Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bloggers in the PR Pecking Order

When launching a public relations initiative where should we prioritize bloggers in the order of outreach? Do we connect with them prior to industry analysts? How about the trade press?

These questions were top of mind last week as I participated in a brainstorming session with the Tellabs team at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic). We planned out tactics to support an announcement of research that points to dissatisfaction among telecommunications professionals about broadband availability in the United States.

New survey finds gaps in U.S. broadbandIndustry professionals dissatisfied with broadband availability and definition

A few days later I came across a post from Nick O’Neill of social media consultancy Capital Interactive bemoaning an undisclosed company for not informing him of news prior to distributing a press release.

Lesson Learned: Embrace Your Local Bloggers

“Personally, I felt side swiped when a local company that I have directly communicated on a regular basis decided to announce a press release without first privately announcing the news to local bloggers,” O’Neill writes. “…Cater to the desires of local bloggers and you will be handsomely rewarded. Go against them, and you immediately have the most vocal group of individuals in the community building negative press for you business.”

O’Neill (and any blogger who feels this way) needs to get a clue. For starters, publicly traded companies have to follow well defined SEC guidelines related to the announcement of news. It’s called fair disclosure.

Bloggers also need to recognize that while they are an important channel to the market, in many instances they are of equal or less significance than other influencers, including journalists, analysts, academics, think tanks, etc. It’s not a knock, merely an acknowledgment that a trade editor who has a readership base of thousands will often be of higher priority.

O’Neill’s contention that a blogger slighted will turn angry captures my biggest concern about the blogosphere: irrational thinking without the peer review process that defines quality journalism and analyst commentary.


Nick ONeill said...

Mark, I would agree with you if it weren't for the fact that this isn't a public company. When I know every person that has pitched the company it means it's a small community. We all have roles in the community and not supporting each other will hurt the bottom line. If they are going to send out a press release and wait for the articles to start flying in they are kidding themselves.

If the majority of the community is reading my blog don't u think that's the best place to post the news?

Marc Hausman said...


In this case the folks at LauchBox Digital probably should have given you advance notice of their pending news announcement. In fact, I believe their co-founder acknowledged such in a comment on your blog.

However, that won't always be the situation with every PR campaign. At times, we make a decision to target a specific blogger, journalist or analyst based on a number of different factors.