to add to your arsenal.  Today, socialTNT takes a look at some of the ways Friendfeed can help you build relationships and more effectively reach your target reporters and bloggers.

What is Friendfeed?

  • Friendfeed is a “social aggregator”
  • In non-Valley speak: Friendfeed is like the Facebook newsfeed, except it lists all the actions you do across more than 43 sites, including YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Digg and LinkedIn
  • Also like Facebook, you can share items directly into your feed.
  • Most exciting: Every action in the feed becomes a blog post, letting you comment in a conversation thread

Friendfeed for Media Research

To be the good PR person that you are, you do your due diligence by reading all articles and post by your target journos and blogos–if not daily, then before you reach out to them.

With Friendfeed, you can see:

  • All of their latest posts
  • What they are reading
  • Twitter-feed
  • Pictures of the fam
  • Videos

Take a look at the page from Chris Nuttall of Financial Times (click to enlarge):

You can stay up-to-date with any of the blogos or journos you follow by adding their feed to your reader.  Scroll down to the bottom of the feed and click the RSS Logo:

Get Involved With a Reporter’s/Blogger’s Community

Friendfeed isn’t just a stalking device, it’s a great opportunity for PR peeps to form relationships and have conversations not usually possible.

  • Become a member of the reporter’s or blogger’s community by:
    • Adding thoughtful comments to their items
    • Participating in discussions

Check out the screenshot, below, from Robert Scoble’s feed. The red box shows you where to go to comment.  Click “more” to link to this item or share it with your feed.

Click on “more comments” (as indicated by the green box, above) to see the full conversation thread related to that action’s comments.  Robert even answers comments:

Getting Started with Friendfeed

  • Sign up for a free account
  • Add the info from the sites you want to share
  • Add me
  • Add some Reporters/Bloggers (a few listed below)
  • Join “Rooms” or groups based on your interests or your clients’ industry
  • Share posts, articles, interesting thoughts

Reporters and bloggers on Friendfeed

Just a small sample:

With Friendfeed and Twitter, you have a great non-intrusive way to get to know reporters and bloggers.  You also get the chance to join their community and share ideas.  Go ahead and give it a shot!

Also, check out the new widgets Friendfeed (like a Blogger Badge, Share This, RSS and others) has recently launched. It also looks like they are trying to speed up RSS. Cool!

Are you using Friendfeed? What has your experience been like? Like/dislike? Let us know in the comments!

Like what you read? Add our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

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Filed under It's A Conversation, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Blogos and Journos–They’re Just Like US!”

Do you ever read Us Weekly? Yeah, yeah. Of course you don’t. 🙂 Neither do I…I just look at the pictures.

One of my favorite sections is “Stars–They’re Just Like US,” a regular section featuring photos of stars doing everyday things–just like us common folk. Pamela Anderson pays with a debit card–just like us! Reese Witherspoon shops in sweat pants–just like us! Jake Gyllenhaal washes his car–just like us!

What I like about this section is that it’s good to see stars looking not-so-shiny. Seeing them do the tasks we do in our lives also helps us appreciate them as “normal” people. When doing blogger or media relations, it’s important we remember they too are human.

Why am I bringing this up? Last week I was at an industry event chatting with a top-tier blogger, when s/he got a phone call from a PR person who was “just checking in” to see if the blogger was going to post their news. Bear in mind, it’s Midnight Pacific in SF, which means it’s 3 AM back on the east coast where the blogger lives.

I don’t know about you, but if anyone calls me after 10 or 11 at night, it better be an emergency–3 AM, and there better be a catastrophe!

I would have gone ballistic on the caller. The blogger, however, handled it well. When s/he hung up, I expressed my shock. S/he said “It happens all the time.” What makes it even worse is that, after polling several other top-tier bloggers over the past week, I found out that it happens to them, too.

Their painful acceptance made me cry for our industry.

Yes, bloggers are always on. And, yes, you’re doing your job to help them do their job better. But there *is* a line. Before you send an email, make a phone call, pitch them at parties, etc., ask yourself: “How would I respond to this action?”

