Smart blogger relations

Updated on July 7, 2008

There are plenty of examples of PR outreach to bloggers that illustrate how far many in the profession still have to go in getting it right.

I’ve written here a few times on this topic which I tend to refer to as PR spam.

Good examples are fewer to find but when you do, you see some excellent practice.

And here’s a very good example, from Canada as recounted by Dave Fleet in his experience with Molson Brewers’ PR agency.

Dave’s key points:

  • They pre-established a relationship with me
  • They communicated casually with me (not in bureaubabble)
  • They proactively reached out when they saw an opportunity that would genuinely benefit both sides
  • They contacted me through the tools that I choose to use
  • They didn’t ask me to write anything about their products in return
  • In fact, they went to pains to say we weren’t expected to write anything about Brew 2.0 and when it came to the barbecue they didn’t even mention my site

Add this to your ‘yes you can get it right’ file.

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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. David Brain

    Nice example Neville. I for one was getting bored with all the “aren’t PR people idiots….” type posts from bloggers…but then I guess I would say that wouldn’t I!

  2. Garrison

    Nev, I’ve been following your various posts on this subject, PR spam, and have been meaning to respond.

    A little while ago I developed an in-house tool for my main website Holiday Pad, which I then released. During my research I came across a few moans and groans about PR spam and spam pitching.

    I coined a new term for it: Spitching. It stoked a few people but never really took off as a term.

  3. Dave Fleet

    Thanks Neville.

    As some people have pointed out on other sites, Molson’s targeting was a little questionable on this one – they might have been better-off focusing on food/drink bloggers or event planners – but aside from that they did a lot of things right here.

  4. David Jones

    Dave, one thing to keep in mind when trying to reverse-engineer a PR campaign is that you really have no idea what the strategy was based on or why.

    As the Molson account lead at the PR firm in question here, I do know the reasons for every single person on this list being invited, including the food/drink bloggers who were there.

    I’ll be talking to Molson about putting a full tear-down up on my blog so I can share the kind of strategic discussions we had and the way in which large marketing and PR operations that have been in existence since 1786 get themselves comfortably involved in the social media space.

    Suffice to say this event went well for all involved. Happy client, happy agency, even a few happy bloggers out there.

  5. neville

    An interesting observation, Dave. When I read your post and decided to write about it myself, it did occur to me to think about what Molson’s goals were in their outreach to you. You said in your post:

    To be honest I was originally more than a little confused as to why they invited me, a PR blogger who’s about as likely to write about a new beer as I am to brew it

    And then:

    I approached Molson communications rep Tonia Hammer at the event and asked her that same question. Her response was essentially that they wanted to start to get to know a few folks in the space.

    The response from Tonia says it all – she wanted to connect with people outside the obvious bloggers, ie, the ones who write about food and drink. I don’t know how she zeroed in on you, but she found you.

    You just have to look at what Hugh MacLeod and South African wine brand Stormhoek have done in the past to connect with influencers, some of whom undoubtedly are embedded right in the centre of the obvious food/drink online influencer demographic. Yet Stormhoek have reached out to clearly non-obvious influencers because, well, they’re influencers in their particular niches and would likely add their influential voices to the buzz about Stormhoek. Looks like this is more or less what Tonia has done for Molson, including the free samples!

    And of course we now have an authoritative view from David Jones.

    Don’t diminish what happened and your part in the story – in my book, it’s a terrific example of smart blogger relations.

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