Answers to three simple questions

where A good PR friend asked me three questions today, questions that are similar to ones I have been asked before.

He asked me to email the answers, which I did. I decided to also post them here as I’d be interested to know how you would answer such questions.

I’ve not identified my friend, by the way. If he subsequently says I can, then I’ll update the post or he’ll leave a comment. The most I can tell you at the moment is that he’s based in London, is someone I’ve known in the online PR community for some years, knows a bit about PR and social media and writes a pretty good blog himself!

So, here we go with the Q&A:

Q: What influences what you blog about?

It’s hard to provide a fuller answer beyond ‘it depends’. Influences will be as wide ranging as there are topics. There is no single thing and, while I know there are multiple things, it’s tricky to pin them down in answer to such a question. The best I can offer is this: a topic that attracts my interest for my blog will usually be at the intersection of business, communication and technology. But not always!

Q: What do you care about when you blog? (I suppose what interests you enough to write)

I like to write about things that the post I publish provides a reader with an “oh that’s interesting!” reaction and prompts that reader to say something him or herself about the content: a blog comment, a tweet, a blog post on that reader’s own blog, etc. Something, somewhere that adds another discoverable voice to the mix.

Q: How would PROs wanting to reach out to bloggers reach out to you?

That’s easy – on my blog, there is a menu item at the top of every page called ‘Contact’ which explains very clearly the ways in which I respond to contacts. It includes my phone number, email address and list of all the social places online where you can find me and connect. All a PRO has to do is visit the blog and go to that page. Really easy, right? Yet the contacts I often get, and the way in which those contacts arrive, indicate that PROs don’t even look at my blog before reaching out. Not smart, guaranteed to give you awful results. So get smart when planning outreach to any blogger: at the very least, visit and read their blogs!

What answers would you give to three simple questions like these?

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. chris2x

    What influences what you blog about?

    First it has to be of interest to me. I got a press release about some new travel show that someone wanted me to promote last week, but even though I have a travel blog/podcast the particular story bored me. So that was a non-starter.

    Next it should be something that someone else would be interested in and obviously it has to be something that I should say something about. The best blog posts I have in my head would violate a confidence and will never get written. One of our customers has a new product that they are announcing soon that I would LOVE to blog about, but can't.

    What do you care about when you blog? (I suppose what interests you enough to write)

    I care that I made some sense. Did I add any value? Is this worth a minute of someone else's time to read. I assume everyone else is as busy as I am. In my podcast I spend hours each week editing out 5-10 minutes of audio that does not have any value. Multiply 5 minutes by thousands of readers and that is a lot of time saved.

    How would PROs wanting to reach out to bloggers reach out to you?

    Understand what I do first. If I have a podcast, don't call it a blog. That is pretty much a giveaway that you didn't do your homework. Show that you have read one post or heard one episode at least. Then tell me why you think this would be of interest to my readers/listeners. If you have done your homework and I am the right person to be talking to then you should be able to explain that.

    For the Amateur Traveler almost all my shows are about destinations. But I get people all the time who pitch that they want the president of such and such a website to come on the show and talk about how their website works. I have a list of 164 shows and none of them are this kind of show. OK, so pitch that the president of such and such a website just got back from a trip to Timbuktu and would love to talk about it. I would love to have her on the show and would be glad to spend a couple of minutes mentioning their website.

  2. Armin

    1. Well, first of all obviously the topic of my blog. If it doesn't fit into the wider topic or I can't find an interesting angle to make it, then it doesn't go in. Then my mood. Some days I might be in the mood for just a picture or a video, on other days I might research a topic in much more detail. It has to be of interest to me and/or I have to believe it might interest at least some of who I believe my readers to be

    2. That I can (try to) tell a story, my story, my view of it. While I might use the contents (not necessarily the actual text) of a press release I will always try to put my own view/"spin" on it. If at all possible I try to give the reader something to discover, another blog or website to go to. Alternatively just something to enjoy, like a nice picture or video.

    3. Join the conversation. Talk with me, not to me. By all means send me a press release (provided it is likely to fulfil the points above), but don't expect me to just c&p into my blog. Leave a comment, or two, adding to the conversation and the sharing of information and knowledge. Don't hijack my comments for your means though, instead make me discover what you have to offer. If you let me discover something and I like it I might even blog about it without you having to ask for it.

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