Here are a few ways bloggers and reporters are JUST LIKE US:

  • They stress at having a full inbox with over a thousand unread messages, many that probably aren’t even pertinent to them
    • I can’t drill this enough: Know who you are pitching. If you can make it personal, do so. None of us like unnecessary email. Don’t send junk
  • They sometimes need to go “heads down” and hammer some work out
    • When you call, ask if they are on deadline. If they say yes, ask when the best time to call is or just apologize and cal again tomorrow
  • They like to forget work and have fun at parties
    • It’s ok to talk to them, maybe introduce them to a client. Use that time to get to know them as a person and then they may be more receptive to your news at a later date
    • Don’t, I repeat, don’t pitch them
  • They like their nights and weekends!
    • Don’t call them late at night. That’s just tacky. If you have a good pitch and a good relationship, then just chill.
    • If it’s late news, send the email. Follow-up in the morning. Period

They have grouchy bosses, demanding kids, bills to pay. They get angry, sad, happy. They have bad days and beautiful days. Yup, basically they are human–just like us. Be sure to treat them with the dignity and respect that we all deserve as humans on this planet.

What steps do you take before you engage with a blogger or reporter? What other ways are bloggers and reporters just like us? Let us know in the comments!

Like what you read? Add our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

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Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, Public Relations 2.0

“The Blogos Are Right. Tech PR Must DIE!”

It’s been a rough week for PR peeps. The blogos are right, tech PR is losing the fight. What do you say we kill off all our bad practices and start anew? By confessing all of our sins, maybe we can set them free and finally move on! (For a more conventional approach to blogger relations, check out our previous posts “Luke, I Am Your Blogger : How to Pitch From the Dark Side” or “ “How Media Relations Got Its Groove Back”)

I’m not being sarcastic. I’m ready to see tech PR die

Visualize with me:

  • Let’s burn blast emails.
  • Let’s hang (up) the phone to cold calling.
  • Let’s poison fluffy, fake press releases.
  • Let’s slash the idea that we can push the press into submission.

Good. Feel that weight going off your shoulders? That’s freedom.

Give yourself permission to start fresh start and do the following:

  • Imagine interacting as equals.
  • PR, clients, marketers and companies join the conversation.
  • Don’t just read content, interact with the writers.
  • Build relationships, both offline and on the Interwebs.
  • Produce meaningful content, don’t just push it.
  • Drop the fluff and get with the raw, insider view.
  • Give the mic and the camera to your clients.
  • Help them create and publish their own content.
  • Then one day, a blogger or journo might find it and reach out to you!

Yes. I confess. I’m not perfect. As of today, however, I’m liberating myself from the wrong deeds of PR pros past. Join me?

What practices do you want to kill off? Confess them in the comments. Also, how do you see PR changing and what do you want to see change? Let us commune 😉

Don’t miss out: Grab our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

[The above photo, “Paris – Île de la Cité: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris – Confessions Dialogue” by wallyg on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, Public Relations 2.0

“Say No to No Comment: How to Answer Negative Blog Posts”

Someone wrote a scathing review of your company’s product on their blog–now what?

Well, you can either ignore it or you can respond. In traditional PR, you’d be shirking your duties if you didn’t follow-up with the reporter. Same goes with social media, except the world can see your response. Whether the post is positive or negative, you have to comment.

Here are a few tips to ensure you comment with success:

  • Take a deep breath!
    • Sometimes the excitement (or hate) can cloud a clear head. Remember, it’s the Internet and everything will be a part of your permanent record. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother/future boss/customer/client to read
  • Acknowledge and thank the blogger for their feedback/comments/insight/linklove
    • Remember, we are listening now. Whether you agree with it or not, they put effort into their post and their feedback can provide a snapshot of what your customers or other reporters/bloggers are thinking
  • You’re building a relationship, which means accountability and honest discussion.
    • Try to address the concerns and tell them what you are doing or plan on doing to fix any problems. If it was a positive piece, write something that can help build the discussion or add deeper insight into the topic
    • Cut the marketing speak and messaging. Read what the blogger is saying and respond as a human, not a PR-bot
  • Transparency and full disclosure
    • Let readers know you are with the company or represent the company. It’s about ethics.
  • DO NOT try to pad the comments with anonymous or fictitious posts
    • You may not see it when you read the post, but bloggers can see the IP address of every comment. Several comments from the same IP addy looks suspicious and a simple search can rat you out

Some stellar examples from comments in socialTNT’s past:

Kevin Cuneo’s reply to a potentially critical post in “You Are Doing Your Clients a Horrible Disservice”

Hi Chris,

Over here at Yoono we completely agree that Twitter is a great way to connect with our community. And we find Summize to be the best way to monitor Twitter. I love how it lets you know there’s more results since your last search. (I was also using it to track my replies when that feature went down on Twitter.)

