Friday, October 27, 2006

Death by blogging or eternal fame?

The way bloggers want to be reached is only if what you have to share or tell is something that interests us on a personal level. So companies which want to pitch a ‘story’ to us have to plant electronic bugging devices in our homes to find out what actually tickles our fancy.

I’m kidding.

But seriously, Edelman hosted a very nice, cosy drinks session for a bunch of Singapore bloggers on Wednesday evening and it was quite insightful hearing the different perspectives on what kinds of pitches will bloggers tolerate.

By pitches, I mean that some marketers today view blogs as marketing tools through which they can get their brand messages across. Some lucky companies today have gained an enormous amount of publicity from their products/services getting reviewed on blogs and the news spreading like wildfire. Others have had to deal with the opposite kind of publicity.

Anyway, the aim of the session was for the PR company to get a better idea of how bloggers in Singapore think and operate and I’m going to try by best to give you my idea of a summary here.

Some of the attendees:

Richard Edelman and his team, Mr Brown, Joe Augustin, Adrian Lee, Bjorn Lee, Justin Lee,
Adrianna Tan, Jennifer Lewis from STOMP, The mediaslut.

So you’re a marketer and you want to get your new whatever famous overnight.

Here’s what to do:

1. Find a well-respected blogger such as Mr Brown and check out every single link he has on other people’s blogs. Birds of a feather flock together and bloggers worth their salt will link to other heavyweights they admire.
2. Read as many of their posts as you can to gain an idea of what they like or dislike.
3. Decide if what you’re pitching will interest each one. I don’t need to say this but if your product is crap there is no faster way to die than through blogs.
4. Find an innovative way to tell them about your ‘thing’. For example, Nokia gave Adrianna a phone with no strings attached except to say, “try it out”. She did, was blown away, and Nokia walked away with excellent PR value. But it was a risky move considering Adrianna was a Sony Ericsson fan.
5. The key is being innovative, and hard sell is NOT innovative. Remember, bloggers will only write what they have a strong opinion on, and their only opinion of your hard sell ways will be negative. Duh.
6. If the blogger writes positively about your ‘thing’, good. If your plan backfires, make sure you do not panic and sue the blogger’s pants off. Try to respond to backlash in a calm and measured manner and do not fan the fire with repeated, pronounced denials of wrongdoing. You may make things worse. Some situations do not even warrant a response from you.
7. If you want to invite a blogger to your press conference, he’ll go only if he’s interested in the topic/product, and you need to decide whether or not to categorise him as a Blogger or as Media. 8. Whatever you decide, please be decent to both types. (This point is for Mr Brown)
9. Joe Augustin (or was it Mr Brown) said it is important to remember that bloggers cannot be approached with the mindset that you’re ‘using’ them for commercial gain. Bloggers are people too you know, just like you and I.

I’d like to write more but I’ve got a press conference to attend.

In closing, I had a great time sharing thoughts with the group after the session and it was very refreshing meeting them face-to-face. I was also very honoured to be invited as a blogger as The Pitch has only been up for a few short months.

Thanks to the Edelman team for setting it up and it really shows how you guys are at the forefront of the digital communication wave and are willing to hear the views from the ground.

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