Rolling the blogger relations dice

How do you get bloggers to write about your product? asks Dave Taylor.

He answers the question in a well-written post in which he describes his own experience as a blogger pitched by the maker of a product.

I like Dave’s conclusions:

[…] If you are a public relations person or vendor considering how to approach bloggers for product reviews or other visibility, you’d do well to consider how this scenario worked out with Sumo and ask yourself whether a candid, fully disclosed review (that is, “Sumo just sent me this bean bag free, but I don’t like it”) is something you desire, or whether you or your client needs more control over the outcome?

[…] Ultimately, it boils down to this question: If you seek visibility online, are you going to require positive reviews from bloggers, or are you truly capable of rolling those proverbial dice and sending out your product to either be evaluated, good or bad, or simply ignored or even immediately resold online?

If you can’t answer that, you’re not ready to seek visibility in the blogosphere.

Add Dave’s case study to your list of blogger relations resources.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Dennis Howlett

    I liked Dave’s repsonse but I’m not sure what the big deal is here. How is this any different from PR departments sending samples to magazine editors or software companies sending out CDs to the product review desk of a mainstream title or whisking hacks off to a conference in an exotic location?

    Is it the case that we’re now seeing companies take advantage of bloggers not having the training in managing this type of thing and so explicitly giving product away?

    Or is this an Amercan thing where there have been ‘rule changes?’

    I do know there is an expectation that if I speak with a US vendor then I will write something. The problem is that sometimes, they’re just not very interesting. So what should I do? To me, the kindest thing is to keep quiet in the public domain but advise in private.

  2. neville

    Dennis, the example you use highlights a major difference – no whisking hacks :)

    In many regards, blogger relations is not unlike media relations. I’m conducting blogger outreach activity for a PR project I’m involved with. Very little difference in the reach, the contact, the relationship development, etc.

    One difference for me is that of expectations, both mine and the blogger’s. We both expect total honesty in our relationship relating to what we’re discussing, and in the opinions the blogger may publish.

    But maybe I’m just a cynic.

    Lots of useful material about blogger relations at The New PR Wiki.

  3. Dave Taylor

    Neville, you’re spot in with your differentiation. As I note in a long comment on my original blog article, the big difference between a journalist receiving complimentary / review products or services and a blogger receiving them is that people EXPECT journalists and reviewers to get stuff for free, but they DON’T expect bloggers to be getting free products or services.

    That expectation is critical to the proper interpretation of a review, therefore, and if you are reading a blogger’s commentary on a movie, say, without knowing that they received free tickets AND a tour of the production set three months earlier, how can you trust that they represent your interest and speak for you in any manner?

    If every blogger religiously explained where things came from, but that’s not going to happen, and as someone with a shelf of review books looking balefully at me, along with software, hardware, gadgets, and much more, I think that this really is an important issue for both the blogosphere and the, um, PRosphere too. :-)

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