We’re going a mile a minute over here so unfortunately there’s only so much time in the day to respond to negative comments and assist users via Twitter. However, we try to get to as many as we can and if they aren’t responded to, users can rest assured they were read and taken into account. Although we love good feedback, we think any feedback is worthwhile in helping us craft a superior product.

With that said I’m off to check in on Summize, looks like I have nine results up since my last search.

Great post, keep up the good work. And we’re all looking forward to Marie’s review!

Cheers,

Kevin Cuneo
Yoono Community Evangelist
kcuneo (at) yoono (dot) com
http://twitter.com/kcuneo

Kevin didn’t make excuses. He acknowledged the concerns and addressed the problem thoughtfully.

Reply to a positive post from “Dell Hell Freezes Over: A Great Example of Turning Lemons into Lemonade”

johnpatdell

Chris – As a member of Dell’s digital media team, I think you’ve done as fine a job as anyone to summarize how the company has worked to move on to a new chapter. It’s been a wild ride, but the journey has only just begun. Today, we view the integration of social media technologies as a natural evolution of our business and an exciting new dimension in which to deal directly with our customers.

In this comment, John acknowledged the statements in the post. He also adds to the post by telling the readers what Dell will be doing in the future.

Conclusion: Both John and Kevin effectively stated their company’s point of view without sounding arrogant. It’s a delicate balance. Just imagine you were having a discussion with your mom/girlfriend/boyfriend/brother or anyone else you love but sometimes have disagreements with.

How do you respond to negative comments? What tips or tricks can you share? Any examples of stellar commenting in action? Let us know in the comments

Don’t miss out: Grab our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

[The above photo, “Message Board” by Emmy_P on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Community Manager, Community Relations, How To, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0

“Gina Responds! And: About Yesterday’s Post”

Late yesterday, I received the following email from Gina. My reply is further down the page:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your email. My name and further explanation appears on the
wiki, which anyone can leave a comment on. (You just need to log into
PBwiki to do so.)

Also, as I say on the wiki, I welcome story pitches to tips@lifehacker.com.

Have a good weekend,
Gina

I also received some Tweets and emails saying yesterday’s post/email was a little harsh.

The post was about accountability, communication and education. If someone creates something that could impact people’s pocket books, that person should take responsibility for their actions. Especially if that person is already involved in social media and understands that nature of how it works.

On Gina’s blog and in her books, she helps educate people by offering tips and tricks to do things more effectively. That’s what was so irksome about the situation. She could have easily taken the same amount of time to write an educational post–or really any post at all–and could have positively affected the conversation.

My reply to Gina is below. As always, please feel free to comment.

Hi Gina:

Thanks for your email, and thanks for changing the wiki. I’m 100% for sharing opinions. I also 100% understand your frustration.

From what I can see from your blog, you and I both have the same goal: to help and educate. That is probably why I found your actions so upsetting. Instead of using your talent and skill to help people learn and perhaps prevent the mistake, you chose a negative action. You used your position of power and influence to negatively affect an industry on which you rely. You may say, “I shouldn’t have to educate people on how to do their job,” but you do it daily on your blog.

Check out these posts from Mashable and this one from ReadWriteWeb. By offering tips with best and worst practices, these guys are helping to make it easier for themselves and the PR pros that pitch them. After receiving several really really bad pitches of the course of a few days, I also posted “Luke I Am Your Blogger, How to Pitch From the Dark Side” as a way for me to vent my frustrations. It also allowed me to use my unique role as both blogger and PR pro to help others grow from my experience.

Remember, what you say/post can affect people’s pocketbooks. Please think about that and look to find ways to positively impact the conversation.

Thank you,

Chris

Don’t miss a post: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

[The above painting is by my favorite guerrilla artist, Banksy. His book says “Copyright is for losers,” so I don’t think he’ll mind if we use it]

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Filed under Blogger Relations, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Unsubscribe Lifehacker: My Email to Gina Trapani”

This morning, the Twitterverse was a flame after Gina Trapani from Lifehacker tweeted a link to a wiki she had created. The wiki, PR Companies Who Spam Bloggers, is a ready-to-paste-into-your-spam-filter list of domains belonging to a good chunk of the tech PR firms out there. Her response, thus far, has been linking back to this blog post from Matt Haughey. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning. See the email, my response and my reasoning behind this post here.]

In the past, socialTNT has responded with blog posts on how to increase communications (you can find those here and here). Since there is no attribution on the wiki, I had no clue who had created the until someone shared Gina’s original Tweet. Because I found this semi-anonymous approach to be rather old-school in nature, I decided to send her the below email. It may be a little harsh, but the bottom line is that her actions affect the wallets of PR professionals everywhere. If you find my email to be a little agitated, you might prefer Todd Defren’s open letter to Gina or Brian Solis’ post discussing PR “spam.” Also, please feel free to unsubscribe Lifehacker from your RSS feed.

What do you think of Gina’s actions? Or my email? Please share your thoughts.

—————–

Hi Gina:

My name is Chris Lynn. I edit a blog called socialTNT. Our mission here is to create a discussion between PR Pros, Marketers, Bloggers and Journalists on social media and its role in our respective professions. While not as big as Lifehacker, we still receive a nice amount of traffic. I would love to expand socialTNT into something larger, but I don’t have a lot of extra time to invest. You see, I work full-time as a PR professional.

As a PR person in the new media age, I work daily with bloggers and journalists, sometimes through the phone, sometimes through email/twitter/IM. No matter what the medium, I try to devote 100% of myself to the process. I say “try” because we all have bad days, but it’s a job. I’m sure you have at least one post that wasn’t your best, so maybe you can empathize.

After I finish working 9 hour days, I come home and work on the blog. That can mean anything from reading through my feeds to planning the interviews, tweaking layouts, researching emerging tech, or just learning editing software. Then I write about it. I try to stay tuned into trends in media, marketing and PR–like I said, I don’t have a lot of time to write, but I do have a lot of ideas.

With my professional life (both with the blog and at the agency) I operate on these 3 principles:

  1. Accountability and as much Transparency as possible
  2. Communication and Conversation
  3. Education and Peer Development

Your wiki doesn’t do any of the above. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning.] Sure, you semi-transparently Tweeted the link. Those who stumble upon the wiki won’t know this. By cutting off domains, you stifle conversation. Had you blogged the list, there might have been debate/discussion in the comments. Yes, Twitter is a discussion, but it’s not particularly contiguous, nor is it associated with the list. Finally, your post did nothing along the lines of education. In my eyes, your move was an aggressive one that came from a place of anger instead of looking towards understanding.

In the new media age, information is currency. By limiting the flow of information, you could find yourself bankrupt. Just remember: there’s always another up-and-comer in the wings who might just be a little thirstier than you. Oh, and another thing about the new media age: your audience is fluid. As soon as they find something better, they are quick to change their click.

In true liquid fashion, I’m exercising my right to click by unsubscribing Lifehacker from my RSS feed until the wiki is removed or until you start a more genuine dialog–on my blog or on your own. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning.] I don’t support negativity. At all.

Just remember that your flippant actions and comments can affect the livelihoods of real people with real families. Please don’t take that lightly.

Best,

Chris

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Filed under Blogger Relations, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0, Rants

“Luke, I Am Your Blogger: How To Pitch From the Darkside”

Because I’m a PR guy who blogs, I occupy a gray space: not quite hack, not quite flack. As a PR pro, I pitch bloggers and reporters daily. Through my blog, I get pitched by people looking to have their product reviewed or their CEO interviewed. Depending on what cubicle you sit in, I could be on the dark side.

First off, I want to say we’re honored to receive pitches because it means someone, somewhere values socialTNT enough to view us as an outlet they want their product/company/spokesperson to be seen in. Instead of pulling a Chris Anderson, I’d rather use this opportunity as a PR professional and blogger to help those who pitch bloggers understand some best practices.

Pitching is a necessary evil; it’s the only way smaller voices from lesser known companies can get a chance to be seen. Good bloggers and reporters know that they can’t keep track of every new company, and therefore value a good PR professional. But you don’t have to be a PR professional to write a good pitch, you just have to know how to communicate.

Step One: Observe. Listen. Participate.

  • Check out the “About” section. Does it have a sentence or two describing the focus or mission of the blog? Are there any bios or beat descriptions for the main bloggers?
  • Look for a blogger that covers most closely the area you are trying to reach. Read the past several posts from that blogger to get a feel for their style.
  • If you can’t find a blogger that fits, spend a fair amount of time (some say hours) reading the blog. Get to know it like you would a friend.
  • Look for regular features or topics that could work with your product or company. When pitching, mention how your product would fit in that column.
  • If you have something meaningful to say, comment on a post, but don’t use the comments as pitching ground.
    • EX: I read all the comments on my posts, and remember those who have commented. It will help you stand out.
  • If the blogger is on Twitter, follow them.
    • HINT: Because Twitter is more informal, you can have a conversation with them to build better rapport. Pitch only through Twitter if you have been following them for a while and are comfortable with writing a tight (140 character) pitch.

Step Two: Outline the Pitch/Things to Consider

  • How would your product/company affect my readers?
    • EX: There are a lot of really cool social media tools and sites out there. It’s great receiving pitches, but we are a vertical publication. That means we’ll need to know how it fits into the scope of our blog. Marie reviews productivity tools that can be helpful to PR/Marketing peeps or Journos. I like to review tools that can be used for marketing and PR campaigns. Sure, sometimes those applications haven’t been figured out, but the more information we have from you on how it works or how it helps communication/interaction, the better we can try to find PR/Marketing uses.
  • Great Product? Can you demo it.
    • HINT: If you can set up a ready-made, tailored demo of the product as it works in the wild, do so. Send a link to a page created specifically for that blogger
  • Are you pitching a spokesperson? Tell me his/her background, highlighting the areas that would interest my readers.
    • HINT: No more than two sentences. Seriously. 🙂
  • Do you have any other promo materials? Press release? Send it. Better yet: Link to it.
    • HINT: SMNR to the front of the line.

Step Three: Aim. Throw.

  • Bloggers are usually pressed for time. They’re also on a 24 hour news-cycle. They may read your pitch at 1AM after a night of heavy drinking. Help them out: Make your pitch concise and to the point.
    • HINT: Bullet, Link, and Bold
  • Who are you? And what the hell are you doing in my inbox? 🙂
    • HINT: State the most important things up front. Tell me in the first couple of sentences. If I have to scroll, you’ve written too much.
  • Cut the fluff, we can usually sniff the BS anyway. Everyone has the most innovative, greatest new tool. How does it work? This is where knowing the pub/writer is crucial.
    • EX: For socialTNT, how does it help people communicate or connect? Can it build relationships? How does it help with content delivery?
    • PS: I *heart* video
  • VIP pass
    • Because bloggers are short on time, let them know how to get in touch with you. Twitter, Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, IM and even good old fashioned phone
    • Bonus: For me, Spokesperson on Twitter = SCORE!
    • Jackpot: Have an RSS feed or Del.icio.us page for company news? Let me know. YouTube or Blip.tv channel: Golden.
    • Caveat: Don’t assume I have the time to look or the brainpower to connect the dots. The pitch should talk. Also, just cause it’s pretty, doesn’t mean I’ll cover it. Substance.

It all boils down to knowing your pub and writer. Many of the pitches I get are from small business owners or CEOs/Marketing folk at startups. You don’t have to be a PR pro to pitch like one. Just follow the simple steps above, and you’ll succeed. Remember: There is no tried and true method, and even the best pitches don’t always mean bites.

Bloggers and seasoned PR pros: What advice would you give to anyone pitching bloggers? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!

[PS: I admit to having crafted my share of bad pitches, or even choosing wrong targets. It happens to the best.]

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Related Posts:

“How Media Relations Got Its Groove Back″

Download and print this great “Blogger Relations Quick and Critical Tips Bookmark” from my Colleague, Todd Defren.

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Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, How To, It's A Conversation, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Small Business Social Media, Social Media